DDC Awards First Contract For M/WBE Mentoring Program From Harlem To Hollis

March 13, 2023

Commissioner Thomas Foley of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today announced the first contract.

The first contract available exclusively to firms in DDC’s new Mentoring Program for qualified Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and small businesses has been awarded. The program, which has 49 firms as part of its first cohort, is the first of its type for a New York City mayoral agency. Applications for firms and small businesses interested in participating in the second cohort of the Mentoring Program will be open from April 3rd to May 15th.

An M/WBE contractor working for the DDC restored the interior and exterior of the atrium laylight ceiling at the Surrogate’s Courthouse at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan. The project received a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award as well as Honorable Mention for “2019 Project of the Year” from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Metro New York/New Jersey chapter.

“Equity is at the center of our administration’s vision for the city’s economic recovery,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This first-of-its-kind program is yet another example of our administration’s commitment to expanding opportunities for our minority- and women-owned business owners and workers. With this program, we are giving M/WBEs the tools to compete for city contracts and grow their business while advancing the inclusive recovery New York City needs.”


“The response to our new Mentoring Program has been remarkable and we are thrilled to have awarded our first contract under the program,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Government contracting is a valuable business opportunity and companies want to know how to compete for those contracts and how to complete them successfully and efficiently. By helping M/WBEs and smaller firms we are not only correcting historic inequities but we’re increasing competition for our contracts and making ourselves more responsive to the needs of all the different communities we serve. We will continue to find ways to promote these firms and expand the industry.”

The Mentoring Program features two tiers, and each firm will spend four years in each tier where they will receive tailored business management guidance, growth planning support and project-specific technical assistance from a technical assistance consultant and an established construction management firm.

Firms begin the Program in Tier 1, which offers exclusive opportunities to bid on exclusive construction projects valued up to $1.5 million. Afterwards, firms can then enroll in the Graduate Mentoring Program (Tier 2) and compete for projects valued up to $3 million. Firms will also have access to a network of construction businesses and exclusive networking events as well as trainings and other resources to improve their ability to successfully work with New York City agencies.


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More than 250 firms applied for the first cohort of the Mentoring Program. Qualifying firms are in the construction industry, have been in business for at least one year and are certified by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) as an M/WBE or “small business” (an independently owned and operated non-M/WBE with average annual gross earnings between $150,000 and $500,000 during the last three calendar years).

Jose Fernando Garcia, Owner of Approved General Contracting of Mineola, NY, created his firm 20 years ago after moving to New York City from South America. The firm was recently awarded the first exclusive contract under DDC’s Mentoring Program to investigate and document the structural integrity of the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan for a DDC project that will reconstruct the shelter’s atrium.

“I’m thankful to be selected as part of the first cohort for DDC’s new M/WBE Mentoring Program,” said Garcia. “The Program offers great tools for minorities and small businesses such as support from consultants and project managers. Firms now have opportunities to be a general contractor on a project instead of a subcontractor.

“If a firm or small business is genuinely interested and ready to work with the City, opportunities are available,” continued Garcia. “You have to work hard and show your worth as you would in any other industry. Take pride in the work being done and make sure that you are consistent and meticulous from start to finish on projects. I’m also part of the mentoring programs offered by the MTA and SCA and much of my drive comes from the opportunities that are available to do work with them and to learn.”

DDC is the City’s principal construction management agency, building infrastructure and public buildings for more than 20 City agencies plus non-profit organizations that receive funding from the City. The agency is responsible for much of the City’s contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms and in the first quarter of the current Fiscal Year 2023 had an M/WBE utilization rate of 31 percent. In Fiscal Year 2022, DDC’s awarded contracts valued at more than $515 million to M/WBEs, representing more than one-third of the City’s M/WBE contract awards for the year. In Fiscal Year 2021, M/WBE firms won 334 total contracts with DDC worth $660 million, a M/WBE usage rate of 25.6 percent.

Through DDC’s partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), participants in the Mentoring Program also have access to SBS staff, to capital opportunities through SBS’s capital growth and workforce development programs to support the administrative capacity of businesses. DDC’s Mentoring Program is modeled on similar programs at the NYC School Construction Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

In July 2022, the agency created City government’s first Pre-Qualified List (PQL) that is limited to M/WBE general contractors. Firms on the list have the exclusive right to bid on the agency’s general construction projects with an estimated value starting from $500,000 up to $2.99 million. In March 2022, DDC announced that half of the design firms contracted to deliver architectural design services for future public building projects are certified M/WBEs.

Businesses interested in DDC’s Mentoring Program should register as a “Bidder/Proposer/Mentor” at https://ddcanywhere.nyc, click on the Mentoring Access Portal (MAP) icon and complete the Eligibility Screening Questionnaire to determine if they meet the preliminary qualifications. Upon completion and preliminary qualification approval, businesses will receive access to the Mentoring Program application.

To learn more about how eligible firms can become certified as an M/WBE, please visit Certify With the City. Firms applying for the program must also sign up and file disclosures in PASSPort, the City’s digital Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal.

Contractors or M/WBEs seeking more information about DDC programs and contracting opportunities should contact the DDC Office of Diversity & Industry Relations at DDCODIR@ddc.nyc.gov or for more information about the Mentoring Program contact the Business Development Unit at BusinessDevelopment@ddc.nyc.gov.

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 Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 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 nyc.gov/ddc.

Photo credit: 1) Courthouse. 2). Jose Fernando Garcia.

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