Denver is going to study if women and minority contractors get a fair shake

Denver is taking a look at contact disparities as major projects like the National Western redevelopment and I-70 expansion get underway.

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Construction on East Colfax Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colfax; development; construction;

Construction on East Colfax Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver officials kicked off a new disparity study Wednesday aimed at looking at how often women- and minority-owned businesses are going after and winning job bids from the city.

The goal is to make better use of Denver’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program and related federal offerings aimed at giving people other than white men a leg up in getting contracting work. The city will hold four public hearings in October and review city contracts awarded during a four-year period for the study, according to the Office of Economic Development.

Looking at the gap between contracts awarded to white men and women and minorities seems particularly important to the city as major projects like the National Western Stock Show redevelopment and Interstate 70 expansion get underway.

“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,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.

The Denver Office of Economic Development is working with BBC Research & Consulting to conduct the study. The Denver firm is expected to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the local MWBE program and the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs.

The study will focus on construction, design services, professional services, goods, general services and airport concessions contracts awarded from 2012 through 2016. Anecdotal evidence is expected collected from a cross-section of the local business community.

Public hearings are tentatively set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Eisenhower Recreation Center; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Denver Botanic Gardens; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Denver Police Station-District One; and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 12 at Denver International Airport.

Comments and information can be submitted to Find more information on the disparity study here.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at or

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