Boise – Strategic Consulting Igniting Remarkable Growth and Innovation

As a part of becoming Idaho's brightest star, Boise Public Engagement Project Manager solicitation is a testament to the city’s commitment to Blueprint Boise comprehensive process. Let’s demystify!
City of Boise and Public Solutions Northwest leaders
Courtesy: City of Boise
By | 15 min read

Boise, Idaho’s capital city, has always been an elegant and appealing destination, thanks to its robust music scene and proximity to nature. However, it has frequently been overlooked in favor of its cooler and larger regional siblings, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Today, though, Boise is recruiting talent away from those northwest behemoths and other expensive coastal competitors, enticing entrepreneurs with a booming business scene and a high quality of life.

To do so, the city wishes to appoint a single individual or team to guide critical talks for the Design of Boise initiative.

The effort came up as a result of a solicitation that was closed in December of last year 2022 to find a consultant who can advise the city team on how to identify and elevate voices that are not traditionally represented in planning engagement processes, as well as who can facilitate complex conversations about history and culture to better inform future decision making.

However, this movement is just a step of Blueprint Boise – its grand plan to grow in stature as a world-class city. This adds to the necessity to look at Boise history and this great plan to comprehend how this contract could contribute to the future of Boise.

The City of Boise: New Ideal Homeland for Tech Giants

Travel to Boise, the capital of Idaho, a city known for its green spaces and bike sharing, where visitors and locals alike spend their leisure time river rafting and snow tubing down an 800-foot hill in the Bogus Basin.

Boise also has a lively downtown culture, hosts a number of festivals, and has a river that locals enjoy in the summer. Boise, with its perfect blend of urban and outdoor living, is a great destination to go on an adventure.

The city’s population and economy are thriving; according to the US Census, they were the second fastest-growing state in the US 2020. According to the 2021 U.S. News Best States rankings, the flood of new inhabitants has also helped them rank first in the nation for economic growth.

Not only are they surpassing the rest of the country in terms of employment and career development, but they’re also dominating industries such as technology, advanced manufacturing, food production, energy, and outdoor recreation, all of which have a strong presence in local economy.

City of Boise is discussing a problem
Courtesy: City of Boise

Local universities such as Boise State University and the College of Idaho, in addition to drawing out-of-state talent, ensure that future generations of talented professionals are prepared to step up and lead the area’s developing businesses.

Apart from that effort, Boise’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell from 2.3% in December 2021 to 1.8% (a 50-basis point increase) in December 2022.

Boise’s December 2022 unemployment rate was 10 basis points below Ada County’s, 30 basis points below the Boise MSA figure and 60 basis points below the State of Idaho figure, and 150 basis points below the national figure of 3.3%.

The Boise area is home to several major private employers that contribute significantly to the local economy. Among the top employers are Albertsons, a grocery giant that provides jobs to over 280,000 people nationwide, Blue Cross of Idaho, the state’s oldest health insurer, and Treasure Valley YMCA, which promotes healthy living and community engagement.

Other notable employers include Fred Meyer, a prominent grocery chain, HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard, technology companies with a presence in Boise, and Winco Foods, a highly popular local grocery store chain.

Additionally, the Boise area is home to employers such as Wells Fargo, a well-known financial institution, Idaho Power Co., a provider of hydropower, and Micron Technology, a leader in the memory and information sectors.

The area also includes recognizable names like McDonald’s, Costco, and Walmart, which provide employment opportunities to a diverse range of residents. These companies, along with others like St. Luke’s Health System and Scentsy, contribute to the local economy and offer career prospects in various industries, including healthcare, retail, and technology.

Today, Boise flourishes with job opportunities, and has become known for a high quality of life and is ideal for the favorable climate with all four seasons. As the high-tech economy evolves and the population rises, Boise is consistently ranked as one of the best locations to live in the United States.

It’s not an easy journey for Boise to reach this level since the city has to architect its physical form from the ground up. This voyage necessitates not only a complete guidelight to ensure that all needs are met. This resulted in the creation of Blueprint Boise, a fantastic growth strategy for Boise.

Blueprint Boise: Paving the Path to a Flourishing Future

City of Boise police
Courtesy: City of Boise

Boise will continue to rise in status as a world-class city with desirable neighborhoods, exceptional natural, scenic, recreational, educational, historical, and cultural facilities, and economic vibrancy.

The city of tree expansion will be sustainable, efficient, and responsible, preserving and improving the city’s valued quality of life while weathering through future challenges. The city is dedicated to building a more sustainable town by improving the local, regional, and global environment.

