Disparity Study

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) implements the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program to encourage competition and participation from minority- and woman-owned businesses in IDOT contracting. IDOT has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether minority- and woman-owned businesses face any barriers as part of its contracting processes. Information from the study will help to inform IDOT’s implementation of the DBE Program and encourage the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in the future.

Study analyses. The disparity study will examine whether there are any disparities between:

  • The percentage of contract dollars that IDOT spent with minority- and woman-owned businesses during the study period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of contract dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of IDOT contracts (availability).

The study will focus on contracts that IDOT awarded in fiscal years 2012 through 2016. In addition to assessing utilization, availability, and any disparities between those measures, the study will also examine other qualitative and quantitative information related to:

  • Legal considerations surrounding IDOT’s implementation of the federal DBE Program;
  • Marketplace conditions for minority- and woman-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that IDOT currently has in place; and
  • Potential programs for IDOT to consider implementing to further encourage small business and minority- and woman-owned business participation.

Study schedule. BBC initiated the disparity study in September 2016 and will complete it at the end of November 2017. For details about the study schedule and key milestones, click here.

Key contacts. If you have any questions or comments regarding the IDOT Disparity Study, please contact:

Dana Goodrum
Policy & Supportive Services Unit Manager
Illinois Department of Transportation
(t) 217-782-5490
(e) Dana.Goodrum@Illinois.gov

Study progress. IDOT will provide regular updates about BBC’s progress on the disparity study throughout its course. Please check back periodically for those updates.

Project initiation. IDOT and BBC initiated the 2016-17 Illinois Department of Transportation Disparity Study in September 2016 with a series of in-person meetings with various IDOT bureaus and the Disparity Study Steering Committee (more information about the Disparity Committee can be accessed under the Disparity Study tab).   BBC met with IDOT to introduce the study, answer questions and begin the process of understanding contracting and vendor data that IDOT maintains. For the presentation that BBC used for those meetings, click here.

Data collection and analysis. BBC began working with IDOT in October 2016 to collect data on contracts that IDOT awarded during the study period as well as information about the vendors that participated in those contracts. The study team began analyzing data that it collected from IDOT to assess the subindustries that account for the majority of IDOT contracting and the geographical area that is most relevant to IDOT contracting.

Public meetings. IDOT and the BBC study team conducted six public meetings throughout Illinois in late October and early November 2016. The study team traveled to Dixon, Schaumburg, Chicago, Peoria, Springfield and Collinsville to share information about the disparity study, answer questions, and collect verbal and written testimony from participants regarding their experiences working in the local marketplace.

Next steps. BBC will engage in the following disparity study tasks in the coming months:

  • Public testimony. The project team will continue to collect written testimony from local business owners and stakeholders related to their experiences working in the local marketplace. If you would like to share your insights, please email the project team directly at IDOTdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com.
  • Data collection. The project team will continue to work with IDOT to collect data on contracts that it awarded during the study period and the vendors that participated in those contracts, including both prime contractors and subcontractors.
  • Data analysis. The project team will continue to analyze data that it collects from IDOT to refine the subindustries that account for the majority of IDOT contracting. The study team also will begin analyzing the percentage of total contract dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on IDOT prime contracts and subcontracts during the study period.
  • Availability telephone surveys. The project team will begin conducting availability telephone surveys with Illinois businesses that perform work that is relevant to IDOT contracting. The project team will begin those availability surveys in late March 2017 and will continue to contact businesses through the spring and summer. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive availability analysis!
  • In-depth interviews. The project team will begin conducting in-depth interviews with local business owners to collect insights related to experiences working in the local marketplace, starting or expanding a business, working with IDOT and various other topics. Insights from the interviews are invaluable to helping the project team better understand local market conditions and to identify potential barriers that businesses face when trying to establish or grow their businesses. 

Project Team

The project team for the 2016-17 Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Disparity Study includes seven firms that possess expertise directly relevant to conducting the study in a manner that meets the highest industry and legal standards. Two firms—B2B Consulting and SC-B Consulting—are Business Enterprise Program (BEP)-certified businesses based in Illinois.

 BBC Research & Consulting (BBC). BBC, a 46-year-old economic and diversity research firm based in Denver, Colo., will serve as the prime consultant for the study. The firm has completed nearly 100 disparity studies for state departments of transportation, transportation agencies, cities, states, and other government entities all across the country. BBC is also considered a national expert in helping agencies develop and refine their implementations of minority- and woman-owned business programs. BBC has provided expert testimony related to disparity studies and minority- and woman-owned business programs on several different occasions, most recently as part of the successful defense of the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans’s) implementation of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program—which was based in large part on a 2007 BBC disparity study. For more information about BBC, please visit the firm’s website at www.bbcresearch.com.

