On June 18, 2014, the California Water Association (CWA) Utility Supplier Diversity Program Committee (the Committee) held its fourth annual Business Opportunity Fair, a biannual event designed to link water company prime suppliers with diverse businesses. Palle Jensen, Senior Vice President of San Jose Water Company, delivered the opening remarks on the importance of water companies working with diverse and local businesses to deliver quality water.
Participating prime suppliers included West Valley Construction, HDR, Inc, and CDM Smith, which have large-scale construction contracts with San Jose Water Company and California American Water.
This year, the Committee hosted an event that offered diverse businesses insight into two specific water projects, the California American Water Supply project and the San Jose Company Water Treatment Plant project. More than 70 diverse businesses, as well as representatives from the CWA member companies and Douglas Phason, California Public Utilities Commission Utility Supplier Diversity Officer, attended the event.
At the conclusion of each fair, CWA sends the attendees an evaluation survey, which includes a section for open-ended opinions. One respondent’s comment was very complimentary, “I appreciated learning about upcoming projects and the contracting opportunities specifically geared toward those projects. And having the opportunity to meet prime contractors was very advantageous. It would be great if more outreach events were organized the way CWA does them.”
The next business opportunity fair is scheduled for September 18 in Ontario, California. These events continue the Committee’s momentum in meeting and exceeding the goals of General Order 156 to increase utilities’ procurement of goods, services and fuel from women‐, minority‐ and disabled veteran‐owned business enterprises.