In June 2013, the California Water Association (CWA) Utility Supplier Diversity Program Committee (the Committee) embarked on an effort to test a proposed Mentor-Protégé Pilot Program (MP3) designed to: (1) assist diverse suppliers and vendors with their technical capabilities, particularly as they pertain to investor-owned water utilities (IOUs), and (2) meet the supply chain needs of CWA’s member companies. The MP3 is one way the IOUs responded to the preferences of the California Public Utilities Commission in its decision to adopt amendments to General Order 156 multi-tiered technical assistance and capacity building (TA/CB) program.
The MP3 program’s goal is to prepare and encourage women, minority and disabled-veteran business enterprises for potential contract opportunities with the IOUs. On December 17, 2014, the Committee celebrated the success and continuation of this initiative by acknowledging and thanking the initial participants, Dyson Electric, Precision Contractors and Western States Oil Company. Directed by Infinity Business Solutions under a contract with CWA, each of the member company supplier diversity managers, as well as key procurement staff and executives, played a major role in contributing to the introduction of these businesses to key decision-makers.
During the first year, California American Water, Golden State Water Company and San Jose Water Company procurement professionals worked respectively with the three businesses. As a result, all three gained valuable knowledge about the IOUs’ operational needs, and Western States Oil entered into a contract with San Jose Water Company.