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    Small Business Industry Day highlights women-owned small business

    Small Business Industry Day highlights women owned small business

    Photo By Leon Roberts | Dellaria Martin (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District contracting...... read more read more



    Story by Leon Roberts 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 9, 2023) – Nearly 300 business owners and managers received extensive information about small business opportunities within the federal, state and local procurement systems during the Small Business Industry Day March 6, 2023, at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams Campus.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Small Business Office spearheaded the event and worked to educate business professionals about available tools and resources, and provided information on how to get assistance with the procurement process. They also highlighted women-owned small business, the theme for this event.

    Maj. Todd Mainwaring, Nashville District deputy commander, welcomed back participants to the annual “in-person” small business event put on hold during the pandemic, and for their genuine interest in accessing federal contracts.

    “We really are eager to partner with you and show you what the Corps of Engineers has to offer for your small business and a role you can play in our mission, which is a vitally important role,” Mainwaring said.

    Dr. Quincy Quick, TSU professor of biology and vice president of Research and Sponsored Programs, provided opening comments and welcomed everyone to the Avon Williams Campus on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover. He noted just how the small business conference aligns perfectly with the university’s community engagement priority.

    “One of the things we are excited about here at Tennessee State is the ability to create partnerships,” Quick said. “And my motto in my division at the university is partnerships, partnerships, partnerships and more partnerships.”

    Several keynote speakers also addressed the small business owners and managers.

    District 32 Metro Nashville Councilwoman Joy Styles talked about the revitalization of a shopping mall, and growth in the diverse town of Antioch driven by large and small businesses returning to the area. There are about 1,200 small business in the area, many with diverse ownerships.

    Styles said one of her priorities in the revitalization effort involves community engagement with a new performing arts center, an arts square, more greenspaces, and highlighting the town’s cultures, “to make sure that we are strengthening relationships and highlighting the amazing people that we have out there,” she said.

    She added that small businesses in Antioch have thrived in recent years because rents were cheaper with an ability to have more space. With more business development, Styles said she is pivoting to balance the needs of the new businesses with the cultures and diversity of existing businesses. These small businesses are now being featured and highlighted on the town’s online presences.

    “We did have a bit of a downturn for a while, but we are on a very sharp upswing,” Styles said. “It has been an absolute pleasure to be here with you today and share a little bit about small businesses.”

    LaTanya Channel, Nashville and Davidson County director of Economic and Small Business Development, also addressed participants and said that she is helping to create a pipeline of understanding of how our small businesses in the county can get to the level of where many of the businesses at the small business conference are at, which is making the federal government a customer.

    “I always emphasize making the federal government your customer because I want to make it sound difficult, but I also want to make it sound simple,” Channel said.

    Channel said it is simple when small businesses take certain steps and use certain methods when making the federal government a customer.

    Col. Sebastien Joly, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center commander in Huntsville, Alabama, rounded out the keynotes, and said the organization under his command is charged with maintaining a technical capability and provide solutions for really the most complex challenges that the Army faces around the globe. To meet those objectives, the center ultimately has lots of contracting opportunities to offer small businesses in 2023 and beyond.

    “If your company has a unique, niche capability, and you wonder where you fit… pretty good odds you are going to fit somewhere in the Huntsville Center,” Joly said.

    The colonel said the center has no borders and its 1,100 employees work, coordinate and partner with the 43 USACE districts like the Nashville District in support of the nation’s engineering missions. The center works with stakeholders, provides contracting forecasts, and solicits contracts that are available to the small businesses in the region.

    “What you are probably interested in is what the type of work is, what the contracting vehicle is we use, because you are going to want to bid on a contracting vehicle in order to get it, and be able to pursue the work and a customer,” Joly said. “Some may have preferences in who they work with. Some are easier to work with than others. So you may wind up just sifting through that and picking that work so you can determine what certification you need.”

    Throughout the day, small businesses had access to event partners like the Tennessee Small Business Development Center; Society of American Military Engineers Nashville Post; University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services, Small Business Administration, University of Tennessee Small Business Procurement, USACE Louisville District, USACE Huntsville Engineering and Support Center, Department of Veterans Affairs MidSouth Healthcare Network, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, and Metro Schools.

    Large businesses like WSP, Schimmick Construction, Brad Cole Construction, Kiewit Infrastructure, Turner Construction, Hensel Phelps, Benham Design, Terracon, and Waypoint also networked with small business owners and managers.

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District officials from its Contracting Division, Engineering and Construction Division, Programs and Project Management Division, and Management Support met with small business owners during several afternoon sessions. Participants received information about ongoing projects in the Nashville District’s area of operation, and contracting forecasts from the Nashville, Louisville, and Memphis Districts.

    In 2022, the Nashville District obligated $117,535,105 in contracts to small businesses. Of that, $33,00,285 went to women owned small businesses.

    Eulanda Scott-Shingleton, chief of the Nashville District Small Business Office, said although the event provided great information about women owned small businesses, it was a great opportunity for all small businesses involved to network with each other and for the Corps to build its list of contractors and their capabilities.

    “All categories of small business benefitted because they were able to network with our subject matter experts from Contracting, Engineering, Construction, and Project Management,” Scott-Shingleton said. “They were able to ask questions and obtain information about upcoming contracting opportunities and acquisition timelines.”

    She also noted that it is exceptionally important that small businesses connect, build and cultivate relationships with large businesses so both can partner in business ventures, identify how to provide additional value within their relationship, build trust and establish credibility. The ultimate reward is mutual success, she stressed.

    Allie Williamson, chief executive diva for Southern Domestic Diva, a cleaning company and woman owned business in Nashville Tennessee, said an event like this is more than just figuring out what certification is needed, it’s about networking, making yourself known, having a platform to meet and connect with vendors, and receiving an education.

    “It helps us to have a direct contact with them face to face and to pass on our capability statement and be aware of the opportunities,” Williamson said. “Sometimes you get saturated with so much information when you first enter the space, so this makes us very aware and personal in being able to make the connections.”

    Williamson also noted that she loved the emphasis on women owned small business because she employs around 60-70 women in her company and prides herself on culture and supporting women. She even offers internships to her employees’ daughters.

    “Anything that supports women, we try to attend it and support it, to keep that momentum going in the city,” Williamson said.

    Lisa Dolphin, principal of Bergmann Architects, Engineers, Planners (recently acquired by Colliers Engineering and Design), a large business in Binghamton, New York, said the event helps so much because of access to contracting forecasts in the districts and ability to meet the contracting officers. She attended the event with the company’s protégée, CDG Engineers, Inc.

    “Just being able to build those relationships is really helpful for us to deliver quality products and meet their mission on time and within budget,” Dolphin said.

    Dellaria Martin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District contracting officer, said she catered to many visitors, helped them network, and shared information about programs like 8A. She also referred many of them to the Small Business Administration for assistance.

    “It’s been very busy. A lot of women owned businesses have been through here, and they are very intrigued and interested in doing business with the Corps of Engineers,” Martin said.

    Martin added that she talks to many of them, so meeting them and putting faces to them makes a difference with establishing working relationships and moving forward together through the contracting process.

    (For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at on Facebook at, and on Twitter at



    Date Taken: 03.09.2023
    Date Posted: 03.09.2023 17:18
    Story ID: 440074
    Location: NASHVILLE, TN, US 

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