CHICAGO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District hosted a Business Opportunities Open House on May 22 for businesses experienced in civil engineering construction, environmental consulting, scientific and technical consulting, and more.
Bonita Carroll, assistant director for the Corps' Office of Small Business Programs, played a big part in organizing the event. She encouraged everyone to continue to attend outreach events such as this, and monitor the district website at www.lrc.usace.army.mil and the fbo.gov website daily, if possible.
“For those attendees who are new entrants to the federal sector, they were advised to consider first teaming with firms with federal experience, seek subcontracting opportunities, engage with their local Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Small Business Administration, and never be too proud to pick up a penny,” said Carroll.
About 50 business leaders from the Chicago area attended the event at the Chicago District’s headquarters on South La Salle Street. The Corps set up tables around the room where businesses could meet experts in construction, safety, civil, mechanical, electrical, structural, interagency and international services, emergency management, contracting, and small business.
The purpose of the event was to provide direct access to leadership and to Corps officials most knowledgeable about the district’s operations, missions, and future requirements, which is a time saver and incredible opportunity for those who worked the room to network and establish relationships.
J. James Mo, president of MoDE Architects, P.C. in Chicago, attended the event for the first time.
“I have previously not seen any vertical construction projects coming out of USACE Chicago and I was pleasantly surprised to see this open house specifically for vertical construction,” Mo said. “So we came in to introduce ourselves.”
Mo met with Carroll, Contract Specialist Anita Simpkins, Emergency Manager Dr. Michelle Dojutrek, and Contracting Office chief Regina Blair. He also spoke with representatives from the construction and international and interagency support divisions.
Participants also had the opportunity to speak with Col. Aaron Reisinger, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District.
The participants had three hours to get to know Chicago District personnel, and early feedback indicated that many took full advantage of the opportunity of the free flow of information. The majority were from the state of Illinois followed by Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin, with a good mixture of small, other-than-small, service-disabled, veteran–owned, women-owned, 8(a) small disadvantaged, and veteran-owned small business concerns.
The Chicago District’s mission focuses on flood risk management and storm damage reduction, navigation, environment, regulatory, emergency management, and interagency and international services in the Chicago metropolitan area, an area of about 5,000 square miles with a population of more than nine million.