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October 31, 2017

DDC Conference on Contract Opportunities Offers Instruction, Networking and Insight on Future Contracts to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

DDC is helping New York City move closer to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of awarding 30% of the value of City contracts by 2021 to M/WBEs

DDC awarded over $1 billion in prime contracts to M/WBEs over the last 3 years

More than half of all M/WBE contracts citywide are awarded through DDC

Crystal Santos

Long Island City, NY – More than 525 Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) attended the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) 4th Annual Conference on Contract Opportunities today, taking advantage of the leading M/WBE agency in the City and its efforts to enhance their business opportunities. The event was designed to explain the City’s contracting process, help M/WBEs network with companies seeking to hire them and make M/WBEs aware of contracts that will be publicly bid soon by DDC. DDC anticipates making close to $2.5 billion in total contract awards in the City’s current fiscal year.

“DDC remains committed to helping more M/WBEs do business with the City, and we have proudly awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to M/WBEs over the last 3 years,” said DDC’s Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “The goal of these networking conferences is to give M/WBEs the opportunity to engage with government organizations and private firms while also teaching them about the City’s contracting process so they can grow their businesses.”

(l to r) Jonnel Dorris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs; Ana Barrio, DDC Acting Commissioner; Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide M/WBE Director; and Maggie Austin, DDC’s Chief Diversity & Industry Relations Officer at the DDC’s 4th Annual Conference on Contract Opportunities

Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives was the keynote speaker at today’s event. Deputy Mayor Buery was appointed Citywide M/WBE Director in September 2016. He was introduced by Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of M/WBEs.

Together they are tasked with meeting Mayor de Blasio’s goals of awarding 30% of the value of City contracts to M/WBEs by Fiscal Year 2021; certifying 9,000 M/WBEs by Fiscal Year 2019; and awarding $16 billion to M/WBEs by Fiscal Year 2025. This past fiscal year, for the first time, the City awarded over $1 billion to M/WBEs – double the value of contracts awarded just two years ago.

“Awarding $1 Billion to M/WBE’s this past fiscal year is not only historic progress, but a true manifestation of the Administration’s values of inclusion and equity. DDC is a shining example of how City agencies can lead the way in creating a more diverse and fair marketplace. I thank Commissioner Barrio for her commitment to creating an open economy in which all businesses can thrive,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide M/WBE Director. 

“DDC’s Annual Conference on Contract Opportunities and similar events are crucial for M/WBEs to participate in the business opportunities the City has to offer. This conference creates a space where M/WBEs can learn about and connect to the $2.5 billion worth of contracting opportunities at DDC this year. I urge all M/WBEs to bid for this work so that together we can increase economic opportunity and create an economy that truly works for all,” said Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of M/WBEs. 

DDC continues to play a significant role in helping the city meet the $16 billion goal by ensuring procurement opportunities exist for M/WBEs. Over the past three years, DDC has awarded over $1 billion in contracts to M/WBEs. More than half of all M/WBE contracts awarded in Fiscal Year 2017 were through DDC. By increasing DDC’s M/WBE awards, the agency has seen an increase in its M/WBE utilization rate from 9.7% to 16.8% annually.

DDC’s annual conferences and other industry events through its Office of Diversity & Industry Relations help M/WBEs make connections not just with government agencies but with companies that work with them and seek M/WBE subcontractors.

Farah Gilani, President, Fastech Consulting Engineers

“These networking events have helped us make tremendous strides toward increasing the number of M/WBEs doing business with the City,” said DDC’s Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer, Maggie Austin. “Maintaining a strong partnership with the M/WBE community is crucial to ensuring we uphold the Mayor’s commitment to equity and opportunity for everyone in this diverse City.”

Since 2015, DDC’s Office of Diversity & Industry Relations has engaged 3,355 M/WBEs, either through direct outreach or at networking events. In that time, DDC has held more than 40 capacity building workshop sessions to help M/WBEs grow their businesses.

Contractor Fastech Consulting Engineers is a 7-year-old M/WBE owned by Farah Gilani. They are experts in traffic engineering and design. Gilani says marketing is key to growing her business and these networking events provide that opportunity.

“When you are small you have limited capacity, and when you working on projects you don’t have enough bandwidth to market yourself, so coming to events like this helps us market ourselves because there are a lot people you need to reach in one place. You can get a lot of marketing done in one day,” said Farah Gilani, President, Fastech Consulting Engineers.

M/WBE Contractor, Armand Corporation, also attended today’s event. The small business has been in construction management and program management for the last 26 years. The owner, Barbara Armand Kushner believes deeply in helping other M/WBEs by partnering with them whenever possible. She credits these networking events for helping her achieve that goal.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for face-to-face interactions that can deepen our pool of M/WBE partners,” said Barbara Armand Kushner, President and CEO of Armand Corporation. “As a well-established M/WBE, I remember and understand the value of events like this as I was growing my business. The connections made here bring quality, experience and capacity to projects throughout the city.”



DDC’s Office of Diversity and Industry Relations offers a range of programs to expand MWBE participation including monthly business development workshops, open houses and a construction mentorship program. These programs introduce MWBEs to the agency’s processes and ensure participants are aware of all available procurement opportunities. For more information about the Office of Diversity and Industry Relations offerings for MWBEs, visit

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit