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Are Denver’s minority, women contractors given equal footing?

Author: Adam McCoy - July 27, 2017 - Updated: July 27, 2017

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock addresses a banquet on May 25, 2016, in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants to assess the city’s minority-contracting programs. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Denver wants to measure the evenhandedness of its contractor-hiring process. That means gauging the disparity between the available stock of minority- and women-owned businesses and those that win a city contract.  

The city announced Wednesday it has hired BBC Research and Consulting, a firm that specializes in disparity research, to conduct a study to examine whether businesses owned by women and/or minorities are given equal footing when bidding on work with the city.

The efficacy of the city’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program, which aims to ensure equity in the city’s contract-bidding process, and other similar federal programs will be under BBC’s microscope during the study. In 2016, more than $86 million in city contracts were awarded to firms certified under the M/WBE program and other federal programs.

“With significant public investment projects on the horizon, and by staying true to our Denver values, this city will show how economic prosperity can bring everyone along,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to taking a thorough, objective look at our inclusivity programs in order to bolster our approach and further level the playing field for Denver’s minority contracting community.”

BBC will examine how the city’s contracts for construction, design services, professional services, goods, general services and airport concessions were awarded from 2012 through 2016. The firm will also evaluate subcontracting participation and anecdotal evidence collected from the local business community.

As part of the study, the city will hold a series of public hearings:

  • Oct. 3, 2017, 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m., Eisenhower Recreation Center, 4300 E. Dartmouth Ave.
  • October 5, 2017, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
  • October 11, 2017, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Police Station-District One, 1311 W. 46th Ave.
  • October 13, 2017, 9-11 a.m., Denver International Airport (tentatively scheduled)

Contractors are also encouraged to weigh in by emailing

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.