A new historic contract awarded by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) is being hailed as a model for both the private and public sectors. Earlier this summer, LA Metro awarded a contract of close to $100 million dollars to two small, minority-owned businesses.
The joint venture between Kal Krishnan Consulting Services (KKCS) and Triunity Engineering & Management is a partnership that promotes both small businesses and minority-owned firms. Historically, contracts of this size would go to larger companies, such as CH2M, which is known as a “traditional prime.” But in this case, CH2M will serve as a sub-contractor and mentor these smaller firms.
“Phil Washington is leading the way with this ground-breaking contract,” explained Gerard Orozco, a sr. VP and L.A. client executive at CH2M. “LA Metro is doing something that is truly a game changer.”
Through this contract, this team will supply skilled consultants who will serve as an extension of LA Metro staff, providing areas of expertise where needed to execute the projects and programs in Measure M, the sales tax measure approved by Los Angeles County voters last year, which is designed to create a world class transit system.
Through its new push for innovation, Metro has been actively encouraging businesses registered with its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to use traditional primes as sub-contractors to help mentor and fulfill these large contracts.
“As an established DBE firm, this procurement represents an opportunity to continue to grow our firm,” explained, Dev Krishnan, president/CEO of KKCS. “Based on the firm’s many years of experience, including in the transit industry, we are well positioned to lead our joint venture team on this important Metro procurement.”
The KKCS/Triunity JV contract allows the consultants to scale support efforts up or down, depending on LA Metro’s transit, highway, regional rail, and other capital improvement needs. The contract is for five years (approximately $63.3 million), plus a two-year option for $27.5 million. It covers services as varied as project management, project control, and information support services.
It could change the way contracts are awarded in the future and give small businesses the opportunity to grow.
“Our dad had a ninth-grade education and our mom a fifth-grade education,” said Jonnie L. Thomas, co-founder/CEO of Triunity. “But, dad really prized education. When we were growing up, he taught us about the benefits of hard work. And, that’s what we prize.”
That hard work is what brought these two companies to the forefront of this joint venture. Other agencies are even discussing ways to set up similar programs to help small, minority-owned businesses thrive. In creating this type of historic deal, LA Metro is changing the landscape for the future.