Open house opens doors to opportunities

Published Feb. 15, 2017

The Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District held an open house and Federal Forum on Jan. 19 at the Marriott Hotel, downtown Louisville where Col. Christopher Beck, Louisville District commander encouraged the audience of approximately 300 to think about what makes a successful team and project.

Beck welcomed the group which included members of Society of Military Engineers (SAME) Kentuckiana post and businesses who could potentially do work to support the Louisville District missions.

"The purpose is to deliver the project," said Beck. "That is the most strategic thing we do."

Beck asked the audience to think beyond the concept of partnership and to consider interdependence. "Keep in mind why we are doing the project – whether it be so soldiers can train or to support veterans – we need to keep the commitments we make."

Problem solving during the project’s timeline was another point, Beck stressed.

"Site conditions can change or getting materials, but at the end of the day, if there is a problem, we sit down at the table, roll up our sleeves and solve problems."

Sharon Bond, chief of civil works, planning, programs, and project management Branch, provided an overview of the district’s civil works program, including project updates, programmatic funding outlook and future contracting opportunities. Besides mentioning the district’s two mega-projects, the Olmsted Locks and Dam construction project and the Rough River Dam Remediation, she discussed flood risk management projects such as one in Paducah, Kentucky, where pump stations are being reconstructed and the White River Indianapolis North levee and floodwall project. Ongoing flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and emergency stream bank protection projects being implemented under the Continuing Authorities Program were also covered.

Under the Planning Assistance to States program (PAS) watershed planning projects may become opportunities for business. The district is also looking at projects that can be "deauthorized, and the disposal process undertaken." The Kentucky Locks and Dam 1-4 is one such project that is underway, starting with a feasibility study. Environmental documentation is required to complete the studies leading to disposition of federal property. In the case of Kentucky River Locks and Dams 1-4, the Kentucky River Authority currently operates and maintains the projects and is interested in assuming future ownership of the facilities.

Bond mentioned the Ohio River Basin Alliance which is an organization that looks at ways to advocate for protection and preservation of the Ohio River, similar to the Great Lakes Coalition. The Corps assists in this endeavor by helping to develop priorities with other organizations. She also provided a brief update on the status of development of the FY 19 budget, and the recently enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill.

Other presentations included military, interagency and international services, small business, and architect-engineering opportunities.

"The Louisville District has a long history of success hosting the annual open house," said Crystal May, deputy of small business.

"This event provides invaluable information to both large and small businesses as district leadership provides an overview of our entire program. We have a strong commitment to help make these businesses successful and being able to network throughout this event enables us to make these connections."