WALLA WALLA, Wash. – More than 100 business owners and representatives attended the Corps’ “Industry Day” on October 13 at the Walla Walla District headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington.
The day-long event was open to those interested in learning about how to do business with the Corps, upcoming contract opportunities, competing for contracts, or showcasing capabilities.
District personnel presented informational briefings, discussed upcoming contracting opportunities and processes. A small-business panel discussed socio-economic programs in contracting with the government.
Covered topics also included how to respond to a sources sought and solicitation notices, how to register in the online contractor System for Award Management (SAM), and where and how to find Corps contracting opportunities.
“The Walla Walla District is an economic driver in this region and actively seeks contractors to support our efforts,” said James Glynn, Small Business Programs Manager for the Walla Walla District. “For many small-business owners with little or no experience doing business with federal agencies, competing for government contracts can be a challenging process. We regularly offer Industry Day seminars for business owners to get some first-hand help in learning the policies, processes and opportunities to do business with us.”
For many attendees, Industry Day offered the chance to network with other businesses who do work for the Corps.
Sandy Young, an economically disadvantaged, woman-owned, small-business owner from Eagle River, Alaska, attended Industry Day to learn how to compete for Corps contracts and network with other businesses.
“My company has done work for other federal agencies, but it’s been a challenge to compete for Corps contracts because of the complexity of the scope of work on many of the Corps’ large jobs,” she said. “We’re a relatively new business -- I just got our SBA status approved last year -- so I’ve attended this and the last two years’ Industry Days to learn more about what types of work the Corps contracts out, what its contracting processes are, and how Verdis, my civil-engineering/construction/landscape-architecture company, might be able to do business with the Corps, or perhaps other larger companies which get Corps contracts.”
That small-business to large-business networking can be key to successful federal contract performance. Large businesses which have capacity to perform complex, high-value work often sub-contract with small businesses to perform portions of total scope of work. Several large-business attendees said finding sub-contractors with the skills and capacity needed can be challenging.
“Like federal agencies, large businesses also need to meet certain Small Business Administration requirements. Events like Industry Day can be very valuable to them because they put them in direct contact with small businesses that have a variety of capabilities that they could possibly use to fulfill their small-business-plan goals,” explained Glynn. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The Walla Walla District awards contracts for construction projects, architect-engineering studies, and supplies and services needed to operate their facilities. These contracting opportunities total $90 to $130 million annually. The district is responsible for managing environmental, hydroelectric, navigation, engineering, construction, emergency management and recreation services within a region covering 107,000 square miles that includes parts of six states. The district operates and maintains six hydroelectric power facilities, four flood-risk-reduction projects and $2.5 billion of infrastructure.
Another Industry Day is set for Nov. 1 in Boise, Idaho, in in the Corps' Boise Regulatory Offices, 720 Park Blvd, Boise, Idaho, 83712. There is no charge to participate, although registration is required. Registration can be made online through https://www.eventbrite.com/e/usace-walla-walla-district-small-business-industry-day-boise-tickets-27855989013
. For more information, contact James Glynn, small business programs manager, at 509-527-7434 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Walla Walla District’s Contracting Facebook page www.facebook/com/wallawallacontracting
will keep prospective attendees updated on future events as they are scheduled.