Diversity Programs

The Office of Diversity and Federal Compliance (DBELO) Business Supplier Diversity Programs is responsible for all aspects of VIA’s Business/Supplier Diversity Program (comprised of VIA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program and Small Business Enterprise Program). In addition, staff in this division do research and recommend possible grant opportunities that may generate new revenue sources for VIA available from local, state and federal government organizations.

division goals and performance measures

A key focus of this division is capacity building and outreach activities that help educate DBEs and small businesses. VIA’s DBE policy includes a small business element that complies with new requirements of the Federal Transit Administration 49 CFR 26.39. The Board of Trustees of the ATD/VIA has approved two policies:

  • VIA Business/Supplier Diversity Policy and

  • Small Business Participation Policy.

These policies ensure participation by small, minority, disadvantaged, women- and veteran-owned businesses in VIA’s procurement activities.

This division is also responsible for contract tracking and the implementation of contract monitoring software, B2Gnow. Grant submissions are also coordinated for development and submission. These are monitored and tracked to ensure that all dollars available for current and future VIA projects are requested and secured.

  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

    VIA Metropolitan Transit has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in accordance with regulations of the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). VIA receives federal financial assistance from the U.S. DOT, and as a condition of this assistance, VIA has signed an assurance that it will comply with 49 CFR Part 26. VIA’s DBE program is applicable to contracts funded with federal assistance. The DBE program is part of the Office of Diversity and Federal Compliance/DBELO Division. VIA has committed to:

    • Ensuring nondiscrimination in the award and administration of U.S. DOT-assisted contracts;

    • Creating a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for U.S. DOT-assisted contracts;

    • Ensuring that the DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;

    • Ensuring that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;

    • Helping remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in U.S. DOT-assisted contracts; and

    • Assisting the development of firms that can compete successfully in the market place outside the DBE program.

    It is VIA’s policy to never exclude any person from participation in, deny any person the benefits of, or otherwise discriminate against anyone in connection with the award and performance of any contract on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin.

    In administering its DBE program, VIA will not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria or methods of administration that have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of its federal DBE program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin.

    Purpose

    VIA’s DBE Program is designed to create a level playing field on which disadvantaged/minority/woman-and veteran-owned/small business enterprises can compete fairly in all facets of VIA’s contracting, professional services, and purchasing activities. VIA’s DBE program will not be used to discriminate against any company or group of companies. VIA’s DBE program does not utilize quotas for contracts or permit the use of set-asides. However, VIA accepts the premise that special efforts must be made to remove barriers to include small businesses in the local economic mainstream, thereby promoting economic competition within the free enterprise system. To this end, VIA is committed to providing small businesses fair opportunities to participate in VIA’s business supplier diversity programs as well as assisting the development of small businesses that can successfully compete outside of VIA’s program.

  • Small Business Enterprise Participation

    The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Participation program is designed to allow the participation of all small businesses regardless of ethnicity or gender. This program is used to set goals on contracts within the range of $25,000 to $1 million dollars, although exceptions to this dollar threshold can be made to enhance small business participation when it is in the best interest of VIA’s procurement guidelines and also enhances the value provided to VIA by the firm awarded a contract. Any firm that is certified as an SBE can participate.

  • Contact Diversity and Federal Compliance Staff

    Questions regarding these programs may be directed to VIA’s Business Supplier Diversity and Federal Compliance staff:

    Department Name Title Phone
    Office of Diversity and Federal Compliance Dianne T. Mendoza, Ph.D. Vice President, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liaison Officer (DBELO) (210) 362-2071
    Business Opportunities and Federal Compliance Eddie Cruz Administrator Business/Supplier Diversity Contract Compliance (Certification/Verification) (210) 362-2077
    Business Opportunities and Federal Compliance Ashley S. Ramirez Diversity Program Compliance System Administrator (Program Lead: B2Gnow vendor compliance) (210) 362-2074
    Business Opportunities and Federal Compliance Ana Rivas Diversity Program Specialist (210) 362-2070
    Grants and Federal Compliance Jesse Balleza Federal Grant Initiatives and Compliance Administrator (210) 362-2366
    Grants and Federal Compliance Richard Martinez Grant Management/Compliance Coordinator (210) 362-7395
    Additional Resource Staff: The Burrell Group LaSonya Allen Consultant (210) 362-2072