The Department of General Services (DGS) today announced the winners of the 17th annual State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) ceremony held this week in Citrus Heights.

DGS recognized state departments and state employees for their outstanding work contracting with California small businesses  and disabled veteran business enterprises (DVBEs). For a second year, DGS awarded the Richard G. Polanco Diversity Award to the department that demonstrated an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in their outreach efforts.

SARA honors state departments and employees for their best practices, creativity, and outstanding achievements to advance California’s small business and DVBE programs.

State agencies work to meet an annual goal of 25 percent of purchasing and contracting with small businesses. Additionally, California’s Veterans and Military Code’s goal is to purchase at least 3 percent from DVBEs.

Top award recipients at the ceremony included the following:

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Governor’s Award – Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), presented by Jesse Torres, Small Business Advocate, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to MacKenzie Pimley.

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Government Operations Agency Secretary’s Special Achievement Award – Wayne Gross, Department of General Services, presented by Marybel Batjer, Secretary, Government Operations Agency.

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Small Business Advocate Innovation Award – Michael Aguillio (above right), Department of General Services, presented by Jeff McGuire, Chief Deputy Director, Department of General Services.

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Richard G. Polanco Diversity Outreach Award – California High-Speed Rail Authority presented by former State Senator Richard G. Polanco to Alice Rodriguez, Small Business Advocate.

Advocate of the Year

  • Gold – Nina Martinez, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
  • Silver – McKensie Pimley, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
  • Bronze – Keala Barkhurst, CDCR – Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran.

State Agency Recognition Award

  • Gold – California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).
  • Silver – California Department of Public Health.
  • Bronze – Caltrans, Training and Outreach Branch, Office of Business and Economic Opportunity.

Most Improved for DVBE Contracting

  • Extra Small Agency – California Educational Facilities Authority (State Treasurer’s Office).
  • Small Agency – Board of State and Community Corrections.
  • Medium Agency – California Department of Education.
  • Large Agency – California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  • Extra Large Agency – California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Most Improved for Small Business Contracting

  • Extra Small Agency – California School Finance Authority (State Treasurer’s Office).
  • Small Agency – Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
  • Medium Agency – Transportation Agency (Office of Traffic Safety).
  • Large Agency – First 5 California.
  • Extra Large Agency – California Department of Public Health.

Notable Achievement

  • 40 departments exceeded both small business and DVBE goals.

John K. Lopez Awards presented by California Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Individual Excellence – Cole Woodman, owner of Global Engineering Services in San Diego, California.
  • Business Excellence – David Poorman, a combat-disabled veteran of the Gulf War and owner of IECLT, Inc. in Lancaster, California.

Written by California Department of General Services

The Department of General Services (DGS) serves as business manager for the state of California. General Services helps to better serve the public by providing a variety of services to state agencies through procurement and acquisition solutions, real estate management and design, environmentally friendly transportation, professional printing, design and web services, and funding for the creation and construction of safe schools. The DGS vision: Excellence in the Business of Government!

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