The 2016 Federal Forum and Kentuckiana Post Small Business Workshop (SAME) was held in Louisville Jan. 26-27. Successful project delivery to customers is the district’s basic business tenet. Guest speakers at the workshop took this further noting that “project delivery” begins with lasting relationships and commitments between the district and contractors.
Deputy for Small Business Crystal May and other presenters emphasized that doing business with the Corps requires pre-planning. Monitoring the district’s forecasted projects is a key resource for contractors to prepare before the projects are advertised on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. A business capabilities statement and business cards are “must haves” during face-to-face business, agreed May and HUB Zone/8(a) Certification Program Manager Vernice Mathis. Mathis was also a guest speaker. “Make sure you have your NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code and CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code on your capability statement,” added May. She also said all active contracts are listed on the Louisville District’s web site which is a great resource when searching for potential subcontracting opportunities. All of the Louisville District’s business opportunities are under keyword W912QR in FBO.
A valuable tip that May articulated during the meeting was to know the district’s mission. “Do the homework so you can be prepared to discuss how your capabilities fit into our mission,” she said. Corps districts have different missions, so knowing what they buy is essential.
Chris Brackett, contracting, military/Reserve branch chief, presented on source selection guidance and best practices. Brackett described the differences between trade-off and lowest priced technically acceptable, and he emphasized that contractors need to read the evaluation criteria, attend the site visit, and always request a debriefing. In addition, contractors should not expect the contracting officer to open discussions, and make sure to provide their best price in the original proposal submission.
May provided information to the group on the status of the district’s small business program. It can be described as robust, to say the least. A staggering accomplishment for the district was its FY15 awards of $322 million to small business within the $809 million of total contracts. The Louisville District’s target was 25 percent and the district achieved 40 percent.
Coming full circle, District Commander Col. Christopher Beck said, “We (the Corps) are a powerful organization that values partnerships that lead to a project to support the nation.” The district team values those business contractors who enforce quality, follow schedules and honor their commitments, he said. “Step into a partnership – a lasting relationship,” he said.
Breakout sessions with Corps subject matter experts were well attended. These sessions included:
Approximately 300 attendees joined in the workshop.