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District Wins State Award for Reciprocity

San Diego Unified Wins State Award for Inclusion of Small, Diverse Businesses in Construction
Posted on 05/06/2021

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Unified School District has gained statewide recognition for its inclusion of small and disabled veteran businesses in its bond-funded construction projects, winning the California Department of General Services’ (DGS) “Reciprocity Partner of the Year Award” on April 27.

San Diego Unified was one of four nominees for the award, winning over the County of Sacramento, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

“We are absolutely honored to be considered among our talented colleagues across the state,” said Karen Linehan, San Diego Unified Business Outreach Program Manager. 


The State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) celebrates state departments and small business (SB) and disabled veteran business enterprise (DVBE) advocates, like San Diego Unified, for outstanding achievements in SB/DVBE advocacy and contracting.

The Reciprocity Partner of the Year is awarded to organizations that accept the state of California’s SB and/or DVBE certifications, and encourage and promote the state’s SB/DVBE program and database for their procurements. These organizations, including counties, cities, transportation agencies, utilities, and other local agencies are state reciprocity partners. San Diego Unified is one of 59 reciprocity partners throughout California.

“These partnerships bolster the state’s efforts to support small businesses and DVBEs at a local and regional level,” said Danetta Jackson, DGS Business Outreach Program Manager.

San Diego Unified awarded more than $99 million to small business enterprises (SBs) and $18 million to DVBEs during fiscal year 2019-20, equating to over 38% of the total contracting dollars to SBs and 7% to DVBEs. Of the 39 construction projects during the fiscal year, prime contractor contracts were awarded to 20 SBs and three DVBEs.

“This high level of diverse business participation reflects the commitment from the district’s top leadership, our Board of Education, community partners, and the district’s prime contractors, was made possible by the hard-working Business Outreach staff,” said Lee Dulgeroff, San Diego Unified Chief Facilities Planning and Construction Officer. 

To ensure small, diverse business owners are aware of contracting opportunities, the district’s Business Outreach Program maintains a database; notifies companies of construction bidding opportunities via email, social networks, and other media; promotes contracting opportunities through public outreach and procurement events; provides subcontractors tools to network with general contractors; implements additional strategies based on stakeholder feedback; and informs contractors and disabled veteran businesses about the district’s 3% DVBE participation requirement. 

Related Links:  

Full List of CA State Reciprocity Partners

San Diego Unified Business Outreach Page

Media Contact:
Jamie Ries, Facilities Communication Liaison, [email protected]