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Black History Month sees record DIA contract go to black woman

DENVER — Denise Burgess, President of Burgess Services, has been awarded the largest contract ever given to a black-owned business.

The $39 million dollar contract for HVAC, heating and air conditioning, at DIA will help Burgess, whose father began the firm 40 years ago, give sub contracts to other woman and minority owned businesses.

“We always say preparation is best way to be ready for success that might come your way,” said Burgess. “While this is a big contract, we have had other contracts worth about the same in cities such as Miami and Atlanta, so we were ready for this one in our home town. This says a lot about the way people like to do business in Denver.”

“We are hopeful the City Council will pass two measures designed to beef up our Minority and Women Business Enterprise program, which has survived a federal legal challenge filed by a white owned company in the 1990s,” said Chris Martinez, director of the city’s Small Business unit.  “We want to make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie when it comes to working for/with the city.”

Between 2005 and 2011 total contracts amounted to $2.3 billion, of that 14 percent of construction projects and 28 percent of construction related professional services went to M/WBE contractors.

The current goals for both were set at 22 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The new ordinances would up the figures to 24 percent and 33 percent, as Martinez put it percentages which would help more businesses owned by women and people of color.

Burgess will continue to ‘pay-it-forward’ by contracting with firms owned by women and people of color. She says her father would be proud of the success she is having, especially since the Denver contract came during Black History Month.