2021 DBE Conference Debrief

A conference focused on connecting Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) with numerous resource partners was held November 3 in Des Moines. The well-attended event provided opportunities for businesses to learn best practices, meet and identify potential business partners, increase their business exposure with other DBE companies, and collaborate with other contractors.

CIRAS partnered with the Iowa DOT to host the conference. DBEs are generally defined as small businesses that are 51 percent or more owned by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals.

In addition to networking opportunities, the conference featured education sessions on work safety culture, tax changes, navigating the bidding process, prompt payment, and DBE contractor compliance. DBEs also honored their peers with several awards, including Contractor of the Year, Supplier of Year, Consultant of Year, and Prime Contractor of Year. The awards, which were announced and presented at a special luncheon, were the first-ever to be voted on by the DBEs.

“I’m so grateful for the support of our DBE community from our speakers and resource partners. They are integral to the success of this program,” said Mary Zimmerman, DBE Support Services Program Manager. “My goal is to keep the momentum going with educational opportunities, starting with an event in February 2022 with the Associated General Contractors group on how DBEs can subcontract successfully to primes.”