By Leon Roberts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District exceeded its goal of two percent of all contractible actions for women-owned small businesses in fiscal year 2013.
Roy Rossignol, Nashville District Small Business Office chief, said the achievement is significant because the district had upwards of $200 million in total contracts -- and awards went to more than 50 women-owned small businesses that accounted for about $21 million of that total.
"It gives me a good feeling that small businesses, and particularly women-owned small businesses, have the capabilities to engage and succeed in the government procurement system," Rossignol said.
According to Rossignol, the primary reason the district exceeded its two percent goal is because the women-owned small business Avisco, Inc., received a $12.6 million contract in April 2013 for the second phase of the Bear Creek Road Construction and Waterline Relocation Project at the Y12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. This single award accounted for nearly two-thirds of the district's two percent goal for women-owned small business.
"It is also important to note that Avisco competed against several other large businesses to get this award," Rossignol said.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander, lauded the work of the entire project delivery team responsible for working with small businesses and awarding contracts.
"This is a great milestone and the work that went into facilitating the needs of women-owned small businesses and helping them to understand the procurement system is really notable and deserving of recognition," Hudson said.
Rossignol said it's difficult to achieve the women-owned small business goals because the 83 North American Industry Classification System codes do not favor construction projects.
"They are more geared toward service and supply type things," he said. "If we're going to set something aside where it is only available to be bid by women then it has to be one of those 83 NAICS codes."
"They are more geared toward service and supply type things," he said.
Rossignol added that it's very difficult for the Corps to find something that we can actually truly set aside for women-owned small business.
"So when we find opportunities we always try to do our best," Rossignol said. "We've had good success here in the district. Contracting does a great job identifying things that can be set aside for women-owned small businesses, and we would like to consider ourselves the women-owned small business center of excellence for the Corps of Engineers."
The statutory goal for contractible actions for women-owned small businesses is five percent, but this amount was lowered for the Nashville District because of the very large contracts that were ongoing in 2013 at Wolf Creek Dam, Center Hill Dam and Kentucky Lock.
Valerie Carlton, Nashville District Directorate of Contracting chief, said the district's Small Business Office made great strides this past year facilitating the needs of business owners. This milestone is indicative of Rossignol's efforts to reach out to customers and to help them through the process of doing business with the federal government, she added.
"Roy receives hundreds of contacts from small businesses during any given month," Carlton said. "He attends conferences and symposiums in the area at every opportunity. Roy utilizes the weekly acquisition committee meeting to provide input on the concerns of small business for use with upcoming procurements. As a result of his proactive participation, the district met its small business goals for the first time in several years."
In March 2013 Rossignol helped organize the 2nd Annual Small Business Training Forum at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams Campus, which provided extensive information about women-owned business to more than 250 business owners and managers in attendance.
He also worked very hard to advise and help businesses get into position to bid on government contracts. He helped them with the bidding process, keeping their registrations current, and identified and matched business capabilities with the district's requirements.
Rossignol said he is gratified knowing small businesses are bidding and being awarded contracts in the Nashville District.
"They (the small businesses) are succeeding and I just had a very small part of that. It's mainly their capabilities and the magic that Contracting does," Rossignol said. He stressed that the entire project delivery team with the Nashville District deserves credit for reaching this milestone.