Calmentor Successful in Tough Economy
Caltrans efforts to support and build fruitful relationships between big and small businesses continues in a tough economy.
The Caltrans Calmentor Southern California Alliance (SCA) held its third annual Calmentor Award Luncheon to celebrate another successful year of growth on February 15 at the Pacific Palms Hotel and Conference Center in the City of Industry.
Calmentor pairs small businesses (protégés) with large firms (mentors) to enhance small business operations so that they can achieve their growth potential; create small business opportunities that provide more meaningful participation in transportation projects; establish an entry point for small firms who desire to do business with Caltrans and other public agencies; and develop business relationships that cultivate new opportunities for both large and small architectural and engineering (A&E) firms.
Caltrans Director Cindy McKim and district directors from district’s 7, 8, 12 spoke to a room filled with 130 members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies and Calmentor participants.
“In today’s climate, small businesses need resources to help them compete for work in the public sector,” said McKim, ”Caltrans is committed to assisting small businesses to get work through our Department.”
District 7 has the honor of being the first district to implement the Calmentor in 2005. “Small business is smart business, that’s the mantra we live by at Caltrans,” said District Director Mike Miles. “By ‘coupling’ big and small businesses together a fruitful relationship can grow.”
In 2007, districts 8 and 12 joined the Calmentor program to form the SCA, adding Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.
“We have seen some small businesses grow from protégé to mentor” said Alberto Angelini, chief of consultant services and leader of the team that developed the Calmentor program. “Some small businesses in the program have grown so much that they are no longer small businesses.”
Small businesses provide jobs and opportunity, which in turn helps to stimulate the economy. Over just a few years, Calmentor has continued to grow.
Calmentor has grown to 35 pairings with 35 mentors and 32 protégé firms since the program’s inception. Currently, there are 36 active contracts, with 28 of the contracts valued at $5 million or less. 14 of those contracts are less than $2 million.
This year District 7 has a total of 159 firms involved in our contracts, 92 of them are Small Business Enterprises (SBE) firms and 52 are Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), and 6 are Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (DVBE) firms. For the current fiscal year, $3.70 million or 55 percent of the total A&E expenditures went to the SBE firms.
“Caltrans will continue its commitment to work with our partners to ensure the biggest bang for our transportation dollars in these tough economic times,” said McKim.