A sustainable community is one in which the integrated economic, social, and environmental systems are designed to support healthy, productive, and meaningful lives for its residents while laying the groundwork for future generations to meet their own needs.

That is the driving force behind Blueprint Boise, Boise’s Comprehensive Plan, which outlines a comprehensive vision for growth in Boise. The plan divides the city into geographic planning areas and gives policy direction for each. More precise direction is provided through a succession of master plans and community plans.

It contains a land use map that illustrates the expected nature and location of future city growth. The land use map, in conjunction with zoning, directs development to acceptable sites and quantities.

The plan also indicates territories that the city intends to annex in the future. Comprehensive Plan policies are put into action through zoning, project review, capital improvement programming and/or budgeting, and a variety of other methods.

The plan, which was approved in 2011 following extensive outreach that included citizen feedback and community workshops, is founded on seven main principles:

Stable Neighborhoods and Mixed-Use Activity Centers; Environmental Stewardship; A Predictable Development Pattern; A Community That Is Connected; A community that values culture, education, the arts, and history. A robust and diverse economy; A Community that is Safe, Healthy, and Caring

Citizen participation served as the foundation for the city’s 1997 Comprehensive Plan and the overarching concept that guided its development.

Based on broad community input obtained as part of recent regional planning efforts, such as the Blueprint for Good Growth and Communities in Motion, as well as part of the Blueprint Boise process, many of the values embedded in the 1997 vision still ring true.

These ideals have been developed and modified in this updated Comprehensive Plan to reflect the changes that have occurred in Boise City over the last ten years and those that are expected to occur over the next ten to twenty years.

Four “big picture” objectives were identified to guide the Blueprint Boise process: Create a clear vision for the future; Establish a strong linkage between land use, transportation, and urban design; Provide clear guidance at the planning-area level; and Synchronize regulations with the community’s vision.

To establish this grand plan, the city needs to chop it down into small and specific parts for easy execution. And the main character of this writing – Public Engagement Project Manager is a crucial part of translating ideas into reality.

Citywide Contract that Spells Success for Every Resident

As a part of Blueprint Boise, the city’s Comprehensive Plan as a base, the City of Boise seeks a consultant to facilitate important discussions for the Design of Boise process.

As a result, the City of Boise will be able to address critical unsolved questions about the city’s physical form. The end result of this approach will be an aesthetically appealing and transparent picture of Boise’s future.

The city was looking for a community organizer or team to assist the City of Boise’s Planning and Development Services Department (PDS) and Office of Community Engagement (CE) in conducting an authentic and inclusive planning process.

The city, in particular, needed a consultant who could assist the municipal team on how to identify and elevate voices that are not normally represented in planning participation processes, as well as foster complicated debates regarding history and culture to better influence future decision making.

First and foremost, let’s go through a few factors that bidders should keep in mind.

A Closer Look: General Conditions and the Evaluation Journey for Proposals

The Request for Proposal (RFP) specifies that proposals for a project must be submitted electronically through DemandStar or BidNet. It emphasizes the importance of adhering to the required format and signing the proposals.

When using E-Bidding, just one electronic copy is required. Proposers are advised to double-check that the proposal was successfully posted after posting it. It is specified that proposals that do not include a written signature would be rejected.

Furthermore, all electronic proposals must be submitted prior to the scheduled proposal opening, and the City has the right to accept all proposals filed and electronically time stamped prior to the opening in the event of a technology failure.

Proposers are advised to confirm the successful upload of their proposal document and note that proposals will not be accepted after the scheduled opening time.

The document also includes general conditions that clarify the intent of RFP and emphasize that proposals will be evaluated using a weighted scoring method.

Proposals that do not conform to the desired format or do not meet the standards will not be scored fully. The Proposer is responsible for any costs associated with preparing for or responding to the RFP, including any site visits that may be required. Materials and documents submitted in response to the RFP become the City’s property and are not returnable.

City of Boise workshop
Courtesy: City of Boise

In terms of insurance and indemnity, the awarded firm is responsible for providing the specified insurance coverage as well as paying the associated costs. The City must be specified as a named insured, and the insurance policy or certificate must be kept in force for the duration of the contract.

The awarded firm, as well as subcontractors and trade vendors, must obtain the required insurance coverage. The document outlines the minimum coverage amounts for various types of insurance, such as professional liability, general liability, and worker’s compensation.

