On November 13, 2013, the Department of General Services (DGS) presented awards to 45 state agencies and 14 state employees for their outstanding work with California small businesses and disabled veterans’ businesses at a ceremony held in Citrus Heights. According to the National Association of Business, small businesses employ more than 51 percent of the workforce in California.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our great state," said DGS Director Fred Klass. "We applaud these organizations and state workers for their leadership in California, and their efforts to expand even in this difficult economy."

Annually, state agencies work to meet a goal of doing at least 25 percent of purchasing and contracting with small businesses. Furthermore, California’s Veterans and Military Code’s goal is to purchase at least three percent of all goods and services from Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (DVBE).

"The state purchases approximately $8 billion annually in goods and services, construction and public works to serve the people of California. It is our responsibility to do all we can to support the businesses that are the engine of California's economy," added Klass.

The State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) honor state departments and employees for their best practices, creativity, and outstanding achievements to advance California’s small business programs and DVBE programs.

The agencies receiving top honors at the awards ceremony were:

Governor's Award—Military Department

Government Operations Agency Secretary's Special Achievement Award—Board of Equalization

Small Business Advocate Innovation Award—First 5 California

Most Notable Improvement for Small Business (SB) Contracting—
Employment Training Panel—55.04 percent variance
California State Library—37.35 percent variance
Office of Systems Integration—28.14 percent variance

Most Notable Improvement for Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Contracting— 
California Tahoe Conservancy—72.20 percent variance
Student Aid Commission—20.92 percent variance
Board of Equalization —10.74 percent variance

State Agency Recognition Awards— 
Gold—Department of Corporations
Silver —California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Kern Valley State Prison
Silver —California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Institution for Men
Bronze—Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board

Advocate of the Year Awards—
Gold—Liza Whitmore, Caltrans, District 3
Gold—Lisa Tackett, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,   Kern Valley State Prison
Silver —Linda Fergurson, Board of Equalization
Bronze—Linda L. Langley, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,   Wasco State Prison, Reception Center

The Department of General Services acts as the business manager for the State of California. DGS helps state government better serve the public by providing services to state agencies including procurement and acquisition solutions, real estate management, leasing and design services, environmentally friendly transportation, and architectural oversight and funding for the construction of safe schools.