Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Disparity Study?
This Study will cover Port Houston spending between fiscal year (FY) 2015 and FY 2018 (January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2018) and will look at the following contracting areas:
– Construction Services
– Engineering/Architectural Services
– Goods and Non-Professional Services
If the actual utilization of firms is less than what would be expected based on firms that are ready, willing, and able to perform on Port Houston contracts (“Availability”), then a “disparity” exists. The Study will also use other econometric analyses to determine whether the disparity is statistically significant enough to suggest whether any action should be taken or whether factors other than race or gender are likely to have caused the disparity.
What is the Study Process?
A disparity study process is broken out into several major parts, including statistical and econometric analysis, legal and purchasing practices analysis, private sector analysis, anecdotal evidence analysis, and findings and recommendations. GSPC is currently collecting data from Port Houston necessary for determining utilization of firms in the marketplace. Principal Researcher, Dr. Vince Eagan, will conduct policy review and interviews to understand the internal procurement processes and procedures and Chief Statistician, Dr. Rom Haghighi, will analyze the data to determine Port Houston’s availability and utilization of SMWDBE firms. Senior Economist, Dr. Gregory N. Price, will then work with available data to determine, through econometric analyses and an analysis of the private sector, whether identified disparities can be attributed to the race and/or gender status of firm owners.
Anecdotal evidence is also crucial to any recommendations we may make to Port Houston. Our anecdotal evidence includes the following:
• Survey of business owners across all work categories
• Port Houston vendors and firms across the Houston marketplace will be contacted inviting them to complete the survey
• In-depth anecdotal interviews with businesses in the area, selected randomly from a list of available vendors
• Focus groups of randomly selected business owners to share their experiences in doing business in the marketplace
• Email comments, informational meetings and public hearings which will all be open to the public
Check the website ‘Events’ tab for times and locations of scheduled events.
Other relevant study processes include an analysis of the legal environment, both locally and federally, and a purchasing practices analysis to better understand the procurement process. The study team will conduct interviews with procurement staff regarding their procurement process and the current procurement policies to review whether any barriers to participation exist in the procurement process.
Finally, GSPC will compile a final report taking into account all of the findings from the research above and will provide recommendations regarding their availability, utilization, program, and procurement processes.
Who is Griffin & Strong P.C.?
Why should I participate?
It is GSPC’s goal to have gathered the most representative anecdotal evidence as possible from all firms currently in business or desiring to do business with Port Houston. We desire to understand both the practical challenges and barriers, as well as the positive experiences faced by businesses within the marketplace. Your participation would provide further insight into the Port Houston’s practices and may shed new light on an area for improvement or substantiate those recounted by others. It is only with your assistance that we will be able to provide Port Houston with substantive recommendations that can make a real impact on their policies, and your experiences, moving forward.
How do I participate?
- GSPC will be conducting informational meetings and public hearings that are open to the public as well as several focus groups across the region. We invite all, including business owners and activists, to attend and share their experiences. We will also be posting information about the disparity study and all related events on this website and on our Twitter page, @GriffinStrong. Feel free to share your experiences with us by emailing us at
- . You can also do the following:
- State your experience as public record
- Attend an informational meeting, open public hearings and/or focus groups across the region. We invite all, including non-business owners, that are interested, to attend and share their experiences.
- Tell us your story at your convenience
- For those who may be generally uncomfortable providing their input in public arenas or who are unable to participate in any other way but, would like to share their experiences doing business with Port Houston, GSPC welcomes comments and questions regarding the study via email.
- When can we read the study?
- The projected completion date for the entire study is Winter 2020. Publication of the study results will be determined by Port Houston and not by Griffin & Strong, P.C.