CIRAS Offers Bid Express Training

Mary Zimmerman, DBE Support Services Program Manager

An in-person training to better understand BidX and the DOT bidding systems will occur on Thursday, February 29th, in Ames. This software is an incredible tool to help vendors bid on DOT Contracts and Specifications projects and connect prime contractors to subcontractors. Lunch will be provided, and this event does require you to register in advance. We sat with Mary Zimmerman, our local CIRAS expert on DOT and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs, to learn why this event might benefit you and your business.

Q: Mary, why is CIRAS hosting this event on this particular bidding software?

A: We want to help those who directly engage with Bid Express software to increase their proficiency for more effective project management, bidding, and collaboration within the Iowa DOT roads and bridges construction industry. Given that this event is conducted in person, it offers two significant advantages: The opportunity to engage in direct conversations with Bid Express experts and network with fellow participants.

Q: It seems like the Bid Express platform has some unique features and can help small businesses looking to work with the DOT. Can you go over what some of those are?

A: There are so many features offered, but some highlights include:

  • Solicitations which can be sorted by work types
  • Messaging, including alerts to DBEs when solicitations for quotes are posted by Primes
  • Historical low, high, and average item prices to perform competitive analysis
  • Identification of opportunities using Workspace, proposal recommendations, and email digest
  • Knowledge Center for helpful resources

Q: Is this the only software that the DOT uses for letting bids? And what types of products/services does the DOT tend to buy from?

A: This bidding platform is utilized at Iowa DOT in Contracts and Specifications exclusive for the construction of road and bridge projects. It’s important to note that a separate bidding platform, ION Wave, is utilized in the Iowa DOT Purchasing Section. It’s worth emphasizing that the two bidding processes operate independently and do not intersect.

Q: Who do you think would benefit from attending this event?

A: Both new and experienced users could benefit from this event. New users can acquaint themselves with the features and functionalities of the software to initiate and enhance their effective utilization.

For existing users already familiar with Bid Express, delving into advanced features allows them to deepen their understanding and stay abreast of the latest enhancements and updates in the software.

Q: In-person events are fantastic ways to connect primes to subcontractors. Do you think this event could be a good networking opportunity as well for DOT projects?

A: The answer is a resounding “YES!!” Networking is ALWAYS encouraged as this creates a platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and business growth, benefiting both primes and subcontractors in the dynamic and competitive construction environment.

Register for Bid Express Training Here.

For more information, contact Mary Zimmerman at or 515-450-1278.