If you’re as big of a fan of NBC’s hit show The Voice as I am, then you know all about Miley Cyrus’ first-ever, all-female team; the bromance between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton; and how Jennifer Hudson recently won on “The Voice UK” edition with her artist Mo Adeniran. Although I can’t carry a tune to save my life, I appreciate great vocalists and the skills they have.
However, when you watch The Voice, you’ll notice that some of the contestants gravitate toward a certain singer as their coach. Country artist Blake Shelton is particularly effective at wooing country singers to his team—especially those who currently live in Nashville or who have roots in Nashville. Why is this? Because they have the common bond of living in the same town, eating at the same restaurants, sharing the same cultural experiences and probably even knowing some of the same people.
Like Blake, Colorado Springs Utilities does our best to woo local contractors to keep business local. To ensure that local businesses are given consideration, the Utilities Board established a yearly local spend goal of 30 percent. This is a goal that our Procurement and Contract Services (PCS) team works hard to achieve.
The procurement code prohibits favoritism and requires that decisions are made based on the best value for the organization and our ratepayers without consideration of whether a contractor is local or a small business (including women and minority owned). We put all contracts up for bid and award them to the most-qualified, best-value bidder—wherever the business might be located.
Many of the specialized products and expertise needed for an energy and water utility are not always available locally. Still, within the last 12 months, we’ve invested $87 million in the local economy and we’re within 3 percent of meeting the Utilities Board’s 30 percent goal. Last year, our local spend came in at 35 percent, while we invested more than $118 million into the local economy.
Most recently, on Oct. 18, we hosted a workshop at the Antlers Hotel for about 150 local contractors. The goal of the workshop was to help local businesses win Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and better learn how to do business with us. General Managers in both our Water Services Division and Energy Division presented upcoming projects for 2018-2019 that contractors can bid on and we hosted external speakers as well, who shared tips and advice for winning a contract.
Though Colorado Springs can’t claim the “Music City” title, or being the home to Trace Adkins, Alan Jackson or Taylor Swift, we can boast about a lot of other things: a low unemployment rate, a low cost of living, and having some of the most competitive utility rates in the nation.
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