By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
The Jefferson County Purchasing Department will hold a free half-day seminar for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) on Monday, May 6, at the Linn-Henley Research Library in the Richard Arrington Auditorium.
The seminar will begin at 10 a.m.
Michael Matthews, purchasing agent with Jefferson County, said the goal is for DBEs to understand potential opportunities at the county.
“We have 1,951 different types of commodities and at least 70 percent of those are used for purchases…throughout the year and we want to make sure that we do as much business with DBEs in Jefferson County as we can,” he said.
At Monday’s seminar various county departments are expected to discuss upcoming projects and businesses will be able to meet with members from the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors and the Birmingham Construction Industry Authority (BCIA).
“We want to make sure that our processes are explained, that people understand the requirements, such as licenses and insurance,” Matthew said, “we want to expose them to at least four of our major departments — general services, environmental services, community development, and roads and transportation.”
Matthews said his department will also share opportunities such as maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) type-bids coming open.
Another potential opportunity is the central Alabama purchasing cooperative which has more than 75 members. “So, if they get a bid with the county, they can also potentially do business with those 75 members also,” he said.
Purchasing has done outreach in the past and wanted to do more, he said. “We recognize that it’s going to take a continual effort and not just one-time.”
DBEs are defined as “majority owned and operated, and controlled by one or more minority groups, including…African-Americans, women, Hispanics, Native Americans and veterans and…the controlling percentage is 51 percent or more of that business entity,” according to the county.
“We do require that the DBEs provide evidence of registration…but we do not certify,” Matthews said. “We coordinate with University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the DBE supportive services…we also share information with BCIA … because they have a certification that is through the state.”
Matthew said businesses can feel free to stop in anytime for additional information.
“We are willing to explain our processes if they want to come by they can…or just set up employment with anyone…who’s a part of the staff and we’ll sit down and we’ll explain,” he said.
While the event is free, seating is limited. If interested businesses can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 205-325-5381.