The New York District participated in the 2019 Federal Small Business Conference in Dallas in November, joining 46 Army Corps of Engineers’ Districts across the United States and Army Corps Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite.
In its seventh year, the conference was sponsored by the Society of American Military Engineers, an organization bringing together public and private-sector organizations from the architecture, engineering, construction and facility management disciplines in support of national security.
Small Business Deputy
Justin Helfman, New York District’s Deputy for Small Business, attending for the second year, said, “We’re always looking to build our base of capable small businesses,” adding, “The conference was very successful in furthering that goal.” Helfman met with many small businesses that have positive past performance with other Army Corps Districts worldwide that have strong interest in doing business with the New York District.
Also in attendance was New York District Commander Col. Thomas Asbery, along with Contracting Chief Frances Cashman, and Engineering Military Branch Chief Robert Gerrits. Attracting 3,500 attendees and 350 exhibitors and focusing on architectural, engineering, construction and facility management industries, many federal agencies participated: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, General Services Administration, and others.
Army Corps’ Presence
New York District joined its sister Districts from North Atlantic Division (New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk and Transatlantic). The conference was designed to help agency representatives operate more effectively in the federal marketplace to:
• Deliver useful, comprehensive market research
• Learn about and share upcoming contracting opportunities
• Connect with teaming partners
• Support the nation's contracting goals
Other aspects of the conference had a micro focus:
• Business Opportunity Briefings: Federal agencies shared upcoming procurement and contracting requirements for small business.
• Education Sessions: Providing insights into how small businesses can be more successful in the federal government
• Networking Roundtables: Connecting small businesses with government agencies and large companies in a small-group format
The Army Corps has increased its presence at the conference the past few years, such as meeting with small-, small-disadvantaged-, Hub Zone- (a U.S. Small Business Administration program for small companies that operate and employ people in Historically Under-utilized Business Zones), veteran- and woman-owned businesses. New York’s Small Business Office regularly participates in smaller outreach events throughout New York and New Jersey to help companies participate as sub-contractors for major civil works projects.
Small Business Priority
Small businesses had priority networking with contracting officers and small business liaisons from Army Corps Districts to learn about opportunities, inquire about government’ needs and build business relationships.
This year’s keynote speaker was Matthew Griffin, a West Point grad and co-founder and Corporate Executive Officer of a footwear and apparel company selling goods manufactured in conflict- and past-conflict zones. Griffin’s address focused on being persistent, as new business owners will go through many trials and tribulations. He also focused on taking risks, chasing big goals, and creating positive change with audiences globally.