LA’s LGBTQ+ Certification for Businesses

Photo: Courtesy City of Los Angeles. From Left to Right: Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, Commissioner Jessica Caloza, Vice President Cecilia Cabello, Les Amer from StreetsLA, Gaye Chapman from Bureau of Contract Administration, Doug Walters from LA Sanitation and Environment, Commissioner Aura Garcia, and President Kevin James.

Queer business owners rejoice! 

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The City of Los Angeles has announced the addition of LGBTQ certification to the Los Angeles Business Assistance Virtual Network (BAVN). BAVN is a free online portal provided by the City of Los Angeles and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development that connects businesses with City contracting opportunities, according to a press release. The new qualifications will allow for statistical tracking of certifications to ensure that contracts reflect the diversity of the City.

“I applaud the City’s efforts to expand opportunities in public procurement for our local business community. LGBTQ certification is another step towards further leveling the playing field for small and diverse businesses,” Kevin James, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works President said in a press release. “BAVN is a free and accessible resource that allows us to provide these businesses with the proper tools to succeed and thrive in Los Angeles.”

BAVN currently offers certification for disadvantaged business owners; disabled veterans; minority-owned businesses; women-owned businesses; small, emerging, and local businesses; and more. This allows small and diverse businesses the opportunity to compete with large corporations for contracts, according to a press release. The new LGBTQ certification program went into effect in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019-20, which began on July 1.

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is in charge of verifying that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBTQ individuals. Once this process is complete, businesses can sign up through BAVN to be notified when contracts are available for bidding and receive guidance through the bidding process. The Bureau of Contract Administration, led by Inspector of Public Works John L. Reamer, Jr., verifies documentation and oversees contracts for the City of Los Angeles.

The announcement for more BAVN inclusivity came during the annual celebration of LGBTQ Heritage Month.  Additionally, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works recognized a few of the outstanding men and women from the Department of Public Works as part of the month’s festivities.

“Los Angeles has been at the forefront of championing equality since 1967 when Silver Lake’s Black Cat became the site of one of the first LGBTQ demonstrations,” Los Angeles Board of Public Works Vice President Cecilia Cabello said in a press release. “While tremendous strides have been made since then, the fight for equal opportunity continues. I’m honored to recognize a few of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who dedicate their lives to enhancing the quality of life for Angelenos and advocating for inclusiveness in the workplace and beyond.”

The LGBTQ Heritage Month honorees were recognized for their professional accomplishments and contributions to raising awareness of human and civil rights in and out of the workplace. The honorees are as followed:

Gaye Chapman, Senior Electrical Inspector, Bureau of Contract Administration: serves as lead project inspector for the L.A. Wastewater Integrated Network Systems (LAWINS) project involving multiple wastewater facilities. She also provides training and guidance to other Bureau of Contract Administration inspectors.

Doug Walters, Chief Sustainability Officer & Chief Resiliency Officer, LA Sanitation and Environment: a proven leader in sustainability and environmental issues who formerly served as Co-Chair of the City’s Gay & Lesbian United Employees organization where he spent 4 years advocating for inclusionary policies for LGBTQ employees within City Departments.

Les Amer, Accounting Clerk, StreetsLA: supports the street pavement preservation program and sidewalk construction program. His work ensures the delivery of materials essential to paving more than 2,200 lane miles and constructing 500,000 square feet of sidewalks annually.