To help ensure that certain businesses — those owned by women and minorities, to be specific — get a fair shake in applying for contracts, certain federal and state rules are in place.

Custom Concrete Contracting is one such business. We are certified with the federal government as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and with the Washington state government as a Minority Business Enterprise.

What does that mean? Let’s start with the certification at the federal level.

DBEs and UDBEs

Two Custom Concrete employees pour red-tinted concrete into a form for a new traffic roundabout.

To receive money from the federal government to help finance their projects, state and local transportation entities — such as the Washington State Department of Transportation, for example, or the City of Bellingham — must meet certain requirements regarding Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

The goal is to level the playing field, so to speak, to ensure that those businesses that are at a disadvantage have a fair chance to receive contracts. Recipients of funds from the USDOT must set goals for participation of DBEs, and they must monitor how well those goals are being achieved.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business owned and managed by a “socially and economically disadvantaged” person.

For the purposes of its definition, the USDOT considers African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

In essence, Custom Concrete Contracting’s DBE designation means that we’re eligible to participate in any transportation projects that are funded at least in part by the USDOT.

Custom Concrete Contracting team members finish the concrete flatwork at the new Community Food Co-Op in Bellingham.

Some states apply the federal rules in slightly different ways than others. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has a special program through which a business — including Custom Concrete Contracting — can be classified as an Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE). A UDBE, essentially, can be any DBE certified in Washington state except for those owned by non-minority women. You can learn more about the WSDOT’s DBE waiver program here.

This UDBE designation is used on all WSDOT projects that receive funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and to all local projects — such as those implemented by cities such as Bellingham or counties such as Whatcom — that receive FHWA funds through WSDOT. Not every state entity receiving federal funds use the UDBE designation; for example, the Port of Seattle just uses the standard DBE program.


In addition to its federal DBE certification and UDBE certification in Washington, Custom Concrete Contracting also is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) through Washington state. MBE certification helps certain state government entities and private businesses meet their goals for inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses in Washington.

Because of its certifications, Custom Concrete is listed in an online directory of such firms in Washington state. To see Custom Concrete Contracting’s listing, search here. And if you’re a contractor looking to hire a UDBE, DBE or MBE concrete subcontractor for your next road project, reach out to Custom Concrete, 24/7.

Our Northwest Washington concrete contracting company has worked with governmental agencies and municipalities ― city, county and state ― to install concrete in many public spaces. Custom Concrete’s finishing crews have installed pervious concrete sidewalks in local parks, built traffic circles in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties and poured concrete pads in remote locations. Wherever government agencies need concrete poured, Custom Concrete can get the job done ― and we do it right, the first time.