As Black History Month 2023 winds down, this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast highlights the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and some of the success stories.
First, Lisa Thompson, administrator of MDOT’s Office of Business Development, which includes the DBE program, explains why the federal government requires state DOTs to help give historically disadvantaged groups an equal footing in procuring transportation contracts.
Thompson explains that the origins of the program and case for support dating back to the Reagan administration, including revisions over the years, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation:
This program has been the Department of Transportation's most important tool for promoting equal opportunity in federal transportation contracting since it was first signed into law by President Reagan in 1983. Effective March 4, 1999, the department issued a new final regulation to guide the administration of the DBE program. This new regulation has three major goals:
In a second segment, Rhonda Rowe, owner and chief executive officer of Rowe Trucking, LLC in Detroit, talks about how the program has helped her family business thrive for several decades. Her business is among those highlighted in a special MDOT initiative.