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WMBE Program Frequently Asked Questions

Procurement Basics
Do I provide a consultant service or a professional/purchasing service?
What is the Online Business Directory?
What are the procurement methods for Consulting and Purchasing?
What is the Consultant Roster and how do I get on one?
How do I get on a Blanket Contract?
How can I find technical assistance?

Looking for Work Opportunities
Where do I find out about upcoming opportunities?
What are some ways to connect with other firms for teaming opportunities?
How can I be invited to upcoming events with SDOT?
Is E-Bid Exchange for SDOT the same as King County?

The WMBE Program
How do I obtain WMBE status?
What is an Inclusion Plan?
How are Inclusion Plans monitored?
What is the difference between the WMBE Program and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program?

Procurement Basics

Q. Do I provide a consultant service or a professional/purchasing service?

A. A consultant provides a one-time, expert advice on a particular project (ex. Attorney, architect, public relations specialist). A professional/purchasing service is a reoccurring, routine, and/or ordinary service (ex. trucking, office supply vendor).  For more information, please visit the City of Seattle Purchasing website.

Q. What is the Online Business Directory?

A. The Online Business Directory is a directory for the City of Seattle. The City or contractors seeking partners/teams use this directory when seeking companies for work. Also, the City uses this list to distribute news about City business. Through self-registration and designation, firms upload descriptions of their products and services offered. WMBE firms are encouraged to self-designate themselves as women- and minority-owned through the Online Business Directory. Please visit the Online Business Directory for more information.

Q. What are the procurement methods for Consulting and Purchasing?

A. Consultant services are procured by the City of Seattle in three primary ways: formal solicitation, informal solicitation through the consultant roster, and informal solicitation through a direct selection. For more information on consultant procurement, please visit the City of Seattle’s consultant contracting site.

Purchased goods and services are procured through blanket contracts, direct vouchers, and purchasing contracts. City Purchasing and Contracting Services manages bids and contracts for all City products, supplies, equipment and services that have accumulated value above $50,000 a year. Purchases less than $50,000 are handled inside SDOT. For more information, visit the City of Seattle purchasing site.

Q. What is the Consultant Roster and how do I get on one?

A. The Consultant Roster is a listing of specialized consulting services based on categories. Departments can hire consultants on the roster for projects valued at $296,000 or less. There is no guarantee of work for approved consultants.

To get on the Consultant Roster, a firm must log in to the Online Business Directory. During the registration process, the firm will be asked to join the roster through a series of guiding questions. Many of the roster categories are open to small businesses only.  For more information on the Consultant Roster, please head to the Online Business Directory.

Q. How do I get on a Blanket Contract?

A. Blanket Contracts may be procured through a formal solicitation process or through a piggyback with another government agency. Blanket Contract opportunities will be advertised in the Daily Journal of Commerce, and may also be advertised in the Buy Line Blog.

Q. How can I find technical assistance?

A. While the City of Seattle does not provide direct technical assistance, there are community organizations that provide support for firms in the Puget Sound area. Available technical assistance resources include, but are not limited to the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Department of Transportation Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC).

For more information, visit the following links:

The Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Department of Transportation Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC)

Looking for Work Opportunities

Q. Where do I find out about upcoming opportunities?

A. The City of Seattle posts upcoming bid opportunities through E-Bid Exchange and the Daily Journal of Commerce. Additionally, the Consultant Connection Blog (and The Buy Line Blog provide information on consulting and purchasing opportunities.

SDOT also posts some available work opportunities on our website.

Q. What are some ways to connect with other firms for teaming opportunities?

A. The SDOT WMBE Team encourages both prime consultants and sub-consultants to network and establish thoughtful teaming on consultant contracts. Potential opportunities for networking and teaming include, but are not limited to:  

Pre-Submittal Meetings: Interested firms are encouraged to attend pre-submittal meetings for upcoming consultant contracts, where SDOT Contract Specialists will provide time following the contract presentation for networking among teams.

E-Bid Exchange Bidders Lists: The E-Bid Exchange system logs every party that downloads an RFQ for a consultant contract, which is viewable on the tab titled “Bidders”. This list provides a great resource for firms looking to connect regarding a specific project, and those firms may also be interested in the subject area of that contract for future opportunities.

SDOT WMBE Prime Contact List: Please view the SDOT WMBE Prime Contact list on our website to find contact information for primes that often work on SDOT projects. This list is subject to change and is not all-inclusive of primes that work on SDOT projects.

Q. How can I be invited to upcoming events with SDOT?

A. Contact Edson Zavala, OEEI Manager, (Edson.zavala@seattle.gov) to connect with our team and be invited to upcoming events.

Q. Is E-Bid Exchange for SDOT the same as King County?

A. The E-Bid Exchange for the City of Seattle is different from the E-Bid Exchange for King County. Please visit the City of Seattle’ E-Bid for more information.

The WMBE Program

Q. How do I obtain WMBE status?

A. The City of Seattle recognizes self-designation for Women- and Minority-owned firms. WMBE firms are encouraged to log into the Online Business Directory and self-identify as a women or minority owned business.

Additionally, the City of Seattle recognizes certification from the State of Washington’s Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OWMBE) .

Q. What is an Inclusion Plan?

A. The Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) and the Mayor’s Executive Order direct inclusion of women and minority firms in City contracting and consultant contracts.  The Inclusion Plan is a tool that is completed as part of the solicitation process and as part of the submittal for consideration. The Inclusion Plan is an opportunity for prime consultants or contractors to identify aspirational goals for inclusion on a project and identify WMBE sub-consultants they will include on their teams. For more information, please see the City of Seattle’s WMBE website.

Q. How are Inclusion Plans monitored?

A. SDOT monitors Inclusion Plans on consultant contracts through an audit of invoices submitted by prime consultants. Each invoice is tabulated to verify that WMBE firms are receiving the work allocated to them in the Inclusion Plan.  Goal performance is evaluated monthly. If a contract is not performing per the stipulated WMBE inclusion goals, the WMBE Advisor works with project managers and prime consultants to complete documentation and help get the project back on track.

Q. What is the difference between the WMBE Program and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program?

A. The WMBE Program is a local program for the City of Seattle that encourages the inclusion of women and minority owned businesses on locally-funded projects. Through the use of the Inclusion Plan, the WMBE Program helps to increase inclusion at the prime and sub-consultant level.

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program applies to federally-funded projects undertaken by the City of Seattle and entails DBE certification through the State of Washington’s Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises. For more information on the DBE Program, please click here.

Acronym Guide

Acronym

Name

CPRS

Capital Projects and Roadway Structures

CWA

Community Workforce Agreement

CM

Construction Management

CCU

Consultant Contracts Unit

DBE

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

FAS

Finance and Administrative Services

HUB

Historically Underutilized Business

MBE

Minority-Owned Business

OCR

Office for Civil Rights

OED

Office of Economic Development

OEEI

Office of Equity & Economic Inclusion

OMWBE

Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

OBD

Online Business Directory

PTAC

Procurement Technical Assistance Center

PLA

Project Labor Agreement

PM

Project Manager

PIO

Public Information Officer

RFP

Request for Proposal

RFQ

Request for Qualifications

SDOT

Seattle Department of Transportation

WMBE

Women- and Minority-Owned Business

WBE

Women-Owned Business

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