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10th Annual Construction Expo Goes Virtual

San Diego Unified Goes Virtual for 10th Annual Construction Expo, Sees Decade of Success
Posted on 08/03/2020
Small Business Coordinator Alma Bañuelos with staff from the Swinerton project team during the 2020 online Construction Expo

August 3, 2020

SAN DIEGO – This year marked a decade of success for San Diego Unified’s Business Outreach Program, with the completion of the 10th annual Construction Expo hosted by the district’s Facilities Planning and Construction Business Outreach team.

Small Business Coordinator Alma Bañuelos with staff from the Swinerton project team during the 2020 online Construction Expo

The Business Outreach Program aims to connect local businesses with viable contracting opportunities on Propositions S, Z and Measure YY construction projects. The Business Outreach team spends much of its time connecting and supporting new contractors, including minority, disabled veteran, and women-owned business enterprises. The team works with these small and emerging businesses to give them the tools and resources they need to bid on projects funded by San Diego Unified’s bond program. 

This year’s Expo, turned virtual for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saw its largest turnout, drawing in more than 330 participants interested in the district’s facilities bond program.

“We are excited the online Expo was successful despite the hurdles we faced from COVID-19,” said Alma Bañuelos, Small Business Coordinator for the district’s Business Outreach Program. “It is important that small and emerging local businesses have access to information about San Diego Unified’s construction program. We will continue inviting diverse businesses to all our events so they can learn about the many construction opportunities—virtually or in-person.”

At the Online Expo held July 14-16, district staff conducted the popular Prime Panel with five of its top prime contractors. Individual panel sessions were held with Swinerton, Sundt, Gafcon, McCarthy, and C.W. Driver. Each prime was asked a series of questions that allowed them to share advice, requirements, and tips for doing business with them and for winning subcontracts on San Diego Unified construction projects. Participants included contractors, suppliers, and consultants of all tiers.

Led by Manager Karen Linehan, the Business Outreach Program also issues the Business Outreach Newsletter to provide construction bond program updates, contracting information, upcoming bid opportunities, procurement news, and more. Her team also provides subcontractors with tools to network with general contractors, such as planholder lists and pre-bid site walk attendance sheets.

“This year we relied on online communication more than ever to get the word out about our Construction Expo and ensure that small and emerging business enterprises have equal access to the district’s construction program opportunities,” Linehan said. “It was more important than ever this year because, even while the virus persisted, our construction projects were safely underway. Opportunities for many economic sectors disappeared, but in construction, subcontractor, supplier, and equipment rental needs kept on rolling on our projects. We are quite pleased with the outcome.”

To date, nearly 43% of project dollars have been awarded to emerging business enterprises (EBEs). That’s over $700 million for minority-owned, disabled veteran-owned, women-owned, and small business enterprises.

“While we change the physical landscape of San Diego through vital neighborhood school facility improvement projects, we are employing thousands of San Diegans, providing a source of economic stability in our region during these challenging times.” San Diego Unified Chief Facilities Planning and Construction Officer Lee Dulgeroff said.

The district’s bond-funded Capital Improvement Program has created a cumulative 32,215 job-years* using The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) methodology.

For more information on the district’s business outreach efforts or how to do business with the district, please visit https://www.sandiegounified.org/business-outreach.

*A job-year is one year of work for one person; a new construction job that lasts five years is five job-years. It is a more precise measure because an individual job may last for six months, a year, or a lifetime.