Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)
The goal of East Harding’s proven Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program is to build capacity among Arkansas-based MBEs through a competitively bid construction delivery method which creates diversity in the workforce.
East Harding is Arkansas’ construction industry leader related to the mentoring, training and capacity building of MBEs. Minority contractor development has been a personal passion for East Harding co-founder Bob East for over 20 years. In 2008, Bob developed the Construction Mentor-Protégé Program and presented it to Governor Beebe. The Governor endorsed the program and appointed Bob as the Chairman. At that time, Bob recruited the CEOs of our peer companies to participate in the program, recruited MBEs to participate, assigned MBEs to each construction mentor company, and managed the program that is training the MBEs about every aspect of commercial construction.
After two years of meeting and mentoring, Bob realized that what the MBEs really needed was the opportunity to work on large-scale commercial construction projects. To achieve this goal, the MBE program needed a public sector leader willing to implement the program on a large-scale public project. UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson championed the program and helped get alternate solicitation and bidding guidelines approved by the University of Arkansas System. Since that approval, UALR has enjoyed a high rate of MBE success on two consecutive projects.
Here is how the program works:
During this phase, all project documents are written to encourage maximum participation from qualified MBE contractors during the competitive bidding phase. One key element is that, although every qualified bid must be accepted, the project is not required to advertise publicly for bids. Rather, East Harding actively invites qualified MBE subcontractors and works closely with them during the pre-bid phase to ensure that they are prepared to bid accurately and competitively. Despite the focus on MBE participation, it is important to note that East Harding’s first responsibility is to deliver the lowest construction price possible to the client. Competitive bidding among qualified subcontractors ensures the lowest price possible.
COMPETITIVE BID PHASE:
During this phase, qualified MBE contractors are invited to bid individual trade packages as prime bidders in every trade possible. In trade packages where there are no qualified MBE contractors large enough to bid as the prime bidder, East Harding will encourage non-MBE prime bidders to invite and partner with qualified MBE contractors as a 2nd tier subcontractor to the prime bidder. East Harding, as construction manager, also reserves the right to pair non-MBE prime bidders with a qualified MBE contractor when feasible. It is stated that MBE participation can be a criterion for final selection and contract award.
Little Rock Technology Park
East Harding was awarded the construction management of Phase I of the new Tech Park.
To date 6 of 23 (26%)subcontracts have been awarded to MWBEs in a competitively bid process. As the project proceeds forward, there will be additional opportunities to increase this number based on upcoming scopes of work.
The project is scheduled to complete in December 2016.
Little Rock 12th Street Station
For this project, East Harding formed a joint venture company with minority-owned Adevco Construction. Both firms provided executive, project management and supervisory manpower and expertise to the project.
In addition to East Harding’s 75/25 joint venture partnership, this project awarded 14% of all subcontracts to MBEs in a competitively bid process. This brings the total for MBE participation on this project to 39%.
The 44,000 square foot facility was completed on schedule and under budget in August 2014 and achieved USGBC LEED Silver.
This project awarded 28.0% of all subcontracts to MWBEs in a competitively bid process. The 33,500 square foot facility was completed on schedule and under budget and achieved USGBC LEED Gold.