News: Event allows small businesses to network with corps staff
Story by Nathan Herring
TULSA, Okla. - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District staff met with representatives from more than 75 businesses from 18 different states during the Meet the Corps Day event held recently at the Tulsa Technology-Lemley Campus in Tulsa.
Meet the Corps Day was a small business outreach event that allowed attendees to learn about the Tulsa District, its missions, and future contract opportunities that may be available.
During the opening portion of the event, Tulsa District staff spoke about their division’s role, what type of contracted work they use, shared best practices and offered suggestions to prospective contractors.
Contracted work, products, and services are valuable to the Tulsa District. According to Earl Groves, Operations Division chief, about 80 percent of work is done in the district’s recreation areas such as mowing, painting, utilities, trash removal, etc.
“We also buy everything from a box of nails to multimillion dollar tainter gates, that are used to release water from the dams,” Groves said.
During the presentations, one of the major themes emphasized was relationship building.
“Fiscal uncertainty makes projected work uncertain as well,” said Maj. Don Nestor, deputy district commander. “Today, we focus on building new relationships and fostering existing partnerships that will help us with opportunities down the road.”
The second half of the event provided attendees networking opportunities with corps staff in a “speed-dating” format. During that time, business representatives took turns meeting with staff representing various corps mission areas including engineering and construction, planning and environmental, emergency management, military construction, recreation and park management, operations, and others. In addition to corps staff, several large businesses were also represented.
“This event not only provided small businesses the chance to meet with corps staff but it also allowed them to network with other businesses,” said Gene Snyman, small business program manager. “This may lead to subcontracting and partnership opportunities with businesses that currently hold contracts with the corps.”
According to Snyman many of the contracts awarded by the corps are Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts, which mean several work orders can be awarded during a specified period of time up to a specific amount during the life of the contract. He told attendees that it is important to learn who these companies are and partner with them. This can allow small businesses who have never contracted with the government to gain past performance experience. Past performance is an area of consideration when companies bid on new contract opportunities with the government.
The Tulsa District has a longstanding history of commitment to utilizing small businesses. In Fiscal Year 2012, Tulsa District awarded more than $414 million in contracts to small, disadvantaged, veteran-owned, or women-owned businesses. Snyman said that the Meet the Corps Day was one way the district continues to meet this commitment by helping small businesses gain the contacts they need. He added that more of these type events could be planned for the future.
“The event provided one stop access to several key leaders and decision makers within the district, Snyman said. “We rely heavily on our industry partners; we couldn’t accomplish our mission without them.”