The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) was recently awarded a contract for $90.8 million to Kal Krishnan Consulting Services/Triunity Engineering & Management Joint Venture for program management support services.
The firms will supply skilled consultants who will serve as an extension of Metro staff, providing areas of expertise where needed to execute the projects and programs in Measure M, the sales tax measure approved by Los Angeles County voters last year. This type of support service is a cost-effective way for Metro to access qualified, subject matter experts to address specific needs of the agency.
“We see this contract as another step in furthering the implementation of Measure M,” said Metro Board Chair John Fasana. “It is also a victory for Metro, which will benefit from the quality and variety of the services offered by these two firms and their teams.”
In the past, contracts of this size have typically been awarded to large companies, often referred to as “traditional primes.” The KKCS/Triunity contract is an example of two small businesses working together to fulfill a larger contract through a joint venture. Through its new push for innovation, Metro has been actively encouraging businesses registered with its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to use traditional primes as sub-contractors to help mentor and fulfill large contracts. In this case, CH2M and Jacobs, two traditional prime firms, are subcontracting to the DBE JV.
“This move to allow DBE firms to prime projects and traditional primes to sub to them is a big step for us and a great success story of how small firms can elevate themselves to be primes on major contracts,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We also hope this contract will serve as a business model for other government agencies striving to create a stronger and more equitable marketplace.”
The KKCS/Triunity JV contract allows the consultant to scale support efforts up or down, depending on Metro’s transit, highway, regional rail and other capital improvement needs. The contract is for five years (approximately $63.3 million), plus a two-year option for $27.5 million. It covers services as varied as project management, project control and information support services.
Both KKCS and Triunity have worked with Metro in the past, as well as with other transit agencies across the United States.
Kal Krishnan Consulting Services Inc. (KKCS) has 87 employees, including those in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, New York and Boston. The family-run company was founded by Kal Krishnan. His son, Dev Krishnan, is the current CEO.
“My father started the firm in 1987,” Dev Krishnan said. “I have worked for the company for about 15 years and took over as president five years ago. Based on the firm’s many years of experience including in the transit industry, we are well positioned to lead our joint venture team on this important Metro procurement.”
“As an established DBE, this procurement represents an opportunity to continue to grow the firm. Our team includes other minority and women-owned firms, as well as CH2M who is a subcontractor and mentor to some of the smaller firms. We are proud to have this opportunity to continue working with Metro and help deliver projects that benefit the people of the county of Los Angeles.”
Triunity Engineering & Management Inc., also a family-run business, has offices in Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle. It was formed in 2003. Triunity’s 50-plus professionals specialize in program/project management, construction management and rail systems engineering.
Jonnie L. Thomas is co-founder and CEO of Triunity, along with his brother Marvin L. Thomas, who is president. Their parents were tenant farmers in Mississippi, before moving to Kansas and raising a family of seven children. The brothers, both U.S. Air Force veterans, attended Kansas State University and earned engineering degrees.
“Our dad had a ninth grade education and our mom a fifth grade,” Jonnie Thomas said. “But Dad really prized education. When we were growing up, he taught us about the benefits of hard work. And that’s what we prize.
“Our firm has a long history of solidly delivering on our contracts and this seemed like a natural fit. We are humbled and ecstatic about this opportunity and confident we can get the job done.”
Metro launched the DBE program in the early 1990s. The goal of the program is to provide business development and contracting opportunities for small, historically underutilized businesses on federally assisted projects. In 2016, Metro increased its overall DBE goal from 18 to 26 percent. The DBE program is overseen by Metro’s Diversity and Economic Opportunity Department, which also oversees Metro’s small business and corresponding certification programs.