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Tulsa District employees celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month

Kent Dunlap, chief of natural resources and recreation, Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes contact with a pinata, Oct. 7. Tulsa District employees celebrated Hispanic Heritage by taking turns hitting a pinata.
Kent Dunlap, chief of natural resources and recreation, Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes contact with a pinata, Oct. 7. Tulsa District employees celebrated Hispanic Heritage by taking turns hitting a pinata.

Tulsa District employees recognized National Hispanic Heritage month and releived a little stress near the end of the workday by taking swings at a pinata, Oct. 7.

Pinatas are clay or paper mache animals or caricatures that are filled with sweets. In Mexico, and many other countries, blindfolded children take turns swinging a stick or bat at the pinatas to release the candy or sweets.

National Hispanic Heritage month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and recognizes Hispanic and Latino American heritage and culture. The pinata is believed to have originated in China, where paper was invented. The explorer, Marco Polo, is believed to have encountered it in his travels to Asia, and introduced it to Italy, where it came to be called “pignatta” which is Italian for “fragile pot”.

The practice spread to Spain and missionaries introduced it to the Americas.


USACE Galveston District awards $61 million worth of small business contracts during FY15

GALVESTON, Texas (Oct. 7, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, awarded $61 million in contracts to small businesses during fiscal year 2015 and is aiming to award $65 million in FY16.

“Small businesses remain vital to the economic growth of the Texas Gulf Coast Region and create nearly two out of three jobs in our nation’s economy,” said Ken Adams, USACE Galveston District director for Small Business. “We understand the significant impact these entrepreneurs have particularly on our local economy and encourage small businesses to expand their customer base and consider the federal government as a source of business.”

Adams says last month alone, the small business contract awards ranged from supplying buoys for $509,565 to awarding the Green Bayou north detention basin and outfall structure in the amount $5,716,300, adding that he encourages consumers and government agencies to give local businesses an opportunity to provide services, but recognizes there is work that needs to be done up front before a small business can be awarded a federal contract.

“You’ll need to register your business with the federal government through the SBA’s database called the System for Award Management (located at www.sam.gov),” said Adams. “It’s imperative that small businesses register with the SAM because federal agencies cannot award any contract to a business unless it is registered in this database and has been issued a Data Universal Numbering System (that assigns a unique numeric identifier to a single business entity). Additionally, all small businesses must be SBA registered before they can be awarded a contract by any federal agencies.”

According to Adams, many factors are considered when determining if a business qualifies as a small business, however for federal purposes, a small business is determined by either the average number of employees over the past 12 months or if the average annual revenue over the past three years is less than the North American Industry Classification System designated amount for a small business. More specifically, the small business categories that the USACE Galveston District recognizes are determined by federal guidelines and include: Small Business; Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SBA’s 8 (a) program); Women-Owned Small Businesses; Hubzone Small Businesses; Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Historically Black College Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI).

“We advise small businesses to visit the federal agencies’ websites it wishes to conduct business with to determine if their products and services are used or if its technology would help the agency to become more efficient in cost and/or productivity,” said Adams. “The Galveston District continues to perform market research to identify small businesses to support our mission, which spans along the entire Texas coast, and continues to seek opportunities to award contracts to these businesses.”

The Galveston District participates in a Set-Aside Program (for all the small business categories above except HBCU/MI) that allows the district to classify contracts as “only open for competition purposes” to small businesses. Additionally, the district may also award contracts on a sole source basis to any 8(a) small business (other than architectural and engineering contracts) amounts less than $4 million.

“The Set-Aside Program helps to ensure that small businesses are awarded a fair proportion of government contracts by setting aside select government purchases exclusively for participation by small businesses,” said Adams. “In fiscal year 2014, we awarded $31,797,541 in contracts to small businesses and $14,218,285 so far in FY15 out of approximately $50 million in available funding.”

“With such a vast pool of small business services to draw from, we really hope to see an increase in owners participating in SBA programs that support small business growth,” said Adams.

Learn more about the USACE Galveston District’s Small Business Program at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/SmallBusinessOffice.aspx or visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.