Disparity Study

SANDAG is conducting a comprehensive Disparity Study, led by MGT Consulting Group (MGT). The overall purpose of the Disparity Study is to examine and identify whether discrimination or the effects of discrimination exist in the industries utilized by SANDAG on its projects within the relevant market area. The relevant market area is determined by examining geographic locations from which the majority of SANDAG purchases are procured. 

As part of that process, MGT will collect data regarding the availability of minority- and women-owned businesses, including DBEs, and the utilization of these firms as contractors and subcontractors in the SANDAG marketplace. In addition to analyses of quantitative data, the Disparity Study will also examine qualitative data regarding discriminatory barriers or behaviors (to the extent that they exist) provided by business owners, professional organizations, and other marketplace stakeholders.

SANDAG will use findings from the Disparity Study to establish a three-year (3-year) overall DBE goal that may include a race-neutral goal and a race–conscious goal, if applicable.

We encourage all business owners to provide information about their experiences, particularly concerning discrimination while doing business or attempting to do business with SANDAG and other public agencies or private entities in the SANDAG market area. We hope that all businesses, not just certified DBE firms, will participate.

Business Owner Engagement

There are several ways for SANDAG area businesses to provide their experiences:

  • Phase One: Business Information Session (In-Person or Virtual)
  • Phase Two: One-on-One Virtual Interview
  • Phase Three: Business Survey (Online or Phone)

Additionally, throughout the Disparity Study business owners may submit comments via email or the contact form. Input is directed to the MGT team only. Responses are shared anonymously in the aggregate and do not disclose any personal or business information.

To provide feedback and participate in one or more of these engagements, please register. Reasonable ADA accommodations or translation will be made available upon a 3-day advance notice to MGT.

Business Information Sessions

MGT will host two information sessions to introduce the study objectives and listen to businesses’ experiences of doing business or attempting to do business in the SANDAG marketplace. Businesses are encouraged to attend one of two meetings either in person or via Zoom on one of the following two dates:

Thursday March 14, 2024
12:30-2:30 p.m. (in-person, light refreshments provided)
Mission Hills/Hillcrest Library Community Room
215 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103


Wednesday March 20, 2024
9-11:30 a.m. (virtual)

One-on-One Virtual Interview

Businesses have more latitude for providing additional information on their experiences. You can request an interview at sandagdisparitystudy@mgtconsulting.com or you may be contacted by Redwood Resources, a subconsultant to MGT, if your business is in the random selection.

Business Survey

In winter 2024, businesses can complete an online or over-the-phone survey as part of the Disparity Study. A link and phone number will be listed once the survey is available. To receive information about the timing and to stay updated on engagement opportunities please email MGT or fill out the contact form.

Disparity Study Project Team

Jennifer Bianchi, DBE Senior Compliance Analyst
Diversity and Equity

Andres Bernal, J.D., Vice President / Project Executive
Vernetta Mitchell, Director 
Rocio Burboa, Project Manager 
Corlisha Mitchell, Project Manager 
Walter Benitez, Quantitative Research 
Haita Toure, Qualitative Research

Redwood Resources (DBE Certified) will conduct in-depth interviews with business owners and professional organizations.

Customer Research International (DBE Certified) will conduct the custom census survey for availability and the business owner survey for anecdotal data collection. 

Worksters, Inc. (DBE Certified) will provide assistance with post-study implementation support services, to include viable tools and resources, based on Study recommendations, that can assist in addressing identified disparities, if any.

Frequently Asked Questions

Disparity studies are used to determine whether there is disparity between the use of minority- and women-owned businesses and the availability of those firms in the SANDAG market area. Through the collection of qualitative or anecdotal data, a Disparity Study seeks to understand the effects of race, ethnicity, and gender on a business’s ability to do business in the SANDAG marketplace—both public and private sectors.

Business owners that do business, or want to do business, in the SANDAG marketplace are impacted by SANDAG policies, procedures, and guidelines. Participation in this Study allows business owners to provide first-person accounts of their experiences in the marketplace. Input from the business community may help SANDAG better understand whether discrimination poses barriers for businesses and, if so, how best to eliminate that discrimination and remedy its effects.

Quantitative data is numerical, measurable, and other quantifiable information that is analyzed using mathematical and statistical modeling. Among other things, the quantitative analyses in a Disparity Study will include a comparison of the availability and utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses in the SANDAG marketplace.

Qualitative data is information that business owners provide about their actual experiences on the effects of race and gender on their ability to do or attempt to do business with SANDAG, with prime contractors/vendors, and in the private sector. Qualitative data helps explain and lend credence to the statistical findings of the Disparity Study. It also helps identify whether discrimination prevents firms from participating in contracts.