The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, Louisville District, in conjunction with the University of Louisville’s Women’s Center, hosted the PINK, also known as Procurement Information you Need to Know, initiative at the University’s Swain Student Activities Center Aug. 7 in Louisville, Kentucky.
PINK is a targeted Woman-owned Business, Woman-owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Business initiative to reinforce USACE’s commitment in providing the maximum practical opportunity for technically competent and capable firms to compete for procurements that help USACE ‘deliver the program.’
Louisville District Commander Col. Antoinette Gant provided the event’s opening remarks.
“We are so excited to have you here in Louisville,” Gant said. “We are truly committed to ensure everyone gets a chance at the table to be able to make a difference, and we are able to make a difference because of people like you— to ensure our nation is safe and ensure economic development is happening.”
PINK’s purpose is to heighten awareness about USACE and business lines among women-owned firms and their importance to the USACE mission and our nation’s economy. It also provides an opportunity to educate WOBs, WOSBs and EDWOSBs on regulations, tactics and strategies. This helps to optimize capabilities for better positioning in competing for USACE Fiscal Year 2020 and future procurement opportunities.
The event captured feedback to help effect solutions on challenges faced by women-owned firms doing business, or desiring to do business, with USACE.
“Take advantage of this opportunity,” said Bonita Carroll, Women-Owned Small Business Program Manager and Assistant Director, USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. “We want to empower you with the resources to compete so you can be successful.”
Louisville District Deputy Chief of Construction, Karen Sweeney, and Louisville District Deputy for Small Business, Crystal Harbin, participated in a panel about how contractors can better position themselves from lessons learned, tactics and strategies.
“I advise people who are putting in for proposals to read what we are asking for,” Sweeney said. “And show that you can do it.”
Louisville District’s Cristie Mitchell, Reserve Support Programs Branch chief, and Misty Bock, Contracting Division acting deputy chief, also participated in panels for the regional event.
Many of the PINK Initiative attendees were encouraged to attend Louisville District’s Business Opportunities Open House, held the following day, as the Louisville District leads the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division in contract awards to women-owned businesses, women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses.
Companies and other individuals met with district leadership, staff and contracting officials at the BOOH. Attendees talked with senior leaders in an open forum setting, which provided insight about the district’s operations, missions and future projects.
“This is one of two open houses we host as a district each year,” Harbin said. “This gives us a chance to not only discuss our mission and upcoming opportunities, but to connect and get feedback from the contractor community while learning more about their capabilities. We continually focus on building relationships and this is a great opportunity for not only government/contractor relationship building but also encourages prime and subcontractors to connect.”
The Louisville District had 18 tables set up with representatives from project management, architect/engineer management, veteran’s affairs, civil works, environmental, master planning, value engineering, cost engineering, geotechnical, construction, operations, regulatory, contracting and small business. The district also had a recruitment table set up for any student interested in working for USACE.
“This year's BOOH was a success with over 275 attendees,” Harbin said. “A lot of great conversations took place which will take us into FY20 on the right foot. I'm looking forward to future events such as this to make our program a success.”