Mentor - Protege Program

Vacant, Manager

The Small Business Development Group administers the Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) for Houston Public Works.

The MPP was established, in conjunction with other local government agencies, for assisting certified, minority and/or women-owned (SMWBE) engineering firms (Protégés) to grow and develop their businesses in the areas of marketing, human resources, sales, financial analysis, etc., under the guidance of prime firms (Mentors).

Admitting New Mentors into the Program – Two (2) additional Mentors will be admitted to the MPP in March 2018 who possess new and unique skills.  Firms that are interested in becoming a mentor should fill out and submit the Mentor Protégé application to The application period opens on February 26, 2018 and closes on March 12, 2018. We look forward to your submissions.

Mentor Criteria - Mentor Protégé Program

  • Business in operation for at least 10 years, with demonstrated history of prime assignments for at least 5-7 years.
  • 100 full time employees or minimum 5:1 ratio, Mentor to Protégé full time employees.
  • Must have prime contracts with the City of Houston, that have exceeded MWBE goal participation of 30% or greater.
  • Commit to MWBE goal participation of 35%.
  • Commit a Corporate Officer to represent Mentor firm.
  • Must be in favorable financial health.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide developmental assistance that will enhance the ability of proteges to perform as prime contractors and subcontractors, preferably with other formal Mentor Protégé programs.
  • Firms must be Pay or Play (POP) Compliant.

Admitting New Protégés into the program- The most recent application period for Protégés was during the First Quarter of the 2017 Calendar year. The new MPP protégés were selected in February 2017. The next application period for Protégés will take place during the First Quarter of the 2019 Calendar year. We look forward to your submission.

Program Commitments:

Mentors – Review Protégés’ materials (business plan, action plan, etc.) and key indicators (cash flow, insurance, projects, etc.), recommend areas of improvement, follow up on mutual agreements for action, and submit Program Evaluation Assessments at designated intervals.

Protégés – Present complete and up-to-date information (business and action plans, cash flow, insurance, work-in-progress, etc.) in a timely manner, implement mutually agreed upon changes, request assistance as necessary, and submit Program Evaluation Assessments at designated intervals.

Program Enhancements:

Beginning in 2015, the following enhancements were added to the MPP to encourage higher levels of participation and benefits for both Protégés and Mentors.

Mentor/Protégé Pool– Protégé firms may team up with different mentors to:

  • Acquire new skills under Mentors with specific, desired skill sets to increase expertise and marketability;
  • Learn a variety of successful business practices;
  • Strengthen the quality of Mentors’ SOQ submittals; and
  • Provide additional teaming opportunities for Protégés.

Simple Selection-“First Look” –  In order to increase the selection of MPP participants as prime consultants, the PWE Department will give consideration, first, to participating Protégé firms in the MPP on ‘simple selections’, then other firms in the following order:

  • Protégés
  • Mentors
  • All Other Firms.  

SOQ Points for MPP Participants – Based upon the number of years in the MPP, Mentor and Protégé firms are awarded additional points when submitting as prime consultants during Statement of Qualification (SOQ) review.

SOQ Points for Teaming – The PWE Department will award additional points to Mentor firms for each Protégé firm included on their team.

Final Project Closeout Evaluation – The Department will award additional points to Mentor firms at project closeout as part of the final evaluation if Protégé firm participation exceeds the proposed project goal.

MPP Logo on Websites – Mentors and Protégés are encouraged to add the MPP logo and their participation status to their websites.  PWE will list all MPP participants on its website.

Program Graduation:

Protégé firms will be considered successful and ready to ‘graduate’ from the MPP upon meeting three (3) of the following five (5) criteria.

  • Three (3) years in MPP
  • Two (2) years of consecutive selection as prime consulting firms
  • Three (3) years of demonstrated teaming with non-Mentor firms
  • Increased revenue year-to-year
  • New hires added to firm

The following firms are Mentors in the City of Houston PWE Mentor-Protégé Program:

  • Hatch-Chester
  • EJES Incorporated
  • Freese and Nichols, Inc.
  • Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
  • KCI Technologies, Inc.
  • Neel-Schaffer, Inc.

The following firms are Protégés in the City of Houston PWE Mentor-Protégé Program:

Mentor-Protégé Management Plan Form: CLICK HERE

Original PowerPoint version of the MPP Enhancements: CLICK HERE

Mentor-Protégé Program Agreement and Application
  • Guiding Protégé To Success Agreement: CLICK HERE
  • Guiding Protégé To Success Application: CLICK HERE