Large turnout of MWESB firms learn about Central Courthouse contracting opportunities

September 3, 2015

Attendees at outreach event for Central Courthouse contractors.

More than 90 representatives of small businesses and firms owned by minorities and women gathered in Multnomah County’s board room on August 31 to learn about opportunities to be involved in the Central Courthouse Project, one of the county’s largest capital projects in decades.

The event introduced business representatives to the project’s leadership team, who shared information about contracting for the $250 million project, which is entering the design phase. 

“This event is about building relationships,” said Gerry Hein of Hoffman Construction, the project’s construction manager/general contractor. “The lead contractors will need subcontractors with specific skills.  This is an opportunity for you to describe your firm’s unique skill set and see if we can find a good match.”

The event targeted firms that can provide services during the design phase.  Attendees lined up to talk with the project team from SRG Partnership, which was awarded the project’s design contract. “We have a site for the courthouse and an early building concept,” said architect Hussain Mirza of SRG. “But we are starting with a clean slate, so we want to hear everyone’s ideas for what this project can be.” He noted that SRG has a 15% subcontracting goal for minority, women, and emerging small businesses (MWESB’s) on the project.

“I appreciate the county’s effort in helping MWESB firms like Emerio Design have a chance to rub shoulders with agencies, larger A & E firms and other MWESB’s,” said attendee Shawn Mitchell of Emerio Design.

Invited firms represented specialties including Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, architectural design, AutoCAD, building information modeling (BIM), engineering (civil, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structural), historic preservation, interior design, landscape architecture, public involvement, specialty consultants, and training and facilitation. 

Guests were asked to put their business cards into envelopes for each category of work they are interested in so the lead contractors can contact them.  The design team -- along with the County and Hoffman -- will review qualified firms and determine the best fit for the project. 

Faye Burch of FM Burch & Associates is assisting Hoffman Construction with outreach to subcontractors.  “This is the first of several outreach events we will have to share contracting information about the project,” she said. “An event targeting firms that provide construction services will be scheduled in late 2015.” She said it is important for firms to be certified as minority, women or emerging small businesses by the state of Oregon.

“We haven’t started drawing lines on paper for the design yet, but we will be hiring a lot of subs before construction starts in 2017,” said Gerry Hein of Hoffman Construction.  His firm has set a 20% goal for subcontracting with MWESB firms. Hoffman will bid and direct solicit work targeted to MWESB firms and will help match prime tier subcontractors with MWESB firms.

County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Loretta Smith attended the event to talk with business representatives.

The event was co-hosted by the county’s Purchasing Office.  Lee Fleming, the supplier diversity officer for County Purchasing, thanked attendees for coming and said more contracting outreach events are scheduled on October 1 (MED Week event information at and October 9 (Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs event information at