Primary contacts:

Sameer Bawa
BBC Director
(t) 303-321-2547, ext. 247
(e) sbawa@bbcresearch.com
Iris Saint
BBC Senior Associate
(t) 303-321-2547, ext. 245
(e) isaint@bbcresearch.com

 B2B Consulting. B2B Consulting is a Black American woman-owned, BEP-certified consulting and training firm located in North Riverside, Ill., that specializes in small business growth. B2B Consulting helps small businesses gain the knowledge and tools needed to be sustainable and profitable through job creation and strong community relationships. B2B Consulting has helped recent clients develop long-term business strategies and small business training programs. The firm recently developed the Business Empowerment Program, a three-month program uniquely designed to help companies and communities prosper through better business practices and engage a broader, more diverse network of vendors, suppliers, and partners. The program also assists small businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities to start, grow, and diversify their supply chains. B2B Consulting is currently working with the Small Business Administration to offer the Business Empowerment Program throughout Illinois.

 SC-B Consulting. SC-B Consulting is a woman-owned BEP-certified management and business consulting firm located in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.. The firm has provided business and management consulting services; technical training; community outreach planning; and statistical analysis and survey services to private businesses and government agencies for more than 30 years. SC-B Consulting conducts studies for some of the nation's largest organizations that rely on the firm to carry out survey and qualitative research to gain insights into public opinions, attitudes, and behaviors. SC-B Consulting has also worked closely with the federal government and State of Illinois to provide technical training and consulting services related to the federal DBE program. The firm recently worked with the State of Illinois’ Procurement Technical Assistance Centers to provide training to disadvantaged and small businesses on how to do work with government agencies and obtain proper certifications. In addition, the firm has provided research services to the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency. SC-B Consulting also provided technical assistance related to software development for IDOT’s Highway End-to-End Project and the State of Illinois’ Health and Family Services.

 Zann & Associates. Zann & Associates is a minority woman-owned, BEP-certified management consulting firm that specializes in advising clients on small business growth and small business participation on large capital projects. Zann & Associates’ clients include public sector institutions; prime contractors; consultants; minority- and woman-owned businesses; DBEs; and other small businesses. Zann & Associates provides strategic advice to senior leadership on all aspects of program planning and implementation related to increasing and measuring small and disadvantaged business growth and participation on major infrastructure projects. The firm has also gained recognition for the development of a capacity-building program designed to ensure continued and sustainable growth for emerging small businesses (ESBs). Zann & Associates serves as the DBE/ESB and workforce development advisor to the Colorado Department of Transportation on a $1.3 billion P3 Interstate 70 project.

 Holland & Knight. Holland & Knight is a multi‐national law firm that has participated in nearly 50 disparity studies with BBC. BBC employs Holland & Knight to develop the legal analysis and framework on disparity studies and to consult on legal issues. Holland & Knight also has extensive experience conducting in‐depth interviews; collecting and analyzing anecdotal evidence; and assessing potential DBE program measures. Holland & Knight recently worked with BBC on disparity studies for a consortium of three San Diego-area state agencies, 11 state agencies in Indiana, the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Turnpike. The firm is currently working with BBC on disparity studies for the City of Charlotte in North Carolina; the Idaho Department of Transportation; and a consortium of five state agencies in Nevada.

 Keen Independent Research. Keen Independent is an economic and policy research firm that specializes in conducting disparity studies all across the country. Dave Keen, former BBC Managing Director, helped to develop BBC’s disparity study practice in 1989 with one of the first disparity studies in the nation. He has led disparity studies for more than 75 clients throughout the country. Since starting Keen Independent, Mr. Keen and his staff have worked closely with BBC and Holland & Knight on disparity studies for state departments of transportation and local governments, including the City of Atlanta, the City of Portland, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle, three San Diego-area transportation agencies, Caltrans, and the City of Madison. Keen Independent recently worked with BBC on disparity studies for a consortium of 11 state agencies in Indiana and for the California Department of Transportation.

 Customer Research International (CRI). CRI is a Subcontinent Asian American‐owned telephone survey firm based in San Marcos, Texas. CRI has conducted tens of thousands of telephone surveys on more than 30 BBC disparity studies. The firm is accustomed to conducting telephone surveys all over the nation. Sanjay Vrudhula, CRI President, will lead the firm’s efforts on the department’s disparity study. Mr. Vrudhula has more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and data processing with particular expertise in the design and implementation of business and consumer databases. CRI recently worked with BBC on disparity studies for the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike. The firm is currently working with BBC on disparity studies for five state agencies in Nevada; the City of Charlotte in North Carolina; and the Idaho Department of Transportation.

Disparity Study Steering Committee

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has assembled a Disparity Study Steering Committee to provide input to the project team and information to the public throughout the course of the study. The steering committee will:

  • Provide guidance to the project team;
  • Help facilitate communication and the free exchange of information; and
  • Communicate information about the study to the local business community and IDOT staff.

At key points of the disparity study, the steering committee will meet to discuss the study’s progress and timeline; community engagement efforts; and other relevant topics.

The steering committee is in the process of being formulated and invitations for committee members will be going out soon. Once the membership is confirmed, committee members will be posted here.

Events

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is committed to engaging the public throughout the course of the 2016-17 IDOT Disparity Study. IDOT and BBC will host various events throughout the course of the disparity study to help the public understand the purpose of the study and to offer opportunities for the public to submit testimony and comments about their experiences working in the local marketplace and with IDOT. The events schedule will be updated regularly. Please check back periodically for those updates.

Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward Conference

On March 27, 2017, BBC will be presenting a project update and general overview at IDOT’s statewide Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward conference during General Session. Immediately following General Session, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., BBC will host an opportunity for the public to provide testimony and comments about their experiences working in the local marketplace and with IDOT, and also ask questions regarding the study.  This will take place in the Mary Todd Room, on the first floor of the Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center. 

Availability telephone surveys. The project team will begin conducting availability telephone surveys with Illinois businesses that perform work that is relevant to IDOT contracting. As part of those surveys, business owners and representatives will have an opportunity to share important information related to their business’s characteristics, interest in working with IDOT and experiences working in the local marketplace. Customer Research International (CRI) will be conducting those surveys on behalf of the BBC project team. We will begin those availability surveys in late March 2017 and will continue to contact businesses through the spring and summer. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive availability analysis!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a disparity study?
A disparity study examines whether there are differences between:

  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on an agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those businesses would expect to receive based on their availability to perform on the agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts (availability).

The comparison between utilization and availability is referred to as a disparity analysis. In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies typically examine other quantitative and qualitative information about:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the implementation of minority- and woman-owned business programs;
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minority- and woman-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that the agency currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for consideration as part of the agency’s implementation of minority- and woman-owned business programs.

Q. Why is IDOT conducting a disparity study?
The last disparity study IDOT conducted was in 2011. The department would like to refine its implementation of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program with current information about the local marketplace and the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses.. In addition, IDOT wants to ensure that its use of DBE goals and other measures continue to be appropriate and legally defensible.

Q. When will the disparity study be completed?
The study will be completed in November 2017. For the study schedule, click here.

Q. What types of contracts are being studied?
The disparity study will examine prime contracts and subcontracts that IDOT awarded in fiscal years 2012 through 2016, during the period between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2016. The study will focus on transportation-related construction and professional services contracts.

Q. What will IDOT do with information from the disparity study?
Information the project team collects as a part of the study will help IDOT refine its implementation of the federal DBE Program. Among other information, the disparity study will provide:

  • An independent, objective review of minority- and woman-owned business participation in IDOT prime contracts and subcontracts. That information will be valuable to both IDOT leadership and to external groups that may be monitoring IDOT’s contracting practices.
  • Information that is useful for setting overall annual DBE goals and for refining IDOT’s implementation of the federal DBE Program; and
  • Insights about how IDOT might improve contracting opportunities for local businesses and how it could better encourage the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in the future.

Q. Will the results of the disparity study be made public?
Yes, the results of the disparity study will be made public at the end of the process.

Q. How can I participate in the disparity study process?
There are several ways in which you can participate:

  • Share your experiences working in the local marketplace by using the “Contact Us” section of the webpage. You also can submit any written testimony directly to IDOTdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com.
  • Visit the "Events" tab for details about the public meetings.
  • Respond to our requests for you to participate in an availability survey, which will begin in early 2017. If you represent a business working in the local marketplace, you may be contacted as a part of the availability survey process. If you are contacted, please help the project team by participating!
  • Call us if you have any unanswered questions about the study or about IDOT’s implementation of the Federal DBE Program. For our contact information, visit the "Contact Us" tab.

Materials

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will provide access to relevant disparity study notes, presentations, and reports below. Please check back periodically for updated documents throughout the course of the study.

Project initiation presentation. IDOT and BBC initiated the 2016-17 IDOT Disparity Study in September 2016 with a series of in-person meetings with various IDOT departments and the Disparity Study Steering Committee. BBC met with IDOT and the steering committee to introduce the study, answer questions, and begin the process of understanding contracting and vendor data that IDOT maintains. For the presentation that the study team used for those meetings, click here.

Comments

Please submit any comments that you may have about your experiences working in the local marketplace, working with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), or about the disparity study. Topic areas could include:

  • Conditions in the local marketplace, including any potential barriers that businesses face in being successful or growing;
  • Contracting opportunities with IDOT or other local government agencies;
  • Business assistance programs that IDOT or other local agencies currently use;
  • Any recommendations for additional businesses assistance programs that IDOT could consider implementing ; or
  • The 2016-17 IDOT Disparity Study.

Your comments will be treated confidentially. They will be integrated as part of project team’s analyses of local marketplace conditions without identifying you as the source.

Click Here To Comment On Disparity Study

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the disparity study, please contact one of the following individuals:

Dana Goodrum
Policy & Supportive Services Unit Manager
Office of Business and Workforce Diversity
Illinois Department of Transportation
(t) 217-782-5490
(e)Dana.Goodrum@Illinois.gov

Sameer Bawa
BBC Director
(t) 303-321-2547, ext. 247
(e) sbawa@bbcresearch.com
Iris Saint
BBC Senior Associate
(t) 303-321-2547, ext. 245
(e) isaint@bbcresearch.com

You can also e-mail your questions or comments directly to the project team at idotdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com.