Charlotte Business INClusion

 Project Team

​The project team for the 2016-17 City of Charlotte Disparity Study includes six firms that possess expertise directly relevant to conducting the study in a manner that meets the highest industry and legal standards. Two firms—Lain Consulting and Ken Weeden & Associates (KWA)—are MBE-certified businesses based in North Carolina.


BBC ResearchBBC Research & Consulting (BBC). BBC, which will serve as the prime consultant for the study, is a 46-year-old economic and diversity research firm based in Denver, Colorado. We have completed nearly 100 disparity studies for cities, states, transportation agencies, and other government entities all across the country. BBC is also considered a national expert in helping agencies develop and refine their implementations of small, minority-owned, and woman-owned business programs. We have provided expert testimony related to disparity studies and minority- and woman-owned business programs on several different occasions, most recently as part of the successful defense of the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans's) implementation of the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program—which was based in large part on a 2007 BBC disparity study. For more information about BBC, please visit our web​site.

Primary Contacts:

Sameer Bawa                                                   Iris Saint
BBC Director                                                     BBC Senior Associate
(t) 303-321-2547, ext. 247                               (t) 303-321-2547, ext. 245
(e)                         (e)


Lain ConsultingLain Consulting. Lain Consulting is a Black American woman-owned business and management consulting firm headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. The firm specializes in federal programs and grant management; project management; and business strategy development. The firm is currently working with the Small Business Center at Piedmont Community College and recently worked with the City of Charlotte to improve the grants management selection process for the Charlotte Area Transit System. Lain Consulting has helped its clients substantially increase revenue and sales and has been awarded numerous awards including the 2014 MBE of the Year Award by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Lain Consulting is DBE- and HUB-certified in North Carolina and is a registered CBI and MBE with the City of Charlotte.


KWAKWA. KWA is a Black American-owned consulting firm headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. KWA specializes in developing and implementing minority- and woman-owned business programs, small business programs, and other diversity programs. Since its founding in 1989, KWA has provided diversity program consulting and training services to more than 150 organizations in 35 states and three U.S. territories. KWA has helped its clients develop comprehensive minority- and woman-owned business programs including setting overall goals, refining administration of such programs, and improving certification processes. KWA has contributed to numerous disparity studies including studies for Durham City-Durham County, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the City of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. KWA has completed various public engagement efforts related to disparity studies—including public hearings, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and telephone surveys—to collect information related to local marketplace conditions for minorities, women, and minority- and woman-owned businesses. KWA in HUB certified as an MBE through the state of North Carolina.


ExstareExstare Federal Services Group (Exstare). Exstare is a Black American woman-owned management consulting firm that specializes in conducting disparity studies, designing policies, and providing high-level support services related to business diversity programs. Exstare's services include disparity studies; program plan preparation; certification reviews; annual participation reporting; outreach program assistance; developing and implementing contracting policies; and conducting regulatory and contract compliance audits. Exstare recently worked with BBC to conduct disparity studies for the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Turnpike, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the City of San Jose/Mineta San Jose International Airport. Exstare is currently working with BBC on disparity studies for five state agencies in Nevada. Exstare is DBE-certified in Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, California, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Tennessee.


Holland and KnightHolland & Knight. Holland & Knight is a multi‐national law firm and has participated in nearly 50 disparity studies with BBC. BBC employs Holland & Knight to develop the legal analysis and framework on disparity studies and to consult on legal issues. Holland & Knight also has extensive experience conducting in‐depth interviews; collecting and analyzing anecdotal evidence; and assessing potential DBE program measures. Holland & Knight recently worked with BBC on disparity studies for a consortium of three San Diego-area state agencies, 11 state agencies in Indiana, the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Turnpike. The firm is currently working with BBC on disparity studies for the California Department of Transportation and a consortium of five state agencies in Nevada.


Customer Research International Customer Research International (CRI). CRI is a Subcontinent Asian American‐owned telephone survey firm based in San Marcos, Texas. CRI has conducted tens of thousands of telephone surveys on more than 30 BBC disparity studies. The firm is accustomed to conducting telephone surveys all over the nation. Sanjay Vrudhula, CRI President, will lead the firm's efforts on the City's disparity study. Mr. Vrudhula has more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and data processing with particular expertise in the design and implementation of business and consumer databases. CRI recently worked with BBC on disparity studies for the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike. The firm is currently working with BBC on disparity studies for five state agencies in Nevada and a disparity study for the California Department of Transportation.