Advocate of the Year Presentation - (Windows Media Player)
Albert Rivas, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (now at Department of Water Resources)
Albert Rivas, formerly of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, received no fewer than four separate SARA nominations this year, including two from his fellow Advocates. In June 2008, Albert was hired as the SB/DVBE Advocate for his department. From his arrival, he provided assessments, training, support, regular communication, SB/DVBE workshops, statewide webinars, and motivation. He reaffirmed SB/DVBE priorities and best practices to the 33 SB/DVBE liaisons in 33 satellite institutions and to Headquarters Contract and Procurement staff who all contributed to the Department exceeding prior year performance records.
At the onset of his assignment, he assessed department advocates in the field by developing a performance and training request matrix. He also used DVBE three year trend data to target underachieving and mid-performing sites and provided training on specific program components.
Albert also assessed management, led contract staff and provided training on the small business preference and DVBE Bid Incentive. He further supplemented this training with standing monthly California Socio-Economic preference workshop training. He used the workshop to assess actual proposals. He provided one-on-one training to SB/DVBE vendors on how to do business with the State including how to navigate through BidSync to register and improve their business profiles to increase exposure. Albert also developed new lines of communication with his department’s Accounting Office to reduce processing times to ensure prompt payment to the Small Business and DVBE Community. In July 2011, as Chair, he led the State Department Advocate Steering Committee through delivery of the first SB/DVBE Advocate Boot Camp Workshop. Lastly, since his arrival in FY 2008/2009, the DVBE participation in his very large department has increased by 181 percent from 1.36% to 5.01%.
Ryan Huddleston, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
Ryan Huddleston, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Corcoran, joined the facility in August 2009 with an enthusiasm for creating better awareness and education in using the SB/DVBE program. Before that, he was part of a team who was honored with the Gold SARA Award in 2009.
Prior to Ryan’s arrival, this facility had historically experienced challenges in achieving the mandated minimum 3% DVBE participation goal. In Fiscal Year 06/07, they recorded a dismal 1.42% DVBE participation, and in FY 07/08, the DVBE participation rate fell to .91%. Fast forward to 2010/11 and with a combination of hard work, increased commitment and Ryan’s additional training, CDCR, Corcoran has elevated the SB participation to 42.20% and DVBE participation to 14.02%.
Ryan’s idea that all bid proposals target the SB/DVBE community are now common practice. His facility is a statewide leader providing a one-on-one assessment and quarterly training service to those responsible for purchasing. Ryan is also a co-chair of the SB/DVBE Mentoring Program to spread the word of the importance of SB/DVBE contracting by mentoring throughout California.
Stephanie Green, California Public Utilities Commission
This year, our Bronze winner’s agency, the California Public Utilities Commission, did 29.74% ($11.35 million) of their contracting with small businesses. Their Advocate, Stephanie Green, ensured executive level support for SB performance by having it discussed at agency Directors’ meetings. She worked with contract staff to provide detailed customer service, examining contracts and suppliers to ensure all applicable parties were certified and receiving the benefits of certification. Stephanie also pursued an aggressive outreach program, partnering with local chambers, small business associations and ethnic business groups, participating in 55 events and reaching thousands of small business owners.
Stephanie also partnered with chamber and associations to publish articles in websites/newsletters. Most importantly, she organized three small business expos (San Diego, Burbank, Oakland), matchmaking with state agencies and utilities and hosting a workshop on “Connecting Small Business with State and Utility Contracts”. Around 300 small business owners attended each event. Last year, $5.17 billion of the PUC’s contracting dollars went to women, minority, disabled veteran owned firms, and SB participation increased from 15.21 % in 2009-10 to 29.74% in 2010-11.
Honorable Mention -
Kevin Aria, Department of Consumer Affairs
Kevin believes that during the current economic times, it is more important to focus efforts toward local and community businesses in order to aid California's struggling economy. By supporting local California small businesses we, in turn, support job growth and state revenue. Kevin actively supports California certified small businesses and DVBE vendors by clearly and efficiently conveying SB/DVBE related information to his department’s procurement staff, vendors, and management. He provides constant phone and email interactions, departmental memorandums, distributes an SB/DVBE brochure, attends outreach events whenever possible, and encourages vendors to become certified.
He has also been an eProcurement administrator for over two years and participated in developing vital changes to the eProcurement reporting templates. These changes allow all state departments to more accurately report their annual SB/DVBE participation to the Department of General Services. Kevin goes the extra mile to resolve issues that arise during the procurement process and he makes himself readily available to SB/DVBE vendors on a daily basis.
Through increased communication efforts with staff, management, DGS, and vendors, Kevin’s department increased overall small business participation from 43.36% last year to a whopping 51.1% this year. He sent over 200 emails to expired SB/DVBE vendors encouraging them to reapply for certification resulting in dozens of renewed certifications over the last year.
Honorable Mention -
Liza Whitmore, Caltrans, District 3
Liza is the DVBE Advocate for Caltrans District 3. Liza provides continuing and active outreach to the DVBE and newly disabled veterans in her district, helping them understand the SB/DVBE program, the certification process and connecting with Caltrans and other state procurement entities. Liza is active with many of the Northern Chapters of the CA Disabled Veteran Business Alliance. She works to increase opportunities for DVBE-only solicitations for contracts using the SB/DVBE Option (Minor B contracts) through internal advocacy and educating buyers on effective use of the DGS/BidSync database.
Further she educates prime contractors (especially those projects in the $5-$15 million dollar range) on how the DVBE Incentive can help them win contracts. She planned an outreach workshop for early 2012 to continue best practices in this specific area, increased education about Commercially Useful Function and advocated to support her department’s enforcement of CUF regulations.
Liza provides outstanding customer service through prompt attention to all inquiries, follow-through when issues need investigating, connection with appropriate buyers, intensive technical assistance in marketing techniques and referrals to business development resources, and development of a comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge base.
Liza has received a past Commitment to Excellence award for “dedication to public service and striving for excellence and customer satisfaction” in 2010 and Gold Superior Accomplishment Award for “recognition of exceptional performance” in 2011.
Honorable Mention -
Tracie Zamora, Franchise Tax Board
Tracie has served as her department’s SB/DVBE Advocate for the last eight years. She provides expertise on the SB/DVBE programs and is the go-to person when procurement agents, SBs, DVBEs and advocates from other agencies have questions pertaining to State contracting. She demonstrates her steadfast stewardship of the SB/DVBE programs by continually promoting opportunities for improved SB/DVBE participation in her department’s procurements. This is evident by the 4% increase in FTB’s SB participation to 29.36% and an almost 2% increase in DVBE to 7.99%.
Tracie shows her enthusiasm by providing education and outreach through various forums throughout the State, including participating at this year’s California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance’s “Keeping the Promise Expo” in Los Angeles, serving as a panelist on the Supplier Diversity Panel at the “Small Business Summit” in Stockton, and facilitating at the DGS Small Business Council Advisory Meeting. At all of these venues, she proficiently explains the real-world State procurement process to interested vendors so they can participate in upcoming procurements. As the co-chair of the statewide SB/DVBE Advocate Steering Committee, she helps lead the discussion with other advocates by sharing FTB’s best practices, developing new ideas to improve the SB/DVBE program participation for the State, and mentoring new advocates.