Volume 10 | October 2022


The Office of Diversity in Business Practices

Our Mission:

It is the policy of The Office of Diversity in Business Practices (ODPB) to provide all persons an equal and fair opportunity to participate in procurement and contracting opportunities sponsored by the District.

Our ultimate goal is to support sustainable growth and economic opportunities for small, women-owned, and minority businesses. School Board Policy 6.143

Celebrating Black and Hispanic Entrepreneurship

In light of the recent Hispanic Heritage Month and Black Business Month celebrations hosted by our office, it seems a fitting moment to consider the journey of these entrepreneurs. Such historically marginalized groups have started to overcome significant barriers in order to thrive today, and are now growing due to a surge in public and private commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. While enjoying the benefits of this new spotlight, it is important to consider the history of these groups when focusing on our mission.

As the new Interim Director of the Office of Diversity in Business Practices at the School District of Palm Beach County, I encourage you to consider the historic data points that follow while reflecting on how you can contribute to the emergence of a vibrant, diverse, and equity-embedded community here in Palm Beach. I challenge each one of you to take part in the tremendous opportunities and resources available today to small, women, and minority-owned businesses.

Read More.

The heart of the School District's strategic vision this year is operational excellence. It's a fitting theme for our Department of Diversity as we seek to engage, expand, and empower new vendors in our community and strengthen the impact we have throughout the District. With this in mind, we are taking a moment to reflect on how far we've come while never forgetting there's a long way to go. In this spirit, here is our most recent contracting data. 

View the complete Data Set By Gender and Ethnicity.

In addition to the proven benefits of diversity such as increased creativity, flexibility, and receptivity to innovation, there are more concrete reasons we want to empower our community through economic opportunity. Our Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Joseph Sanches, summed it up well when he linked supplier diversity with strong business owners who are largely parents in our community, and who have children in our schools. The trickle down effect of having economically-empowered, diverse vendors has a direct connection and profound impact on the academic achievement and wellness of the students in our classrooms. Diversity in business practices really does empower our children. 

We want to celebrate your success.

When you certify your business with the Office of Diversity in the School District of Palm Beach County, our prime vendors are able to include you in their count for Small Business Enterprise participation, a critical metric to track and measure the impact they have on business development in our community. This is why we encourage everyone who would like to bid on these projects to have your certification ready. Not only does it help for measuring impacts, certified vendors also experience some benefits including individualized support in big preparation and increased access to opportunities in the District's procurement process.

Be sure to join us for upcoming trainings on how to certify your business with our department or read the information about certification on the attached PDF document below. You may also reach out to Nicolas Tarrago at nicolas.a.tarrago@palmbeachschools.org with any questions. 

Read the full testimonial

Vendor in the Spotlight

Congratulations to Danise Steiner, owner of Florida Metro Construction Co., Inc. and her team

on their recent success as a Bid-Awarded Vendor on Contract 23C-001V Petroleum, Tanks, and

Environmental Services.

Florida Metro Construction Co., Inc., established in 1991, is a petroleum service and construction

company, primarily serving as a specialty mechanical contractor. 

Their focus is on installation, repairs, maintenance, and compliance of non-retail petroleum tanks and associated equipment. FMCC is proud to work on complex fuel systems that are integral to life-safety, first-responder, water supply, and flood control operations. A specialized knowledge and skill set differentiates Metro Construction within the petroleum industry.

Danise Steiner came to work with Florida Metro Construction in 1995 as an accountant and Service Manager. With a background in accounting and finance, she quickly became an essential part of the Florida Metro management team. Her interest and knowledge of the petroleum industry grew as she pursued industry related certifications, and later obtained state certified licenses in four construction-related disciplines. Read More.

Visit their website

Upcoming Goods & Services Solicitations
Goods and Services Commodities Lookup

There are currently 50 ongoing facility renewal projects (design & renewal), 37 substantially completed projects, and 20 facilities renewal projects recently started.

In the coming 6 months, 38 new projects will be awarded for Architecture and 10 new projects will be awarded for Construction Management. These 48 projects range from an average of $5 million with an estimated total of $280 million.


