The Montana Department of Transportation hired a consultant, Keen Independent Research, to conduct a Disparity Study. The Study will analyze whether there is a level playing field for minority-and women-owned firms in the statewide transportation contracting industry and in its own contracts. This information will help MDT operate the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program for its federally-funded contracts and set an overall three year goal. More information regarding the Study's progress, how you can get involved and share your input will be available soon through our website.
The study began in late February 2015 and will be completed in March 2016. Keen Independent Research will provide a draft report for public input in early 2016.
DBE Spotlight: Precision Highway Contractors
Sitting down for an interview with owner of Precision Highway Contractors (PHC), Kari Dvorak, it is business first. After discussing some of Kari’s concerns, I unabashedly change the subject to the interview. She is excited to be the first DBE Spotlight in the returning Montana DBE Newsletter, and I am excited to interview her.
PHC opened its doors in 2011 and became DBE certified in 2013. In this short amount of time, Kari has grown her business exponentially. Starting out, PHC had just four employees. When asked how many employees she has now, she had an exact count off the top of her head – 169. Kari doesn’t only know her business inside and out, she loves it. Her face lights up as she talks about her business. She admits that it may seem odd to feel such fulfillment from running a construction company. Kari has a background in law enforcement, yet feels that building roads is more rewarding. She explains that “at the end of the day…when you look at your perfectly straight guardrail and you know that nobody’s going to fly off the road and it is safe because of you – it is rewarding.”
PHC has expanded in the last few years and has even been awarded a handful of prime contracts. When asked if there was anything she wishes she knew when she was starting out that might help other DBEs or small businesses, she said to get used to the color grey. Not grey skies or highways although you’ll encounter plenty of those, but grey rules, guidelines, and best practices. She explains that there are different interpretations and expectations and you have to be okay with that. Coming from a history in law enforcement, it took some getting used to for Kari. The hardest thing about being in this industry, though, she says is being a woman. People don’t expect her to “know her stuff” and she does. Kari is eager to learn and when PHC started out, she wanted to know every detail of her business.
Kari took the Emerging Leaders class put on by the DBE Program in Helena in 2013. The class required her to set a five year goal. Realizing that her goal was rather ambitious, she put in to writing that she hoped for PHC to own punch trucks in the next five years. She has already met that goal by purchasing two trucks at an auction. “One went right to work. They call it little Kari.” she relays with a grin. Some people might not take it kindly that a truck has been named after them, but the truck is reminiscent of Kari’s drive, determination, and hard work – her grit. That is what earned the truck its name and the reason Kari grins at the thought. Even though she had to drop out of the class early because she couldn’t afford the time away from her business, Kari says that the Emerging Leaders class as well as the other classes the DBE Program offers are invaluable. It gives her small business access to training that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
When questioned about the best part of the DBE Program, Kari gives a rare pause. She can’t come up with the best part. “The whole freaking thing is awesome. We absolutely would not be where we are today without the Program…I am disgruntled (about some aspects of the DBE Program), but that’s only because I know how great it can be.”
MDT’s current overall Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) DBE goal is 3.55%. For projects awarded between January 1 and March 10, 2015, MDT awarded over $60 Million in FHWA projects of which 3.03% was awarded or committed to DBE firms. For the current Federal Fiscal Year (October through March), DBE participation is at 4.47%.
The Civil Rights Bureau is again offering training in the Contractor Compliance areas of federal-aid contracts with the Montana Department of Transportation. These areas include, Prevailing Wage, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and On-the-Job Training.
- Missoula - April 06, 2015 1:00-3:00 pm
- Construction Conference Room
- 2100 W. Broadway
- Missoula MT
- Great Falls - April 08, 2015 1:00-3:00 pm
- Construction Room
- 200 Smelter Avenue NE
- Great Falls, MT
If you would like to attend, please confirm which session by emailing .
Business Plan Training
We have heard from many DBEs who are struggling with the new business plan requirement. We are in the process of scheduling several trainings to help get these created. In addition, there will be an opportunity to receive one-on-one assistance to ensure that your plan is completed. Trainings will be offered as morning and evening sessions in each of the following cities: Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, Missoula and Great Falls. Check our website soon for specific dates, times and locations.
DBE Focus Group
MDT hosted the first quarterly focus group in Helena this March. Interested in getting involved? Contact Shannon Hahn at 406-444-7287 or .
- June 16, 2015 - 10:00 - 3:00
- Best Western Gran Tree Inn - 1325 N 7th Ave - Bozeman, MT
In the first quarter of 2015 (January – March), MDT has certified 5 new DBEs:
|Company||Highway Related?||NAICS||Home State|
|One on 1 Accounting & Consulting Services||No||541219 – Other Accounting Services
541611 – Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
|O.G.I.H. Enterprises, Inc.||No||425120 – Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers||Georgia|
|Parr Industries II, Inc.||Yes||484230 – Specialized Freight Trucking, Long-Distance
562211 – Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal
562998 – All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Services
|Integrated Project Controls, LLC||Yes||541690 – Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services||Virginia|
|Global Supplier Diversity Corporation||No||425120 – Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers||Ohio|
One Stop Vendor
Want to get on the list to do Business with The State of Montana?
- Go to http://www.vendor.mt.gov
- Click Montana’s Vendor List
- Select Create an ePass account
- Select Login under Login with ePass Montana
- Select Create an Account
- Enter your information and choose a Username and Password
- Select Save Changes
- Select Create a New Company Entry
- Enter Company Information
- Select Continue
- Select Quote Group List that is appropriate for your company
- Select appropriate check boxes
- Select Add Items
- Select Continue
- Congratulations! You are now a registered vendor.
View current solicitations here.
Questions? Please call State Procurement Bureau at 406-444-2575.