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Posted 1/25/2018

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Open house welcomes contractors to Louisville district business opportunities

By Todd Hornback, chief, public affairs

More than 300 contractors attended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Businesses Opportunities Open House, Jan. 18, at the Marriott Downtown Hotel, Louisville, where the District Commander sang a few notes from Disney’s High School Musical song, “We’re all in this together.”

The event showcased upcoming work and highlighted methods contractors could bid for projects within the Louisville District boundaries. John Allison, deputy, Engineering Division, served as emcee telling stories and using humor to transition through the technical presentations.

“The Chief of Engineers has charged us to deliver the program and we cannot deliver the program by ourselves,” said Col. Antoinette Gant, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District commander.  “All of us here must recognize the necessity for partnering and collaboration.”

Cristie Mitchell, chief of the Air Force Reserve Support Section with the Louisville District, opened her session with a discussion of the Guardian Angel Facility planned for Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. She explained the Guardian Angel is the Air Force group which conducts personnel recovery across a full range of military operations.

“Why is this project important?” she asked the audience. “It is to put a human element to the work we do. It is about impacting a war fighter and supporting what they do.” She added, “Imagine a partnership where we can deliver our projects on time, within budget. This is our goal; this is our challenge.”

Capt. Tim Meier, project manager with the Corps working with the Department of Veteran Affairs projects, told the audience, “Any team needs keys to success and ours are relationships, communications, trust and purpose.”

He added he had a vested interest in the Veteran Affairs projects because he could one day be using the facilities.

“Our purpose of our projects is to build the best facilities and the best construction for our veterans,” he said.

Sharon Bond, chief, Civil Works Project Management Branch transitioned the presentations to the civil works arena referencing the Olmsted Locks and Dam project as “the largest project on the inland waterways system.” She gave an overview of ORBA, the Ohio River Basin Alliance, and described it as “an organization formed to serve as an advocacy group for the Ohio River Basin.”

She added, “I want to emphasize the importance of communication and relationships. We need to continue to talk to one another so when opportunities arise, we are positioned to meet them.”

Co-presenters Todd Crutchfield, project manager, and Clif Kilpatrick, natural resource management specialist gave an overview of Operations Division contracts. Kilpatrick praised the Corps campsites and said, “It is vital to have a good contract to move forward. We pride ourselves to do the best we can to provide quality to our customers.”

Crystal Harbin, district deputy for small business, shared that Louisville District came in first across the Corps in contract awards for Woman-Owned Small Businesses and eighth in the Corps for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business with $95.2 million and $34.8 million in contracts respectively.

In a discussion of how to do business with the district, she said, “People ask me, ‘how often should I search the Federal Business Opportunities website?’ I tell them, make it part of your daily routine. If not daily, at least every other day.”

She suggested contractors use the code W912QR to search for Louisville District projects if they preferred projects within the district footprint. She also suggested contractors request a debriefing if they are not the winning bid to discuss their strengths and weaknesses in the bid process.

John Bock, chief, Engineering Division, gave the final presentation of the morning.  He stressed the importance of the contractors in architectural engineering opportunities.

“We can’t do our work without you as our partner. You are an important part of our organization.”

Gant ended the morning session by asking members of the Corps to stand, then members of small business followed by large business attendees. “This should be everyone,” she said. “We know we cannot do anything by ourselves and you are a part of the solution.”

The afternoon sessions allowed attendees to meet with district representatives one-on-one. The district will host a second BOOH June 6. This event will not have formal presentations but will offer time for attendees to speak with district representatives. The location has not been selected but additional information will be available on the district website: www.lrl.usace.army.mil.  

Presentations from the Jan. 18 BOOH are located on this website: presentations