Why Goal Setting Matters to Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Companies


Niki Rainey, Civil Rights Bureau Director, encourages Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) companies to “have your voice heard at the table” of each monthly DBE goal-setting meeting. WHY does it matter to a DBE?

Every month, the Civil Rights Bureau hosts a virtual goal-setting meeting to set the DBE subcontracting goals for the following month’s letting listed on the Iowa DOT Contracts and Specifications Bureau website. This is a public meeting, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Interested parties who want to attend the DBE goal-setting meeting must notify the Iowa DOT to be added to the calendar. This can be done by emailing Nikita Rainey.

Those who attend are typically comprised of Iowa DOT personnel, prime contractors, and subcontractors. A person attending does not have to be a potential bidder, though usually, most attendees have a keen interest in the outcome of the goal setting as it may affect how they conduct business in the upcoming bid(s).
During these meetings, a representative from the Iowa DOT Civil Rights Bureau gives the recommended DBE goal, and any who attend can give feedback that may either substantiate or differ from the proposed goal. If a DBE company sees a viable project, they need to take the time to attend and provide thoughtful input.

Here’s why it matters: Participants need to understand that this is their chance to be a voice in the DBE goal-setting strategy. If capable companies do not respond, the opportunity to discuss the DBE goal may be lost. Regardless of the dialogue in the meeting, the Iowa DOT Civil Rights Bureau, which has insight into the requirements, makes the final determination on all the DBE goals. Overall, the goal-setting process is a great way for a DBE company to have foresight into upcoming projects and, in addition, creates an opportunity to build relationships with primes who show interest in the same bids.

Bottom line: If you want a “place at the table,” you’ve got to show up to give input.

For more information:
Compliance regulations can be found in 49 CFR Part 26.45. The details can be found in:
2021-2023 Iowa DOT Civil Rights Bureau DBE Methodology Document. 

Other information is listed on the Iowa DOT’s Civil Rights Bureau website: or contact the Civil Rights Bureau: Phone: 515-239-1304; Email dot.civilrights@dot.iowa.gov or

Mary Zimmerman, DBE Support Services Program Manager. Phone: 515-450-1278; Email: maryz@iastate.edu