Oregon DOT Helps Foster Relationships between Contractors, Suppliers through New Pilot Program

AASHTO Journal, 27 September 2013

The Oregon Department of Transportation last week announced the launch of a new pilot program aimed at helping to bridge communication gaps and foster relationships between contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers through a web-based outreach program. ODOT created the pilot program as part of the new Oregon Small Business Initiative, which is a partnership between ODOT, the Association of General Contractors, and the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.

The pilot program allows potential contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to fill out a short online survey about their companies, which is then stored in a project-specific database of company profiles. ODOT will use this information just before it sends out official bid announcements for an upcoming project on U.S. 26, when “primes will get company profiles of all the subcontractors and suppliers interested in bidding this project,” while subcontractors will get a similar list of all prime contractors. ODOT hopes the pilot program will help all those companies involved learn about each other earlier.

The profiles of each company include information such as the amount of experience and capacity a business can bring to a project, among other things. The program also allows small and large subcontractors to opt-in to an electronic induction service that tells them which organizations are interested in working and teaming up with them for bids. Doing so would help businesses add experience to their profiles, making it more likely they would win future contracts.

“ODOT is in a unique position to help large companies meet up with small companies and form relationships,” Michael Cobb, ODOT’s civil rights office manager, said in a statement. “And we know that relationships are the key to success in the complex world of doing business with the state.”

ODOT is holding an informational workshop on the program on Oct. 11, which will include helping those interested sign up for the program.

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