By: Jay Woods
Little Rock District
The Arkansas Regional Industry Days brought out 123 businesses and 177 business representatives to North Little Rock High School to learn about $1.7 billion in contracting opportunities available within the region during fiscal year 2016 and 2017.
“It is fantastic to be able to see how much this industry day has really grown in the last few years,” said Denver S. Heath, Regional Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting. “I believe it is a model for other regions to follow.”
The two day, semi-annual event draws contractors from all over the country. This year 14 government entities including the Corps’ Tulsa District, Memphis District, Engineer Research and Development Center and the Little Rock Air Force Base attended the two day event.
The industry forum has a two-fold mission. It allows contractors the opportunity to see the work load that the agencies are presenting and it allows the contractor to learn how to conduct business with the government. Secondly, for the government it is about understanding which contractors are available so the government can execute their mission and increase competition.
On the first day of the industry forum each agency gave an overview of their business lines. Attendees were then able to compare each agency’s project list against their core competencies to ensure they made networking plans with the appropriate government representatives.
The second day of the forum included vendor capability briefings, district and agency open houses, focus groups on specific topics and training. The information presented by attendees and garnered by the government representatives will be used by each federal agency and the Corps to better understand capabilities and resources for future contracting opportunities.
Training presented by the Small Business Administration on their agency programs and General Services Administration on their contract schedules wrapped up the second and final day of the forum.
Each government agency in attendance hoped this forum produced a group of competitive contractors that they can use in the future.
“By attending the Industry Day Forum, we hope to increase our vendor base and increase competition on our projects that will ultimately result in better pricing for our government,” said Maj. Jamey Hartsel, commander, 19th Contracting Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base.