December 17, 2015


Colette Holt provides legal counsel and consulting services to governments and businesses on procurement and contracting; employment discrimination; regulatory compliance; Organizational change; program development, evaluation and implementation; and issues relating to inclusion, diversity and affirmative action. Ms. Holt is a nationally recognized expert in designing, implementing and defending affirmative action programs. She has concentrated her practice in these areas for over 20 years, after serving in senior legal and management government positions.

In particular, she provides expert witness testimony and consultations in suits involving public and private procurement and employment policies. Ms. Holt evaluates the effectiveness of employment and contracting policies and processes, and proposes solutions to support leadership’s commitment to improvement and innovation. She has served as co-consultant with and counsel to economics consulting firms in conducting numerous studies of contracting and employment discrimination. In addition to work for public sector clients, the firm counsels government vendors on compliance with federal employment and procurement regulations.

Ms. Holt is General Counsel to the American Contract Compliance Association, the national organization of officials responsible for minority, women and disadvantaged business initiatives. Ms. Holt is a frequent author and media commentator on affirmative action and employment topics. She is the former Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Public Contract Law Section. Ms. Holt has been appointed an Adjunct Professor at the Loyola University School of Law and The John Marshall Law School.

Yale University, B.A., Philosophy
University of Chicago, J.D.

Prior Experience
Associate Superintendent, Chicago Park District
Chief Operating Officer of $350 million/year independent municipal agency with 4,000 employees. Implemented contracting and procurement systems to improve processes and service delivery, reduce costs, and support budgeting and auditing functions. Developed and implemented agency’s first minority and women business program. Led District’s fundraising and first Strategic Planning process. Created professional fundraising and community relations departments, including missions statements, structures, budgets, and personnel requirements. Developed model community councils program to provide citizen input into park operations.

Senior Attorney, Legal Counsel Division, Dept. of Law, City of Chicago
Provided advice to the Mayor, City Council, and City departments regarding legislation and policy development, administrative and municipal law, public contracting, first amendment issues, land use and public incentives, and zoning. Developed groundbreaking minority and women business program for City departments.

Associate, Schiff Hardin & Waite, Chicago, Illinois
Specialized in federal and state litigation, municipal bonds, administrative law, and employment discrimination.

Law Clerk to the Honorable Thomas E. Fairchild, Former Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Assisted federal appellate judge with research and drafting opinions.

Public Sector Clients

U. S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Academy of Sciences
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State of Hawaii
State of Illinois
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
State of Maryland
State of Michigan
State of Minnesota
State of Missouri
State of New York
State of North Carolina
State of Ohio
State of Texas
State of Washington
City of Augusta
City of Aurora
City of Austin
City of Baltimore
City of Birmingham
City of Chicago
City of Cleveland
City of Corpus Christi
City and County of Denver
City of Dayton
City of Durham
City of Fayetteville
City of Jacksonville
City of Kansas City, Missouri
City of Memphis
City of Minneapolis
City of New York
City of St. Louis
City and County of San Francisco
City of Tampa
City of Tucson
Bi-State Development Agency d/b/a Metro St. Louis
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Hampton Roads Transit Authority
Regional Transit Authority, Corpus Christi, Texas
Regional Transportation Authority of Illinois
Jacksonville Transportation Authority
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation d/b/a Metra
Pace Bus System
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
VIA Transit, San Antonio
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Hillsborough County/Tampa Aviation Authority
Jackson Municipal Airport Authority
Lambert International Airport
Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority
Metro. Nashville Airport Authority
Salt Lake City International Airport
Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati
North East Ohio Regional Sewer District
South Florida Water Management District
Broward County, Florida
Cook County, Illinois
Dallas County, Texas
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Ramsey County, Minnesota
St. Louis County, Missouri
Travis County, Texas
Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County, Kansas
Portland Development Commission
Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority of Illinois
Portland Housing Authority
City Colleges of Chicago
Chicago Public Schools
Private Sector Clients

Advocate Health Care Systems
Arrow Messenger Services, Inc.
Ativo Capital Management
Baker & Hostetler, LLP
Burr & Smith, LLP
Chicago United
Chico & Nunes, LLP
Colson Associates, Inc.
DLZ, Inc.
Equal Justice Society
Gaffney PMI, Inc.
J. E. Dunn Construction Co.
Infotech, Inc
Intralot, Inc.
Kelly Garnsey Hubbell & Lass, LLC
Lathrop & Gage, LLC
Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.
Mayer Brown, LLP
MCI, Inc.
NAL, Inc.
National Economic Research Associates, Inc.
Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc.
Perkins Coie, PC
Reggio’s Pizza, Inc.
Sprint, Inc.
Stetler & Duffy, PC
System Development Integration, LLC
The TAC Companies, LLC
Thompson Coburn, LLP
US West, Inc
W.E. O’Neil Company, Inc.
Williams & Mullen, LLP

