SBC: Recapping Day 3



Day 3 of the SAME Small Business Conference was headlined by three government agency Mega Sessions, featuring senior leadership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

Panelists throughout the morning emphasized their agency’s commitment to small business. However, the key takeaway was not that they want to work with small businesses in order to meet federal contracting goals, but because they believe small businesses are integral partners in helping them meet their missions. What small businesses are able to bring to the table is more important than the fact that they are small businesses. As NAVFAC Small Business Director Scott Crosson said during the NAVFAC Mega Session: “It’s not who you are or what you are—but what you can do. Focus on your capabilities first.”

The morning of day three also featured the continuation of the matched networking sessions, which began Thursday. The sessions enabled small businesses to meet either in small groups or one-on-one with government agencies and potential large business teaming partners.

Nearly 50 percent of the 2,000-plus attendees at the 2015 SAME Small Business Conference represented small businesses.

SAME Small Business Conference at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on November 6, 2015

Small Business Success

From a procurement perspective, in order to ensure that small businesses are considered for projects, there was a common emphasis on the importance of responding to sources sought. Small businesses can influence strategy by responding to sources sought. It also would be beneficial, even if counter-intuitive, to encourage other small businesses in the area to also respond to sources sought if you know they are capable of doing the work. To borrow from the motto of the lottery, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

Strategically, the military services also recognize the value of small businesses to the industrial base of the United States, especially given their flexibility and technical expertise in specific requirements. Forums like the SAME Small Business Conference and encouraging new firms to compete for federal work help to ensure there remains a pipeline of companies to support national security as the readiness and depth of the industrial base is a critical asset.

Additionally, the Corps of Engineers, NAVFAC and Air Force Civil Engineering each identified the large responsibility that they bear for their respective service’s in terms of contracting with small businesses. That’s in part to the commitment of the agencies, but also a testament to the work that small businesses in the A/E/C industry have done, and done well to earn the year-over-year increases in the amount of contracting dollars being awarded to them.

SAME Small Business Conference at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on November 6, 2015

Recognizing Excellence

Afternoon of day 3 of the Small Business Conference featured the winners of the SAME Small Business Awards.

Congratulations to Cabrera Services Inc., awarded the Small Business Award for Support of DOD Programs; to HDR Inc., awarded the Large Business Award for Support of Small Business; to Jerry Shoemaker, of R.H. Shackelford Inc., who was the recipient of the Post Small Business Liaison Officer Award; and to Holly Hutson, of Amec Foster Wheeler, who was named the Industry Small Business Advocate Award winner.

Katrina and Beyond

The 2015 SAME Small Business Conference concluded with a rousing, and inspiring, keynote address by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, USA (Ret.), who served as Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

While Gen. Honore shared some memories from his time in New Orleans after the city was hit, and how the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that came to the support of the people in the communities was so instrumental in turning the conversation away from blame, to one of recovery, his keynote address focused primarily on what we, as a nation, and engineers especially can do—and must do—to increase awareness about flood risk management, and solutions to challenges the world faces with water resources.

There are incredible challenges, Gen. Honore noted, but challenges create opportunities. And engineers are going to be at the core of creating solutions to the problems that are not going away on their own.

SAME Small Business Conference at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on November 6, 2015

Heading to Atlanta in ’16

The 2016 SAME Small Business Conference will be held in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 14-16. Presentations from the government agency briefings are available on the SAME website by clicking here.

Thanks to all the 2,000-plus attendees, 61 sponsors, more than 250 exhibitors and numerous speakers for making the 2015 SAME Small Business Conference a success. To borrow from day one keynote speaker David Nour, it’s all about relationships!