Connecting state and local government leaders
Reducing barriers to make procurement and contracting more accessible and inclusive.
This is the 19th in a series of profiles on the 50 finalists for Route Fifty’s Navigator Awards program. The first 10 finalists were from the Government Allies and Cross-Sector Partners category. Finalists 11-20 were from the Agency and Department Leadership category. Finalists 21-30 were from the Executive Leadership category. Finalists 31-40 were from the Next Generation category. Finalists 41-50 were from the Data and IT Innovators category. Explore our complete list of 50 finalists.
Procurement can be a challenge for any public-sector agency. Updating rules and procedures to streamline procurement processes can be an even bigger challenge. In King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, there’s been an effort underway to not only make the government contracting process more efficient, but also more accessible to small businesses and those that are minority- and women-owned.
In the past five years, the county has been able to double the number of small contractors certified to more than 2,300, doubled the value of contracts for small firms to $47 million, and doubled the number apprenticeships hours for women and people of color.
That effort has been driven by two Route Fifty Navigator Award finalists: Ken Guy, King County’s director of finance and business operations, who has led the development of the procurement reform work; and Sandy Hanks, the county’s business development and contract compliance manager, who has led implementation.
This team effort used the Lean management process to reduce red tape and cut contracting time by half, or, in some cases more. It also “partnered with other large public entities on a ‘one stop shop’ to certify small contractors; developed and implemented innovative procurement processes like job order contracting and [used the county’s] Small Business Accelerator to provide more opportunities for small business to compete and grow,” according to a Navigator Award nomination submission.
The county’s inclusive approach to contracting also includes the LGBT community. This summer, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that King County would be the nation’s largest county government to track the number of contracts awarded to LGBT entrepreneurs. “We are stronger when we reduce barriers to opportunity so everyone can fully participate in our economy,” Constantine said in a county announcement.
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.