Multiple trades needed in these projects: 

• Plumbing

• Toilet Accessories

• Water Intrusion

• Electrical

• Mechanical

• Stucco


• Masonry & concrete

• Doors, Windows, wall and ceiling

• Finishes & Painting

• Site Work & Demolition

• Site Cleaning

• Roofing

• Flooring

Upcoming Construction Solicitations
Construction Awarded Contracts

Seeking Opportunity with the School District of Palm Beach County?

The first step to take is to register your business with PeriscopeS2G, so you can get email alerts, locate opportunities specific to your business, and submit your proposals to our purchasing department. Be sure to take this vital step and let our specialist in Goods and Services walk you through the registration process step by step. Don't let opportunity pass you by!

Register Here

Do you know how to submit a bid online in Periscope S2G?

Are you looking to gain a contract with the School District of Palm Beach County? If you are a small business owner who answered yes to either of those questions, this is the training you need! Meet with Goods and Services Specialist, Yolanda Fields, and get your questions answered in this zoom training. Register today and be on your way to submitting effective bid proposals to the district. 

Register Here

To support supplier diversity, we hosted nine special events and training sessions this quarter, serving over seven hundred SBE guests. Each event helped to support growth,  knowledge and business networking to promote economic development. But don't take our word for it, see what the attendees said about us. 

Black Business Month Celebration: Inspiring and supporting new SBEs

Hosted in partnership with the Black Chamber of Commerce Palm Beach County, this event was a wonderful lunch and learn experience where emerging construction companies were able to get their questions answered by established, black-owned prime construction company owners including Messam Construction, Hatcher Construction, All Site Construction and D. Stephenson Construction. Solid business advice was the order of the day and many of our SBEs benefitted from the wisdom gained through this event.

Check out this retrospective featuring Hatcher Construction.

Hispanic Heritage Month was a great chance for our SBEs to learn the ins and outs of government contracting with expert and keynote speaker, Dr. Rafael Marrero. His insights proved invaluable to many participants. Equally valuable were our workshop hosts; Professor Hernandez of Palm Beach State College spoke on the global supply chain, Jennifer Alvarez, procurement director at Palm Beach State College, taught the foundations of supply chain logistics, and Alvarez spoke about navigating the broken supply chain we face today. Dr. Luis Noguerol facilitated a workshop about cyber security where he shared valuable insights on protecting your business against cyber threats, and CEO Paula Humber shared insights into HR today. It was an inspirational and educational event for all involved.

But don't take our word for it, here are some comments we received after the event: 

Portia-Marie Enriquez, HR and Talent Acquisition Services & Consulting said:


"Keynote speaker Dr. Rafael Marrero really pumped everyone up with his energy and passion. In my breakout session hosted by Paula Humber, I truly enjoyed speaking and working with the folks there. ... I can't wait to be more engaged with the district and connect with more companies in the Palm Beach area."

Colleen Dolezal of Campany Roof Maintenance said: 


"Special thanks to everyone who helped put together the #hispanicheritagemonth event yesterday Office of Diversity in Business Practices, School District of Palm Beach County! ... Thank you to all the speakers who added value to all of us there to learn and grow."

Please see the video below to watch the highlights of this event.

Around 100 guests joined us as we hosted the first ever in-person Goods and Services Summit, aimed at linking suppliers with purchasers. It was a real milestone to directly connect the School District of Palm Beach County's Purchasing team with the goods and services vendors and offer one-on-one support. Armed with new personalized information about how to prepare their businesses to work with the School District of Palm Beach County, our participants left feeling empowered. In addition, our panel of guests from major corporations and local government agencies offered special insights into upcoming bid opportunities, inspiring our small business owners to get out there and connect with opportunity.

But don't take our word for it, here are some comments we received after the event: 

Robling Architecture Construction Construction, one of our sponsors, said:

"We are very grateful for the opportunity to sponsor the breakfast and meet all the vendors that attended."

UDT, a partner vendor and panelist, said: 


"Educate. Affirm. Inspire. #UDTCorp at the Goods and Services Summit with the Office of Diversity in Business Practices, School District of Palm Beach County (ODBP) where employees, vendors/suppliers and external partners, are educating small minority companies on best practices when procuring business."

Back to School Supply Drive-Giving back to our students. 

