Menu Home

DBE Program

Program Description

The DBE Program is a federal program that was established in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations 49 CFR Part 26. The Department’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is designed to remedy ongoing discrimination and the continuing effects of past discrimination in federally-assisted highway, transit, airport, and transportation contracting markets nationwide. The primary remedial goal and objective of the DBE program is to level the playing field by providing small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals a fair opportunity to compete for federally funded transportation contracts.

Pursuant to 49 CFR Sections 26.3 and 26.1, the Port of Seattle is the recipient of Federal airport funds authorized by 49 U.S.C. 47101, et seq. is required to implement a DBE program in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26. The DBE program outlined herein applies to all Port of Seattle contracts that are funded, in whole or in part, by USDOT. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) falls under the USDOT; thereby FAA funds are received and allocated for specific Port projects, which are typically at the SEA International Airport, unlike WMBE projects which are not funded by federal funds and are located at the Airport, maritime locations, and corporate locations. DBE program guidelines and procedures aid in ensuring DBEs have equal opportunity to compete for contracts, subcontracts, and agreements in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts.

For the Federal Fiscal Year 2022, DBE firms were paid over $3.4M (11.8% of DBE projects spend) for work performed on FAA-funded Port projects. For 2022/2023, the focus of the DBE Program will be the following:

  1. Increase DBE Participation on FAA funded Port projects
  2. Conduct informational sessions for upcoming DBE projects
  3. Collaborate with state and local transportation agencies to increase technical assistance training for DBEs

Get DBE CertifiedDecorative

To be eligible for DBE projects, firms must receive federal DBE certification. The Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) certifies small businesses owned and controlled by minority, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged persons. OMWBE certifies business in order to increase contracting opportunities for certified businesses with state and local governments. Learn more about certification and how to apply.

Access OMWBE FAQs and Fact Sheets. Questions include "What if I am certified as a DBE in another state?" The answer: you will just need to complete the application for Interstate DBE Status.

Program In Action

It is our objective/policy to:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award of DOT-assisted contracts
  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts
  • Ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
  • Ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
  • Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT assisted contracts;
  • Promote the use of DBEs in all types of federally-assisted contracts and procurement activities;
  • Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE Program
  • Make appropriate use of the flexibility afforded to recipients of Federal financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs
  • Identify business enterprises that are qualified as DBEs and are qualified to provide the Port of Seattle the required materials, equipment, supplies and services; and to develop a good rapport with the owners and management of those business enterprises.
  • Develop communication programs and procedures that will acquaint prospective DBEs with Port of Seattle contract procedures, activities and requirements that allows DBEs to provide Port of Seattle feedback regarding existing barriers to participation and effective procedures to eliminate barriers.
  • Administer the DBE program in close coordination with the various Port of Seattle departments to facilitate the successful implementation of the program.
  • Foster participation by small businesses by implementing the strategies set forth in this DBE program
  • Promote the use of all types of DBEs

We accomplish this by:

  1. Develop and ensure compliance with the management and implementation of the DBE program.
  2. Gather and report statistical data and other information as required by DOT
  3. Ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of US DOT assisted contracts; identify contracts and procurements to ensure that DBE goals are included in solicitations and identify progress improvements.
  4. Work with all departments to set overall three-year goal.
  5. Advise staff and contractors/consultants on DBE matters, overall goal achievement and good faith effort requirements.
  6. Partner with the Port of Seattle Legal Counsel, Central Procurement Office, and Project Managers to determine Contractor Compliance.
  7. Plan and participate in DBE training seminars.
  8. Provide DBEs with information and assistance in preparing bids, obtaining bonding and insurance.
  9. Explain the DBE participation requirements at Pre-Bid Conferences.
  10. Ensure that solicitations contain the clauses and goals required by DBE program.
  11. Review third party contracts and purchase requisitions for compliance with this program.
  12. Identify contracts and procurements so that DBE goals are included in solicitations (both race-neutral methods and contract specific goals) and monitors results.
  13. Analyze the Port of Seattle’s progress toward attainment and identify ways to improve progress.
  14. Chair the DBE Advisory Committee.
  15. Determine contractor compliance with good faith efforts.
  16. Act as liaison to the State of Washington’s Uniform Certification Process.
  17. Provide outreach to DBEs and community organizations to advise them of opportunities.
  18. Ensure the maintenance of the Port’s bidders’ list information with regard to Prime and Subcontractor requests.
  19. Support the dissemination of information on available business opportunities through various mediums to provide DBEs an equal opportunity to compete for FAA assisted contracts.
  20. Ensure that bid notices and requests for proposals are available to DBEs in a timely manner.
  21. Participate in pre-bid meetings.
  22. Advise the CEO/governing body on DBE matters and achievement.

DBE Program Team

Mian Rice
DBE Liaison Officer

Lisa Phair
DBE Program Manager

Lisa headshot

Evan Nnambi
DBE Program Contract Compliance Specialist
(206) 890-2346

Evan headshot

Additional Resources and Documents

DBE Program Documents

Other Resources

What Is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?

A DBE is a business owned by an individual who is socially and economically disadvantaged with at least a 51% interest in a business in which they have control of management and the daily business operations. The individual/majority owner must have a personal net worth less than $1.32 million and be of the following ethnicities: African American, Hispanic, Native American, AsianPacific Islander, or Subcontinent Asian American. Women (overall) are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

It is the policy of the Port of Seattle to ensure that DBEs, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, have an equal opportunity to compete for contracts, subcontracts, and agreements in the award, participation, and administration of USDOT–assisted contracts.

How do I become certified as a DBE?

Firms seeking to be federally certified as a DBE should contact the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Information on the eligibility criteria, instructions, and certification materials can be found online or provided by phone at (866) 208-1064.

Are Primes required to utilize DBEs, or can WMBEs or SBEs be used on projects?

Yes, Prime contractors are required to utilize DBE firms on federally funded projects. They may also use WMBE or SBE firms; however, the participation of those firms will not count toward the DBE required goal utilization. 

Do DBEs have to reapply for certification?

No. However, DBE firms are required to update changes to their firm’s information per their certification agency’s requirements. 

How is the DBE goal calculated?

The DBE goal is calculated utilizing the most current disparity study, the number of certified firms with the NAICS code, Scope of Work, and Project Estimate.

What if I am looking to operate an airport concession?

The Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program requires a similar certification and more information can be found by visiting the OMWBE website. The Airport Dining and Retail Department manages this program for the Port. Visit the Airport Dining and Retail site for more information and browse through their ACDBE Goals and Methodology presentation for an overview of the program's fundamentals. 

Where can I find other opportunities?

Harris County, TX Bid Opportunities


& more to be added....

Back to Top