The City of Boise reserves the right to accept or reject proposals, and it may select a firm based on the written proposal or request oral presentations from the highest-rated firms. The selected firm will then be requested to negotiate a contract.

The document additionally points out that the proposal’s information may be subject to the public under the Idaho Public Records Act, with limited exemptions such as trade secrets. In their bids, proposers are educated on how to handle sensitive information and trade secrets.

Tax responsibilities, the process for requesting clarification or protesting proposal requirements, the possibility of addenda to the RFP, the ability to modify or withdraw proposals prior to the opening, and the application of Idaho’s Reciprocal Preference Law are also covered in the document.

There is also a provision for significant local economic presence, where the City Council may give preference to a proposer with a substantial local and Idaho economic presence.

That’s pretty much what bidders need to take note of before jumping into the game. But what is more important is to understand what contract winners will contribute to the city’s future.

From Discovery to Innovation: Transforming Boise’s Landscape through Design

The scope of work for the Design of Boise project consists of three stages: Discovery, Design, and Final Illustration and Document Production.

Throughout these stages, the City of Boise staff will manage the project, while the consultant will be actively involved, assisting and leading various tasks as required. The consultant’s role is to ensure that all outreach efforts align with the city’s engagement goals and best practices.

In the Discovery stage, a historian will lead an investigation into how history and culture should influence the city’s shape and direction. This will entail creating a preliminary historical narrative that will encompass subjects such as the ecological landscape, indigenous people, migration/immigration, infrastructure improvements, and modern planning attempts.

During this stage, the consultant’s responsibilities include forming an advisory group of various community people, facilitating advisory group meetings, leading focus groups, and collaborating with the PDS and CE to engage the community in talks about values and culture.

Moving into the Design stage, the project team will create graphic representations of the physical design of the city based on the insights gained during the Discovery stage. The design work will be led by a team of contracting design professionals, and a studio will be established as a central hub for meetings, including sessions with the advisory group and public pin-up sessions.

The consultant will continue to engage the advisory group, facilitate sessions with them, and collaborate with PDS and CE to host public pin-up sessions for reviewing and discussing the work in progress.

City of Boise Mayor is in an interview
Courtesy: City of Boise

Finally, the team will determine the most efficient manner to communicate the Design of Boise during the Final Illustration and Document Production stage.

This will entail designing an overall city design illustration, a succinct paper for publication, and online copies of both. This stage will be led by the consultant and the contracting design experts, with the consultant continuing to engage the advisory group and offering recommendations on community-wide outreach for the final deliverables.

Throughout the entire scope of work, the consultant’s role is to ensure effective collaboration, gather feedback, and incorporate community perspectives into the project’s development. The aim is to create a comprehensive and engaging design for Boise that reflects its history, values, and aspirations for the future.

The Design of Boise initiative is a large-scale endeavor that intends to improve the city’s landscape while respecting its rich history, culture, and values. To ensure the project’s success, the city has created a detailed scoring system for reviewing applications, taking important variables such as expertise, qualifications, and adherence to requirements into account.

Scoring the Winning Formula: Breaking Down the Points System for Proposal Evaluation

The abilities, experience, expertise, and educational qualifications that companies and recruiters seek in candidates are referred to as selection criteria. Including selection criteria in the process assists businesses and recruiters in attracting qualified candidates. It also allows them to compare the suitability of each candidate.

In the case of Boise, the city had a set of necessary criteria to evaluate offers in relation to the service being sought. These criteria are contained in the RFP documents and will be established and weighted.

At a minimum, criteria included annual pricing, experience, references, compliance to the specifications and requirements for the service.

The jury of judges would recommend to City Council that the contract or award of proposals be awarded to the highest ranked Proposer, with all evaluation criteria considered, provided that, the City Council might award contracts to the Proposer it determines appropriate.

Each member of the Evaluation Committee first rated each proposal independently using the criteria outlined below. The whole Evaluation Committee then met to analyze and discuss these evaluations, as well as to combine the individual rankings for each firm to arrive at a composite score.

Experience & References*150
Schedule & Budget100
Total Points600
*Reference points will be awarded based on projects with similar size and scope of work.

The highest ranked proposers have been shortlisted. Shortlisted proposers were asked to demonstrate their product and/or be interviewed.

The City might undertake reference checks on those people submitted by the Proposer with their proposal in response to this RFP prior to any interviews with finalists. Furthermore, the City might contact references who were not mentioned by the Proposer.

The proposer with the highest cumulative total points shall be issued a Notice of Intent to Award.

