Industry Day 2017

Story and Photos by Gina Baltrusch The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District hosted more than 130 business owners during the Corps’ “Industry Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in Walla […]

Story and Photos by Gina Baltrusch

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District hosted more than 130 business owners during the Corps’ “Industry Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center 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, and a panel of District staff members involved with reviewing contract proposals answered questions posed by attendees.

Break-out sessions focused on construction, environmental and service contract requirements. (U.S. Army photo by Gina Baltrusch)

Break-out sessions focused on construction, environmental and service contract requirements. (U.S. Army photo by Gina Baltrusch)

“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,” said James Glynn, Small Business Programs Manager for the Walla Walla District.

Sandy Young, an economically disadvantaged, woman-owned, small-business owner from Eagle River, Alaska, attended previous Corps’ Industry Day events to learn how Verdis, her civil-engineering/construction/landscape-architecture company, could compete for Corps contracts and network with other businesses. The information and networking opportunities with other businesses were worth the trip to Walla Walla, she said.

“Since last years’ event, my company has been able to compete for and win two small-business contracts with the Walla Walla District” said Young. “In the past two years, we’ve been able to land 21 contracts with various federal agencies.”

For many attendees, Industry Day offered the chance to network with other businesses who do work for the Corps.
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.

Jean DesJarlais, the District’s hydropower business line manager, and Julie Morris, a contract specialist, answer questions from Industry Day attendees. (U.S. Army photo by Gina Baltrusch)

Jean DesJarlais, the District’s hydropower business line manager, and Julie Morris, a contract specialist, answer questions from Industry Day attendees. (U.S. Army photo by Gina Baltrusch)

Young had some advice for small-business owners who want to become more competitive for federal contracting opportunities:
“Get in your car or on a plane and attend every one of these events that you can with the Corps and other federal agencies. The networking at these events is invaluable,’ she said, “and sometimes it’s the industry contact you might least expect to do business with that blossoms into work for your company as a sub-contractor.”

The Walla Walla District awards contracts for construction projects, architect-engineering studies, and supplies and services needed to operate their facilities.

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