Thank you to the vendors who took a moment from their busy day to drop off school supplies to support the students of Palm Beach County Schools as they prepared to return to the classroom after a relaxing summer break. Back to School is a really important time for families and our community. It can be a time filled with hope and aspirations as we kick off a new classroom year, but for those who don't have the resources to head back into the classroom, your donations really help and can make a huge difference for our students. Thank you to Molly Brown, Paula Riveros, and State Contracting and Engineering Corporation for participating in this event. Special Thanks to Jorge Gutierrez who generously donated many backpacks packed full of school supplies! 

Proctor Construction Meet The Prime

Outreach Event

Proctor Construction representatives shared important information with our vendor community to let us know what they would need on the Logger Run Middle School Project. Supporting you through the bidding process is a critical part of how we work with you, so we always want to hear how the bidding process was and how you participated with the project.

Share your success stories with us!

Email either Maricel.deleon@palmbeachschools.org or susan.thomas@palmbeachschools.org to let us know your story on the Loggerhead Middle School Project. 

Contact Proctor Rep Mike Rankin with prequalification or bid questions at mrankin@proctorcc.com.

Weitz Meet The Prime Outreach Event 

Weitz Construction will be the prime contractor on the Pine Grove Elementary School Modernization project, but they need your help to take on this massive project. There are many trades needed and we encourage you to reach out to their project team and see where your trades may fit into their needs. As always, we want to hear from you and we want you to get certified with our department, so you can be counted in the diversity story in Palm Beach County. To see a larger version of the flyer with a list of trades needed, click the picture.

Contact Weitz Rep Robin Wensyel with prequalification or bid questions at robin.wensyel@weitz.com.

Hedrick Brothers Construction Meet The Prime Outreach Event

Hedrick Brothers joined our office virtually on October 19th to share the scope of work for the Wynnebrook Elementary School Modernization Project. Our vendors learned about the opportunities with that project as well as other projects with Hedrick Brothers. With so many chances to contract with our primes and make connections in our community, now is the time to level up your business and submit those bids. The team at Hedrick Brothers is very supportive of SBE participation in their projects and has set a monumental goal to increase participation in the future. Help them achieve this milestone!

Contact Hedrick Brothers Rep Wanda Stan with prequalification or bid Questions at wstan@hedrickbrothers.com.

Office of Diversity Certification Training:

Be certified and enjoy the benefits!

When you certify with our office, you will gain access to the one-on-one support when you submit a bid for goods and services on Periscope S2G, and you'll be able to increase access to opportunities in the district's procurement process. On September 21st we hosted a training event designed to help emerging SBEs be registered with the Office of Diversity, your first step to doing business with the District. If you missed this one, be sure to catch it next time. Keep an eye on your inbox and follow us on social media to be the first to know about upcoming training events.

For more information, please contact Nicolas Tarrago at nicolas.a.tarrago@palmbeachschools.org. 

Office of Diversity Responding to Bids Training in Periscope S2G

On August 10, 2022, the Office of Diversity hosted a training event designed to support newly certified businesses respond to bids in Periscope S2G. This online platform is an essential tool for any business looking to secure contracts with the District. This is the place to research upcoming solicitations and submit your proposals before the deadline. Because it's such a critical tool, we host several trainings year quarter to help you learn the ins and outs of navigating this site.

If you missed this training, we will offer it again on December 8. Look for more information in your email coming soon. 

For more information, please contact Yolanda Fields at yolanda.fields@palmbeachschools.org. 

Susan joins the Office of Diversity in Business Practices as a Specialist in Marketing, Training, and Outreach. After an international career in education working for equity and inclusion in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, China, and Kenya, Susan's background includes school reform, curricula writing, scholarship founding, and even starting new schools. Additionally, she brings corporate marketing and events management experience from the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University. 

She is excited to help the Office of Diversity continue to grow and expand economic opportunities for local businesses for the ultimate benefit of our families and students. In her free time, she is a textile artist, fitness enthusiast, and the mother of a beautiful nine year old daughter. 

Dicky Sykes was a community leader, advocate, and passionate spark of change. We were stunned and shocked to learn of her sudden passing.

It was her life's work to build a strong community based on equity, inclusion, and diversity. She fulfilled that mission every day, lifting up countless families and individuals along the way. 

We are honored to have experienced her unstoppable charisma, dynamic personality, and caring leadership. 

On September 15th, we hosted an informal opportunity to share stories, memories, and recognize her outstanding achievements.