ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- Representatives of small businesses from all over New Mexico and as far away as California and Florida participated in the District’s annual 2013 Small Business Industry Day at its main office, Aug. 1.
“It's a great opportunity for the Albuquerque District to showcase to industry what we do and our future contracting opportunities to help us accomplish our construction, environmental and engineering projects, thus carry out our mission,” the District’s Deputy for Small Business Daniel Curado said.
The event also helped the District “expand our overall industry base, especially with small businesses, which we are required by law to set aside to a certain percentage of our prime contracts every year,” Curado said.
Participants were primarily from small businesses engaged in general construction, engineering, environmental services and operations, and maintenance of facilities. Close to 150 people registered before space ran out and registration closed. Fifty more were on the waiting list.
“Working with small business is really important,” District Commander Lt. Col. Antoinette R. Gant said in her opening remarks. “We are all about partnerships and community and growing them,” she said.
Speakers from several District sections addressed the attendees. Deputy District Engineer John D’Antonio provided an overview of the Albuquerque District including its civil works, Military and Interagency/International Support missions, its five focus areas and initiatives, and current challenges and successes.
Blaine Kemsley, chief of the IIS Project Management Section, focused on the Military and IIS Missions and said businesses need to know that many projects and contract awards in his section have a quick turnaround time.
Jeff Nelson, chief of the A/E Contracting Section, gave advice and tips on how to get architect-engineer contracts with the District. Mark Yuska, chief of the Operations Division, talked about the sometimes overlooked Operations mission which includes recreation. Unlike most of the District’s other work which is project funded, Yuska said that Operations receives congressional appropriations.
“A lot of Ops projects tend to be smaller,” Yuska said and his division uses “a lot of 8(a) businesses.”
A socially or economically disadvantaged small business that meets other certain requirements can be designated as 8(a) certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for nine years. During this time they are supposed to follow a detailed developmental plan developed by SBA. Being 8(a) certified allows vendors and contractors to directly negotiate 8(a) sole source contracts with federal agencies without competition within specified limitations.
Curado finished the day going over how to do business with the District and some of the resources available to small business. There are different ways the District purchases goods and services, and thus different ways for businesses to get involved.
Small businesses “are our partners and we really look forward to working with you,” D’Antonio said.
Several attendees said that it was a great opportunity to learn more about working with the Corps and networking with others and that they would likely attend next year’s event.