SAWS Public Hearing on their SWMBE Study
I am Madeline Slay, President and 100% owner of Madeline Anz Slay Architecture.
I am an architect, the licensed professional in responsible charge of the firm.
But I am not here to talk about Women Owned Businesses.
I am here to talk about Small Business Enterprise. I am concerned that the study does put enough emphasis on Small Business. Many M/WBEs are a part of the SBE group.
I am not quite through reading the entire 538 page study, but there are a few items I think need clarification: do percentages shown for SBEs include the Small W/M businesses? If so, this could lead to confusion regarding the true utilization of SBEs.
It is possible that it could appear that SBEs are highly utilized, yet if you took the W/MBE stats out of the SBE stats, I believe you would see a different number. The Small Business Economy report submitted to the President last year by the SBA, clearly shows this.
I understand that the SCTRCA certification program is not yours by design. But it is this program you rely on to implement your SWMBE program. My big issue is with the SCTRCA certification as it pertains to architects and engineers. The SCTRCA allows non-licensed owners to declare that they have full responsibility for the operation of the firm. In Architecture and Engineering, that is simply impossible. The burden of liability that State laws put on licensed architects and engineers cannot be carried by someone who is not licensed. The successful operation of an architecture or engineering firm relies on a licensed professional ensuring the work product is successful we are talking about life safety, health, and welfare of the general public.
How then, can a non-licensed person (quoting the SCTRCA) possess the power to control the firm and be responsible for the operation of the firm. Yet we have very well established firms in this City, who some, after 10-20-30 years in business, are suddenly 51% owned by the non-licensed wife or daughter, and they are just instantly underutilized? I understand these women play a major role in the operations of the firm, but they cannot be responsible when it comes to licensed professional services, and these firms are certainly not underutilized. The SBE component must stay a vital part of the program to ensure that our Small Businesses who choose to not take this route to certification remain viable. You could be a W/M owned firm, grow to $400 million dollars, and still be considered underutilized. Really? What about the SBE?
If the SBE component does not stay prominent in the SWMBE program, you are allowing this nonsense to continue, and not only continue, but you are promoting it. Until such time as the SCTRCA gets this straightened out (and probably won't be in my lifetime), you should keep the SBE component as a major part of your SWMBE plan. The SBE, along with a new Local requirement would go a long way to support the home-grown small firms who have chosen to stay small throughout the years, to offer better personalized service to you, employ our local citizens, keep them employed through hard times, and are basically the backbone of the community. Local firms should be defined as firms who are headquartered here, not just an office opened up because our economy is better here.
Small business (including SMALL WMBEs), and Local Business THAT is what makes our community grow.
Madeline is president of Madeline Anz Slay Architecture, a full service architectural design and project management firm. She is currently serving as president of NAWBO-SA.
Posted by Madeline Slay on 2nd February, 2011 | Comments | Trackbacks
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