The evaluation and selection process outlined above ensures that Boise City is thorough and diligent in choosing the most qualified proposer(s) for their projects. Regarding this list, the City of Boise has already selected the right candidates. Let’s delve into the details of these ardent finalists.

Meet the Contenders: Top Consulting Firms Vying for the Design of Boise Project

The City of Boise has completed a thorough evaluation process of the proposals received from several consulting firms. After careful consideration, the city has published a list of the finalists who have demonstrated strong qualifications and capabilities in their respective fields.

These finalists include Agnew Beck Consulting, Atlas Strategic Communications, Public Sphere Projects, Spark Strategic Solutions LLC, Ubiquitous Unicorns Consulting LLC, Public Solutions Northwest, and Zilo International Group LLC.

City of Boise meeting
Courtesy: City of Boise

These companies have a competitive advantage as well as a distinguished market presence. However, following a thorough evaluation process, the City of Boise has recommended awarding the contract to the company best equipped for the job.

Ubiquitous Unicorns Consulting, LLC, dba Public Solutions Northwest, is the name of the company. Let’s take a deeper look at this champion to find out why they were chosen.

The Final Puzzle to Complete the Blueprint Boise Landscape

The contract was awarded to Ubiquitous Unicorns Consulting, LLC, dba Public Solutions Northwest. The term “dba” means “doing business as.” In the case of the consulting provider, this means that the company trades as “Public Solutions Northwest” despite being legally registered as Ubiquitous Unicorns Consulting, LLC.

Public Solutions Northwest (PSNW) is an independent consulting firm based in Boise that specializes in enabling effective strategic plans.

They help organizations align and generate common meaning, boost engagement, and guide operational strategy. They believe in providing immediate value to your team, and our mission is to give the atmosphere and tools for your team to explore and build together.

PSNW specializes in uncovering the depth of expertise in the room through a collaborative, interactive facilitation method. Their team will assist customers in mobilizing for change and navigating uncertainty in order for the organization’s intended future to be realized.

This business specializes in facilitating strategic plans, encouraging engagement, and directing operational planning. They unearth the depth of expertise within businesses through a collaborative and interactive facilitation methodology, allowing clients to mobilize for change and navigate uncertainty towards their preferred future.

The company has demonstrated a strong track record in providing comprehensive consulting services, aligning with the specific needs of the City of Boise. With their extensive knowledge and experience in strategic planning, operational guidance, and organizational development, they have showcased their ability to tackle complex projects effectively.

Furthermore, the key principle of the company is Charity Strong, a resourceful and imaginative facilitator with proven success in community engagement, innovative solution generation, and implementation. Her presence brings a unique perspective and leadership to the table. With a focus on creating immediate value and fostering engagement, Charity Strong’s vision aligns closely with the goals of the Design of Boise project.

Public Solutions Northwest leaders
Courtesy: Public Solutions Northwest

In fact, this is not the first time this company partnered with Boise to collaborate in a project.

“Charity and her team played a critical role with the City of Boise’s 2020 Census outreach. Leading the entire canvassing side of the effort, Charity was forced to pivot from nearly all in-person outreach events in light of COVID.” stated Tom Laws, Comprehensive Planning, City of Boise

He added, “Always staying positive, through her leadership we were still able to partner with over 155 organizations and focus over 1,862 hours of engagement all toward our hard-to-reach and under-represented populations. In the end, Boise saw the 2nd highest response rate in the U.S. for a major city, a testament to her hard work and dedication.”

It is worth noting that the consulting firm brings unique strengths and experiences to the table, demonstrating their potential to contribute effectively to the Design of Boise project. The presence of Ubiquitous Unicorns Consulting, LLC, dba Public Solutions Northwest will benefit not only Boise but also its parental city Idaho.

The Bottom Lines

Boise emerged as a supply and service center for the adjacent mining areas. It is still an important commerce hub for smaller towns and agricultural operations in the northern Rockies. Aside from mining, farming and forestry have all played key roles in the growth of the Boise economy.

The current economy is moving away from its conventional roots and toward a more diverse base. The contract is part of Blueprint Boise’s effort to create an uninterrupted future for the city of Boise.

Hiring a consultant may not seem like a big deal, but it actually contributes to the city’s overall wealth. For sure, this contract is more meaningful than 30 pages with limited information.

  • Our team of staff writers is a carefully curated group of talented and experienced individuals who are passionate about producing exceptional content. They are handpicked for their unique perspectives and…