Photos courtesy: NYC DOT
NEW YORK – In an innovative event that marked a historic shift in the city’s contracting landscape, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) hosted its annual event “Doing Business with the DOT,” attracting over 500 business owners and executives.
The gathering served as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the NYC DOT to diversity and inclusion, showcasing transformative advances made under the leadership of Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and Mayor Eric Adams.
“Mayor Eric Adams and I are deeply committed to working with minority and women-owned businesses, and we are working towards the Mayor’s ambitious goal of awarding $60 billion in municipal contracts to M/WBEs by 2030. This event is part of the important work to fulfill this commitment,” said Commissioner Rodriguez.
“I am excited to share that NYC DOT is leading the way. In fiscal year 2023, we proudly awarded over $207 million to M/WBEs, showing a significant increase from a utilization rate of 10% in the previous year to an impressive 24%. This remarkable achievement is a testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion in contracting.”
“The message we are sending from this administration is that jobs are on the rise, crime is on the decline, case closed. And that’s how it is when we talk about awarding $25 billion to M/WBEs by 2026 and $60 billion by the year 2030,” added Michael Garner, Chief Officer of Business Diversity in the Mayor’s office.
“The exciting work is about taking those laws and creating programs that will allow the largest and most important city in the world to award contracts not only profitably but also inclusively,” he continued.
While Kevin Kim, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services of the City of New York, stated, “We see leadership like Commissioner Rodriguez’s, going from 10% to 24%. That doesn’t happen on its own. It takes intentionality and understanding why we need to diversify.”
“M/WBEs are going to employ many more people from the communities they belong to. This will have impacts on families, children, the next generation, traditionally underserved communities, and the entire city. That’s why we fight for this, because it’s right for the community and it’s good business practice.”
For Lisa Flores, Chief Contracting Officer for the City of New York and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, “Commissioner Rodriguez is an example from day one, before anyone was talking about M/WBEs. We don’t want the number to just increase; we want that number to increase in all aspects so that everyone has access.”
“What is really important for all of us in this room is that we are making those connections to build the system together,” she added.
“We hope to alleviate some of your concerns today. The city is open for business. Yes, we have a financial crisis, but we are still open for business. We have many opportunities to expand our vendor list,” expressed Carlos Banister, Diversity Officer at NYC DOT / Chief M/WBE Officer.
In recent years, NYC DOT has made significant strides under Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez’s leadership, working collaboratively with Mayor Eric Adams to enhance opportunities for minority-owned businesses. The commitment to diversity and inclusion has resulted in a notable increase in contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses, rising from 10% at the time of Commissioner Rodriguez’s appointment to an impressive 24% today.
One distinctive approach employed by NYC DOT involves leveraging ethnic media to engage with diverse communities. This initiative has played a crucial role in promoting the involvement of minority-owned businesses in the city’s transportation projects.
To further strengthen ties with immigrant communities, NYC DOT appointed José Reyes, marking a significant milestone. Reyes’s role involves enhancing and expanding the agency’s relationships with immigrant communities, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs addressed in the decision-making process.
NYC DOT’s dedication to increasing contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses reflects a broader commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in the city’s economic landscape. Commissioner Rodriguez’s leadership, along with innovative approaches and community engagement, has paved the way for a more inclusive and vibrant future for businesses in New York City.
The “Doing Business with the DOT” event, held on November 30th at 36 Battery Place, not only celebrated NYC DOT’s notable achievements but also provided a platform for business owners and executives to witness firsthand the transformative impact of expanded contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.