Bryanna R. Poulin
The Little Rock District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center hosted an Arkansas Regional Industry Forum Dec. 6 and 7 as a network opportunity between federal agencies and industry corporations.
Launching in December 2013 Industry Day has continued to provide contracting opportunities with prospective contractor. Furthermore the event collects strategic and tactical market research, provides an insight of program requirements but more importantly has provided an outreach to small business and strategic partners.
“The forum is designed for participation by regional government agencies and prospective contractors worldwide,” Sandra K. Easter, Little Rock District contracting chief said.
Coupled with establishing acquisition plans, the event allows the district a chance to partner with local contractors while encouraging interest in federal government contracting requirements.
“The two day event allowed an advance preview of more than $3 billion in business opportunities from seven government organizations and 118 contractors present,” Easter said. “Prospective contractors were able to network and partner with government officials and other firms within their field of expertise.”
The majority of the first day comprised of attendees having the chance to learn about government contracting and consisted of various government agencies leading a discussion panel describing their contracting opportunities. The open forum panel gave contractors the chance to ask their questions while getting feedback from the various government agencies.
Essentially the event offers outreach and constructive engagement with industry through advance acquisition planning; strategic and tactical market research; exchanges with prospective bidders and offerors during agency focus groups and capability briefings Easter said.
Closing out the first day Arkansas Post of the Society of American Military Engineers held an icebreaker giving everyone the chance to network in a relax atmosphere.
“Prospective contractors were able to network with other firms in their industry and allowed industry collaboration with multiple government agencies to compete for business opportunities,” Easter said.
Kicking off the second day attendees had a chance to take part in various training courses on things like proposal writing, solicitations and joint ventures.
“Contractors received valuable training helping them work through the acquisition process,” Timothy Pighee, Little Rock District contract specialist said.
The training, which was conducted by APAC taught prospective contractors on how to submit winning best value proposals, Easter explained.
Interestingly enough contractors aren’t the only ones who benefit from the event.
“The office of Federal Procurement and Policy encourages government agencies to provide early, frequent, and constructive engagement with industry that will lead to better acquisition outcomes,” Easter said. “Industry Day enhances competition for participation in government business opportunities, allows and advance preview of business opportunities to help industry prepare to compete and facilitates analysis and competitive market research to develop quality acquisition strategies.”
Basically Industry Day has two purposes.
“The first purpose is for government agencies,” Pighee said. “Industry Day provides government agencies the opportunity to coordinate upcoming contracting opportunities with prospective contractors. It also allows government agencies the chance to collect strategic and tactical market research. The second purpose is for industry contractors. Contractors receive information on upcoming contracting opportunities and provides an excellent opportunity for contractors to network with other contractors in the industry.”
As Industry Day concluded both Easter and Pighee agreed the event was a success.
“Prospective contractors were able to leverage the collective expertise of government officials that help influence and shape acquisition strategies, Easter said. “The forum allowed firms to present their core competencies and capabilities, network with their industry partners, and compete for over $3 billion in business opportunities within their area of expertise.”
In short the joint effort between government agencies and contractors presented opportunities that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
“I feel that the event was very successful for three reasons,” Pighee concluded. “Contractors learned about upcoming contracting opportunities, contractors received valuable training that will help them work through the acquisition process and contractors were able to network with other contractors in the industry.”