CH2M HILL’s Supplier Diversity and Small Business Program is nationally recognized as being rated “Outstanding” by the U.S. Small Business Administration. One of the firm’s projects in Baton Rouge, Louisiana received the 2013 Small and Diverse Subcontracting Administrator’s Award.

By: Joshua Joseph, CH2M HILL Senior Technologist and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Team Leader

The City of Baton Rouge and Parish Department of Public Works in Louisiana has undertaken a major Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) program after a consent decree was signed in 2002. The project, now nearly complete, addressed the existing sewer overflow and wastewater treatment challenges and laid the foundation for future growth in the area. The impact of the SSO program is extensive, and it touches the lives of residents, the everyday operations of businesses, and a wide association of stakeholders. CH2M HILL is serving as the City of Baton Rouge’s program manager on the SSO program—helping the City improve the quality of life for residents of the City and help the City and Parish comply with federal regulations.

As a lead participant on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Team, one of the goals of the program was to take an inclusive approach to managing subcontracts. Demonstrating CH2M HILL’s commitment to small, minority, and disadvantaged businesses, Baton Rouge’s SSO Program took a dual approach to recruiting a diverse team through a combination of tactical and strategic engagement in workshops and fairs spanning the entire State of Louisiana, as well as building relationships and working directly with the Mayor’s Office of Small Business and Development.

By establishing Mentor Protégé programs and a Small Business Program, CH2M HILL has developed a foundation for its business partners in Louisiana—and on similar programs throughout the country—to learn, operate, and grow into independent and more successful enterprises.

The DBE Team and Baton Rouge’s SSO Program were recently selected as the recipient of one of the firm’s Small and Diverse Subcontracting Administrator’s Award for 2013—an award that recognizes the program’s exemplary efforts to utilize small and diverse businesses. Members of the team include: Joshua Joseph, Sahaja Pitre, Elizabeth Gibert, George Clark, Michelle Jackson, and Latrice Hardy.

Working on a project with the City of Baton Rouge and a group of individuals who have been committed to providing opportunities to businesses across the diversity spectrum has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me on the SSO Program. It’s essential that the legacy of the DBE Team be greater than the contract end date.

Joshua Joseph is a senior technologist at CH2M HILL. He is located in the firm’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana office. He has served as the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Team leader for the past two years, helping the Baton Rouge SSO Program achieve a strong team of subcontractors.