|611 Walker, 7th Floor|
Houston, TX 77002
|Letter From the Director|
Spring is here and activities in the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) are buzzing.
On April 16, 2012, the OBO team welcomed its new Assistant Director, Marsha E. Murray, Esq. Ms. Murray has an extensive strategic operations and management background with specialized experience in regulatory compliance and quality assurance. Her more recent role was with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development as Executive Agency Counsel and Director of Strategic Operations. She has a Juris Doctor degree from Villanova University School of Law and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from Colgate University.
April 18, 2012, Mayor Annise D. Parker officially announced the completion and release of the anxiously awaited City of Houston Construction Disparity Study. The National Economic Research Associates (NERA) was commissioned by the Mayor and Houston City Council, to provide a disparity study for construction and construction service related contracts awarded between Fiscal Years 2005 - 2009 and the first half of Fiscal Year 2010.
The study is an important tool that must be used in tailoring the City's MWBE program, based on recommendations from the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity, input from stakeholders, and decisions of City Council. The final report on the Disparity Study, as well as the Disparity Study recommendations made by NERA consultants, can be accessed on the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity's website.
We extend our sincerest appreciation to all stakeholders for their input and participation in the Disparity Study process. Kudos to the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity, Public Works and Engineering Department, Houston Airport System, General Services Department, and the Housing and Community Development Department for the tedious, yet wonderful work done to provide NERA with extensive amounts of data needed for the study. Their efforts resulted in the examination of 756 prime construction contracts and 7,440 subcontracts, covering five and one-half fiscal years and a total value of approximately $2.82 billion.
After eighteen years of service as a City of Houston employee, OBO wished Sr. Contract Compliance Officer, Lowis Canton, a happy retirement on April 30, 2012. Lowis certified and re-certified many S/MWDBE firms during her tenure with OBO.
Finally, we invite you to visit our website to obtain current information on upcoming trainings, workshops, outreach events and other opportunities for S/MWDBEs.
Any comments or suggestions? Email me at email@example.com.
Carlecia D. Wright
|One Stop Business Center Does Outreach
The OBO One Stop Business Center (OSBC) continues its tradition of extensive community outreach and education. The OSBC staff is proficient at addressing questions ranging from state and city business requirements to the Hire Houston First program. Staff members have attended many City events such as the Government Procurement Connections Conference and the Annual Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Luncheon & Business Expo. In addition, OSBC's has attended smaller community functions such as the recent Career Day at HISD's Dowling Middle School for the Fine Arts. During any month you'll see the One Stop Business Center at a myriad of community functions, usually at the request of a local agency or organization.
Primary to OSBC 's mission is the educational component and the staff holds instructional workshops on the business requirements for operating a business in Houston to fulfill this aspect of the mission. The 90-minute workshops held in conjunction with our partners at the Houston Public Library and the UH SBDC center around the OSBC's PowerPoint presentation.
As Houston's premier small business information resource center, the One Stop Business Center remains at the forefront of business outreach through its seminars, workshops and public appearances. To schedule a member of OSBC to speak to your group or organization, call 832-393-0954, or visit our website.
|Public Works and Engineering Hosts Premier Engineering Event |
Don't miss the upcoming "Contracts in Five" Event hosted by the Public Works & Engineering Small Business Development Group (SBDG). This annual event brings prime professional service firms together with smaller (sub) firms for the purpose of establishing valuable business connections and partnerships on future PWE projects.
Once a year, the PWE Department follows a Professional Service Selection Process where project qualifications are solicited through Request for Qualifications (RFQs). RFQs are advertised on the PWE webpage providing project specific details and qualification submission requirements. Prior to receiving RFQ submissions, the department hosts a briefing to discuss and address questions regarding the upcoming projects advertised. Professional service opportunities include: Engineering & Design, Consulting, and Construction Management & Inspection.
For more information or to reserve your spot at this event, please contact the PWE Small Business Development Group at (832) 395-2516, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SBDG website.
For more information regarding the Professional Service Selection Process visit the PWE webpage. Under "Links of Interest", select Professional Services Selection.
|Success Story: Tejas Office Products
Tejas Office Products is a family owned business that has been in operation for 50 years now. Originally run by Lupe Fraga, the business is now operated by his son, Stephen Fraga, and two daughters, Michele Fraga and Alisa Fraga-Kautzmann, since 2007. As a supplier of office products and furniture, Tejas Office Products has been certified as a Minority and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Historically Underutilized Business, 8a, and Small Disadvantaged Business for over two decades.
In the early sixties, Lupe Fraga, with no entrepreneurial experience, purchased Kendig Office Supply that had only two employees and a small storefront selling office products to the public. Lupe would keep that name for twenty years until changing it to Tejas Office Products in 1982. During that time, the client base changed and Tejas Office Products is now serving corporate clients and no longer to the general public. Shell was the first major client in the early seventies; however, most of the business Tejas Office Products did was subcontracting work for the United Space Alliance, METRO, Texas Medical Center, NASA, Baylor College of Medicine, and the City of Houston. United Space Alliance became one of their major clients and eventually Tejas Office Products opened an office in Florida. The Houston office is located in the Heights area.
The Fraga's attribute the success of the business to their excellent customer service. Lupe Fraga's saying, "take care of the customer" and "don't blow the opportunity", is the culture at Tejas Office Products and it has been the same over the years. The Fraga's have strived to maintain their father's legacy and grow the business by focusing on improving the company's processes and investing in employee training. With fifty-one employees and a fleet of 14 delivery vehicles, the company has had some challenges in competing with the larger office supply companies vying for business. The company is currently exploring areas that will complement the products they are already offer to their clients.
Owners: Michele Fraga, Stephen Fraga and Alisa Fraga-Kautzmann
|Success Story: Bocci Engineering, LLC
"Keep moving forward"- that's Lianne Lami's motto. Owner of Bocci Engineering, an energy engineering and environmental consulting firm, Lami knows the value of looking for the positive in difficult situations. Just months after Lami moved to Houston to take a senior executive job at Enron Corporation, the company went under and she lost her job. Lami took this opportunity to take some time to create and polish her business plan for a sustainable energy engineering consulting firm, an unfamiliar concept in 2002. In 2005, when the Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed, Lami decided to launch Bocci Engineering LLC.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina sparked Lami's interest in becoming certified as a Minority, Woman and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in order to take advantage of the diversity programs to re-build the City. Certification opened the door to many opportunities and allowed business to grow because the projects she was awarded focused on a portion of the business that is repetitive. The future is bright for Bocci Engineering, named one of Houston's fastest growing woman-owned businesses by Houston Business Journal; the firm is preparing to add three new divisions to the company: technology, construction, and environmental testing.
|Owner: Lianne Lami|
|We welcome your comments or suggestions. Please e-mail External Affairs Manager, Roger Harris, at Roger.Harris@houstontx.gov.
Educate. Connect. Grow.