NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 15, 2017) – Business leaders met with Corps of Engineers officials at Tennessee State University today for the Business Opportunities Open House, commonly referred to as the “BOOH” event.
About 100 small and large business leaders attended the event at Tennessee State University’s Avon Williams Campus to learn about the Nashville District’s missions and projects, gain access to Corps experts and decision makers, and learn about what the Corps is planning in the future.
Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commander, led the Corps’ efforts to provide information and answer questions.
“This is a very effective way of exchanging information,” Toy said. “I’m really glad that those that maybe needed some additional information or wanted to talk to specific individuals, they could do so in a way that is effective for them.”
The Nashville District hosted the “BOOH” event and set up tables around the room where businesses could meet experts in hydropower, recreation, operations, water management, construction, engineering, project management, planning, contracting, legal, safety, security, facility management, information technology, and geographic information systems.
The purpose of the event is 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. Participants had access to Maj. Justin Toole, Nashville District acting commander, and other district officials who provided information and answered questions.
Jack Heaton, Andritz Hydro Business Development director, met with Jamie James, Nashville District Section 212 Hydropower Rehabilitation Program manager, and asked questions about operations and maintenance, and the rehabilitation project for the district’s 28 hydropower units in the Cumberland River Basin.
Heaton said Andritz Hydro designs, manufactures, installs and tests hydropower equipment from water to wires, and so getting a chance to talk directly with James gave him the chance to obtain information about possible future work opportunities.
“It’s always good to come to one spot and meet 10 people instead of one and get current with what major projects are coming up, and what help and assistance may be needed in getting to that point,” Heaton said.
Christopher Ballard with Simms Building Group in St. Louis, Mo., met with the general and other Corps officials because he wanted to navigate the federal procurement system and figure out how to drum up work for the company.
“So I’m trying to put names with faces and really understand who the players are,” Ballard said. “I’m originally from Nashville so I’m trying to create business and opportunities here for our company.”
Because the Corps of Engineers is everywhere, Ballard added that an event like “BOOH” can lead to work and opportunities elsewhere in the country.
The participants spent four hours meeting and greeting Nashville District’s personnel and gleaning information, but the Corps of Engineers also benefited from the opportunity to learn about industry innovations, capabilities and ideas.
“Not only are they learning about us as an organization, but we’re learning about them and how they operate, because a lot of these companies are on the cutting edge of innovation and doing things differently,” Toy said. “We need to stay abreast of it as well.”
Toy said the “BOOH” is a simple yet valuable concept because contractors can speak to whomever they want based on what their needs are so they can posture their company for possible work with the Corps.
Toole said more than 20 Corps officials facilitated the constant flow of information as business leaders engaged them about the Corps of Engineers’ missions, operations and contracting forecasts.
“The engagement makes it possible for us to build valuable partnerships with stakeholders, which benefits the Nashville District and the small and large businesses that are seeking to work on Corps of Engineer projects,” Toole said. “This interaction helps businesses better understand the federal procurement process, and helps the Nashville District better understand the capabilities of local businesses. Ultimately this leads to Corps projects being completed on time and on budget.”
The major also expressed his appreciation for the district’s partners in the Small Business Development Center at Tennessee State University, who helped make the event possible.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. Small business can also get information about the Nashville District’s Small Business Office at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Small-Business/.)