One interesting consequence of an economy that is building some major new projects is the eruption of a high-profile marketing war among companies that offer advice on identifying, selecting, and monitoring the activities of minority and disadvantaged business enterprises.
City projects operate under a mayoral executive order of inclusion that requires companies working on public projects to have participation goals of 25 percent minority and 5 percent women-owned businesses. Public projects in other municipalities or in St. Louis county have different goals — as do private projects.
In leaner economic times, only a few groups offered the expertise necessary to understand and meet these goals. Today, there are many more groups — some the partners of construction trade organizations — doing such work. (One of the region’s best such groups is Jack Thomas’s M/W/DBE Certification Office at Lambert Airport.)
I am strongly committed to ensuring that building the City’s renaissance — both public and private projects includes minority-owned firms, small businesses, and companies owned by new Americans. And I am happy that the technical consulting required to include such small companies has become such a big business.