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Little Rock District holds $3B network opportunity

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.

Sandra K. Easter, Little Rock District USACE contracting chief speaks with event attendees during the Arkansas Regional Industry Forum held Dec. 6 and 7. The event was a network opportunity between federal agencies and other industry corporations and according to Easter was designed for participation by regional government agencies and prospective contractors worldwide.  The event had more than 117 attendees and seven federal agencies participating.
Sandra K. Easter, Little Rock District USACE contracting chief speaks with event attendees during the Arkansas Regional Industry Forum held Dec. 6 and 7. The event was a network opportunity between federal agencies and industry corporations and according to Easter was designed for participation by regional government agencies and prospective contractors worldwide. The event had more than 100 attendees and seven federal agencies participating.

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.

Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers speakings with a local contractor during the Little Rock Districts Industry Day held Dec 6 to 7. The event was held as a network opportunity between federal agencies and other industry corporations.
Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers engages with a local contractor during the Little Rock Districts Industry Day held Dec 6 and 7. The event was held as a network opportunity between federal agencies and industry corporations.

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 Little Rock District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center hosted an Arkansas Regional Industry Forum Dec. 6 to 7 as a network opportunity between federal agencies and other industry corporations. Launching in December 2013 the Industry Day has successfully grown providing opportunities that coordinate contracting opportunities with prospective contractors, collecting strategic and tactical market research, providing an insight of program requirements, and most importantly has been providing an outreach to small businesses and other strategic partners.
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 the Industry Day has successfully grown providing opportunities that coordinate contracting opportunities with prospective contractors, collecting strategic and tactical market research, providing an insight of program requirements, and most importantly has been providing an outreach to small businesses and other strategic partners.

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.”

Timothy Pighee, Little Rock District contract specialist talks to industry contractors during the Industry Forum held Dec. 6 to 7 as a . The event wasa held as a network opportunity between federal agencies and other industry corporations.
Timothy Pighee, Little Rock District contract specialist talks to industry contractors during the Industry Forum.

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.”

Millwood Lake’s 50th Celebration

By Bryanna R. Poulin

ASHDOWN, Arkansas— As the sweet aroma of barbeque circulated the air and the selection of meats roasted in a nearby smoker about 200 distinguished guests, community members and employees gathered under a large white canopy at Millwood Overlook, Dec. 1, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Millwood Lake and Dam.

Located on the Little River, Millwood Lake has been a key unit in the general flood reduction system for the Red River below Lake Texoma. The project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1946 and modified by the Flood Control Act of 1958. It was designed by and built under the supervision of the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed for flood control operations in 1966 at a cost of $44 million. The project was dedicated Dec. 8, 1966.

Students from Ashford, Ark., say the Pledge of Allegiance during the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec., 1, 2016.
Students from Ashdown, Ark., say the Pledge of Allegiance during the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec., 1, 2016.

Following the opening remarks by Steve Spicer, Millwood-Tri Lakes Project Office, operations project manager, Little Rock District USACE, welcoming guest speakers and attendees and the singing of the National Anthem, the ceremony kicked off with the two local high school students reading their award winning essays.

“Millwood Lake has always been a part of my life. I have many memories of birthday parties, family reunions, fishing with grandmother and learning how to ride a bike,” Christie Sain, a senior from Ashdown High School with blond curly hair and wearing sparkly purple shirt said.  “Not many people can say they learned how to ride a bike in a park at Millwood.”

Even though Sain has many fond childhood memories of Millwood, her connection with the lake goes much deeper.

“Recreation is a way of life as a child and now,” she said.  “It doesn’t get any better than drinking tea and eating fish caught on the side of a river bank.”

