HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville has a longstanding history of utilizing small businesses as a valued source of skills supporting national security. Besides improving the economy, projects critical to the Center's mission are mostly completed using small business.
In fiscal 2019, the Center executed more than $2 billion in contract actions, pushing the Army Corps of Engineers’ Huntsville-based specialized technical support organization past the $6 billion mark over the last 10 years.
Last year, Huntsville Center directed awards valued at more than $789 million to small businesses.
During the 2019 Society of American Military Engineers Federal Small Business Conference Excellence in Contracting Awards Program Nov. 21, 2019 in Dallas, Texas, the Center was awarded 1st Place in Small Business ($790 million), 1st Place in Small Disadvantaged Business ($416 million) and 2nd Place in Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business ($98.6 million).
Rebecca Goodsell, Huntsville Center Office of Small Business chief, said there has been a steady increase in the amount of contract obligations going to small business, a result of a unique cultural shift among the engineers, project managers and contracting specialists providing unique solutions in support of national interest.
Goodsell said over the decade, the Center’s leadership has pushed a policy focused on providing ‘maximum practicable’ prime and subcontracting opportunities to small firms. The focus directly impacts not only on the services Huntsville Center provides, but also the success of small businesses.
“Small businesses represent more than 30 million companies, employs more than half of all private sector employees and generate more than half of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” Goodsell said. “It’s the economic growth engine for America, providing jobs, innovation and competition in industry.”
Although Huntsville Center’s obligation rate is in excess of $2 billion annually, Chip Marin III, Huntsville Center programs director, said the use of small business to execute thousands of task orders with an average cost at less than $250,000 is critical to the Center’s success.
Marin said lower dollar task order contracts are not necessarily conducive to large business operating procedures and business practices.
“However, they (lower-dollar contracts) are ideally suited to small business because their business procedures are geared towards smaller sized task orders and projects. Where large business is unable to compete, our small businesses are ideally suited to do so.”
Marin said additionally, small business drives the economy of the nation.
“Small business employees are our neighbors, families, local merchants and the new start-up companies who are trying to carve out a living for themselves,” he said. “It is essential to our nation and economy that small business retain capability to execute and continue to contribute to our local communities. In many cities and towns across this great nation it is small business that remains the economic engine that sustains the community.”