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New Resource Helps Local Government and Private Contractors Dig Into Public Works


August 31, 2022  by  Josh Klika
Category:  Purchasing and Contracting

New Resource Helps Local Government and Private Contractors Dig Into Public Works

MRSC is proud to launch our new Digging Into Public Works project!

This year’s state budget included funding for MRSC to provide training and technical assistance on public works contracting, in partnership with the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

Based on this funding, MRSC launched the Digging Into Public Works project with a landing page that navigates to all of MRSC’s new public works contracting resources, including forums and training opportunities. This page serves as a centralized location where any local government public works staff or private local contractor can access new and expanded information on the project.

For this blog, I will describe how both local government staff and private contractors can best take advantage of these new tools, trainings, and outreach opportunities.

Regional, In-Person Opportunities for Public Works Staff and Local Contractors

Starting in October, seven in-person regional forums will take place across the state, including Spokane, north Puget Sound, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Thurston/Pierce County, Whatcom/Skagit County, and Clallam County.

These forums will bring together local government public works staff looking to expand their knowledge and outreach with contractors seeking to break into or expand their presence in public works contracting.

The forums will feature two main elements: training for public works staff and outreach sessions for private local contractors to connect with public works staff.

In attending these forums, local government public works contracting staff will have access to free ‘Digging Into Public Works’ training (with lunch included!) The curriculum for these trainings will focus on how local government public works contracting staff can:

  • Create meaningful engagement with the contracting community;
  • Start, refresh, and/or maintain your public works program;
  • Get more bids, better prices, and higher inclusion participation;
  • Learn best practices in public works contracting from peers across Washington State; and
  • Take away actionable steps to improve outcomes and practices in public works.

Local contractors will benefit from the ‘Meet the Agencies’ outreach sessions at the forums. These sessions will pair representatives from local government agencies who are ready to have conversations with contractors who are interested in learning more about public works opportunities. There will be dedicated time to sit down with public agencies and hear:

  • Where to find upcoming opportunities and active solicitations?
  • What are the top three procurement methods used by the agency?
  • What kind of programs or resources are available for small and diverse businesses wanting to do business with your agency?
  • What are common mistakes contractors make when responding to bids?
  • How the agency uses rosters?
  • How to get assistance with required paperwork?

Registration information for the ‘Digging Into Public Works’ training and the ‘Meet the Agencies’ outreach sessions at each regional location is linked on the Digging Into Public Works landing page.

Tools for Local Governments

MRSC is also providing free webinars over the next two months to assist local government with how to best share information on thier public works contracting needs and available opportunities.

The Meaningful Engagement Strategies for Local Government Procurement webinar (September 29) will feature a virtual roundtable discussion focused on procurement engagement, touching on such subjects as lessons learned, and resources and strategies to effectively engage your bidding community. Attendance at this webinar would be beneficial for anyone who plans to attend a regional forum or participate in other similar outreach events throughout the year.

For the MRSC Rosters Electronic Bidding webinar (October 11), I will be joining team members from the MRSC Rosters program to explore how MRSC’s new electronic bidding service for local governments can significantly reduce the administrative effort involved in public bidding, increase bidder participation and satisfaction, and provide valuable reporting capabilities.

Conclusion

MRSC will continue to add resources and provide useful and timely information on the landing page as we dig further into public works. All the events and resources developed for Digging Into Public Works will be posted to the project landing page and more opportunities will be added as they become available.

I encourage local government staff to share Digging Into Public Works with

  • Staff or coworkers who are interested in public works training, and
  • Local contractors who contact you seeking public works contracting opportunities.

If you have feedback, suggestions for additional resources, or any questions about this project, please contact me. I look forward to seeing you at the regional forums and engaging with you on the webinars!


MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Josh Klika

Josh joined MRSC in October 2021 as a Procurement and Contracting Consultant. Josh has a broad public procurement background with over 20 years in state and local governments. In addition to holding roles in procurement at multiple agencies at the State of Washington, most recently Josh worked as Contracts and Procurement Program Manager for the City of Olympia.

Josh has also served as a recurring panelist, facilitator, and presenter on numerous topics relating to procurement and contracting for various professional organizations. He currently holds a Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) through the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC), a NIGP Certified Procurement Professional (NIGP-CPP) certification, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) through the University of Washington.

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