Christie Sain, a senior from Ashdown High School reads her essay during the Millwood Lake and Dam 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1. Sain who grew up on Millwood Lake was awarded 1st place and received a $1000 college scholarship. Sain said she has many fond childhood memories of Millwood and that it doesn't get any better than drinking tea and eating fish caught on the side of Millwood river bank.
Christie Sain, a senior from Ashdown High School reads her essay during the Millwood Lake and Dam 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1. Sain who grew up on Millwood Lake was awarded 1st place and received a $1000 college scholarship. Sain said she has many fond childhood memories of Millwood and that it doesn’t get any better than drinking tea and eating fish caught on the side of Millwood river bank.

Once the high school senior finished her essay and before she could nervously make her way back to her seat, Denny Gray, president and board of directors for Southwest Arkansas Water District presented her with a $1000 college scholarship.

“What a wonderful essay Christie [Sain] and it’s my pleasure to present this to you,” Gray said handing Sain the scholarship.

Following Sains powerful essay, Ashdown High School Senior Jacob Purifoy walked upon the stage and read his essay to convey what Millwood Lake meant to him.

“I can always remember from childhood to just a few weeks ago, those mini trips across the river channels and campfires on the shores,” Purifoy said.  “The rows and rows of hydroponic trees with dozens of fishing swarming… that make great catching on cool, breezy fall evenings.”

Purifoy talked about his midsummer’s days, where daytime television was mediocre so he would call up a friend to sit on the pier, bait fishing and laughing for hours on end.

“We would go relax on that old lake facing swing set or hitting up the horseshoes,” he said.  “I do want to point out, the friend I’d call up, is my friend Christie.” [Sain]

Shortly after Purifoy finished his essay, he was presented with a $500 college scholarship from University of Arkansas for coming in 2nd place.

A couple from Ashford, Ark., enjoy the scenic overlook at Millwood Lake after attending the 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016. More than 200 people attended the event and were treated to a full spread of barbeque food, cake and punch and had the opportunity to meet Little Rock District Commander Col. Robert G. Dixon.
A couple from Ashdown, Ark., enjoy the scenic overlook at Millwood Lake after attending the 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016. More than 200 people attended the event and were treated to a full spread of barbeque food, cake and punch and had the opportunity to meet Little Rock District Commander Col. Robert G. Dixon.

After the essays were read and scholarships given, Col. Robert G. Dixon, commander, Little Rock District USACE gave his closing remarks with a brief history of the dam and the reason for the celebration.

“Now about a half a century ago, people like us stood up in front of podiums just like these and gave similar speeches,” Dixon said. “As they dedicated this project to the people of this region and began an era where the constant flooding that used to plague communities downstream of here…was no longer a threat.”

Dixon shared the accomplishment of building such a massive structure during a time where many people didn’t’ agree.

Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talks about the lakes history during his closing remarks at the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016.
Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talks about the lakes history during his closing remarks at the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016.

“Some of you might have been here in 1966 to hear some colonel from the Corps talk about the five years it took to build the dam and the obstacles they had to overcome,” Dixon said.  “These, of course were amazing feats. Constructing the longest earthen dam in Arkansas is no small task, and overcoming protests from three states and multiple citizens and businesses must have been difficult at best.”

Dixon talked about the struggles in the past and how building the dam was exciting for the town where the dam would eventually call home.

“You see, building the dam was exciting, newsworthy work,” Dixon said. “Watching this structure emerge from the ground and tame the Little River is a tribute to modern engineering and the fortitude of hundreds of workers.”

Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers puts memorabilia in a time capsule after the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016.
Colonel Robert G. Dixon, Commander of Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers puts memorabilia in a time capsule after the Millwood Lakes 50th anniversary celebration held Dec. 1, 2016.

Even though the construction of the dam was exciting, Dixon concluded the ceremony saying similar to the lake and dam, USACE employees were just as dedicated 50 years ago as they are now.

“Just as our structure quietly hold back millions of gallons water, our team of great folks are dedicated to quietly caring for it… the lake, its resources and this community” Dixon said thankfully. “Millwood Dam has stood strong for the past five decades and I am reassured by the dedication and professionalism of our team and the constant support of this great community, it will certainly stand for another five decades or more.”