Expert Witness Experience

  • Richardson v. ICV Capital Partners, LLC, et al, Reference No. 1425007789, 2011, (JAMS Commercial Arbitration Tribunal)
  • Kevcon, Inc. v. United States, USCFC No. 09-625CAAA (U.S. Ct. Fed. Claims 2010).
  • Kline, Inc. v. Pocari, the Maryland Department of Transportation, et al, Civil Case No. RDB-08-03197 (D. Mar. 2009).
  • National Maintenance v. City and County of Denver, No: 1:09-cv-00007-REB-MEH (D. Col. 2009).
  • Mason Tillman Associates, LTD. v. City of Dayton, Case No. 2008 CV 0085 (S. D. Ohio 2008).
  • Suburban Grading & Utilities, Inc. v. Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads, Case No. CL08-2640 (Va. Cir. Ct. 2008).
  • Moore Security Services, Inc. v. Root Brothers Manufacturing & Supply Company, Case No. 51 181 Y 00457 08 (American Arbitration Association 2008).
  • United States v. Siemens Medical Solutions USA, et al, No. 05 CR 792 (N.D. Ill. 2007).
  • Northern Contracting, Inc. v. Illinois Department of Transportation, No. C 4515 (N.D. Ill. 2004).
  • Western States Paving Co., Inc. v. Washington Department of Transportation et al, C00-5204 RB (W.D. Wash. 2003).
  • Builders Association of Greater Chicago v. City of Chicago, 96 C 1122 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
  • Utility Contractors Assoc. of North Florida, Inc. v. City of Jacksonville, 3:02-CV-137-J-32-TEM (M.D. Fla. 2002).
  • National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v. US West, Inc., CV 96-1331 (D. Colo. 2001).
  • Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches, et al. v. Polk County, Florida, Case No. 98-2322-CIV-T-25a (M.D. Fla. 1999).

Selected Presentations

  • Airports Council International
  • Airports Minority Advisory Council
  • American Association for Affirmative Action
  • American Association of Airport Executives
  • American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials
  • American Bar Association
  • American Contract Compliance Association
  • American Public Transportation Association
  • Conference of Minority Transportation Officials
  • Conference of Minority Public Administrators
  • Florida Airports Council
  • Florida Association of Minority Business Officials
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Federal Transit Administration
  • Lorman Education Services
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • National Association of Minority Contractors
  • National Association of Women in Construction
  • National Bar Association
  • National Forum for Black Public Administrators
  • National Minority Supplier Development Council
  • North Carolina MWBE Coordinators Network
  • Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Wisconsin Association of Equal Opportunity

   Selected Publications

“The Limited Impact of Rothe VII on M/W/DBE Programs,” Contract Management Magazine, 2010.

“Guidelines for Conducting a Disparity and Availability Study for the Federal DBE Program,” Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, NCHRP Report, Issue No. 644, 2010.

“Western States Paving Company v. Washington State Department of Transportation: Ninth Circuit Upholds Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program for Transportation Contracts,” American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, The Transportation Antitrust Update, No. 16 (Spring), 2007.

“Meeting the Western States Challenge: Setting Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goals on USDOT Contracts,” Small Business Exchg., Vol. 22, No. 18, July 2006.

“Strict Constitutional Scrutiny is Not Fatal in Fact: Federal Courts Uphold Affirmative Action Programs in Public Contracting, “Labor Law Journal, Vol. 54, No. 4, Winter 2003.

“Business Enterprise Program Survives Legal Challenges,” Contract Management, Vol. 42, Issue 10, October 2002.

“USDOT Revises Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program,”, March 2000.

“Strict in Theory or Fatal in Fact? Federal Courts Send Mixed Signals on Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs,” Contract Management, Vol. 39, Issue 3, March 1999.

   Professional Honors and Awards

  • Women Business Champion of the Year, US Small Business Administration
  • Advocacy Award, Women’s Business Development Center
  • Advocacy Award, Federation of Women Contractors
  • Founder’s Award, Black Contractors United
  • President’s Award, National Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Eagle Award, National Eagle Leadership Institute
  • Awardee, Women’s Voices, Harris Bank