US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District Website Website

District Digest News Stories

Forum highlights women-owned small businesses

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published March 17, 2016
Valerie Carlton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Contracting chief, speaks with Tina Reese, Avanti Environmental Group, and Gary Reese, AEG, during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Valerie Carlton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Contracting chief, speaks with Tina Reese, Avanti Environmental Group, and Gary Reese, AEG, during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, welcomes more than 350 small business owners and managers to the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016. The Nashville District worked to educate business professionals about available tools and resources, and provided information on how to get assistance with the procurement process.

Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, welcomes more than 350 small business owners and managers to the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016. The Nashville District worked to educate business professionals about available tools and resources, and provided information on how to get assistance with the procurement process.

Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry speak with Joe Bailey, a government relations business development executive with Phillips & Jordan, during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University.  About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry speak with Joe Bailey, a government relations business development executive with Phillips & Jordan, during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University. About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, addresses attendees about the federal market place changes and how they affect women's small businesses during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, addresses attendees about the federal market place changes and how they affect women's small businesses during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry touts women-owned small business opportunity during the Small Business Conference held at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams Campus March 17, 2016. Barry is the first-ever woman mayor in Music City.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry touts women-owned small business opportunity during the Small Business Conference held at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams Campus March 17, 2016. Barry is the first-ever woman mayor in Music City.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry notes that Wallet Hub named Nashville as the best city for women entrepreneurs out of the 100 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry notes that Wallet Hub named Nashville as the best city for women entrepreneurs out of the 100 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry touts the incredible climate that now exists in Music City for small business, entrepreneurs, and creatives during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry touts the incredible climate that now exists in Music City for small business, entrepreneurs, and creatives during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, addresses attendees about the federal market place changes and how they affect women's small businesses during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, addresses attendees about the federal market place changes and how they affect women's small businesses during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Candace Waterman, Women's Business Enterprise National Counsel Certification and Program Operations chief of staff, talks about women-owned small business certification processes during a panel discussion March 17, 2016 at the Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University.  About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Candace Waterman, Women's Business Enterprise National Counsel Certification and Program Operations chief of staff, talks about women-owned small business certification processes during a panel discussion March 17, 2016 at the Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University. About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Ann Sullivan, Madison Services Group president, speaks about women impacting public policy and sole source changes during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University.  About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 17

Ann Sullivan, Madison Services Group president, speaks about women impacting public policy and sole source changes during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University. About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Valerie Carlton (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Contracting chief, provides information to Patricia Bonilla, president and CEO of Lunacon Construction Group, during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University. The forum focused on women-owned small businesses.  About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 17

Valerie Carlton (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Contracting chief, provides information to Patricia Bonilla, president and CEO of Lunacon Construction Group, during the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University. The forum focused on women-owned small businesses. About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Linda L. Spadaro (Right), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District Small Business Office chief, interacts with Kathy Scarbrough during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 17

Linda L. Spadaro (Right), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District Small Business Office chief, interacts with Kathy Scarbrough during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Crystal May, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Small Business Office chief, assists several attendees with their questions during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 17

Crystal May, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Small Business Office chief, assists several attendees with their questions during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Karen Brady (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District Small Business Program manager, and Estella Blackman, also from the Memphis District, assist Jim Speakman of Powers Hill Designs LLC., during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 17

Karen Brady (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District Small Business Program manager, and Estella Blackman, also from the Memphis District, assist Jim Speakman of Powers Hill Designs LLC., during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Linda Spadaro (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District Small Business Office chief, interacts with Melanie Mitchell, Aqua Marine Enterprises, Inc., and Matt Reed, GoToMarket Solutions, during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 15 of 17

Linda Spadaro (Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District Small Business Office chief, interacts with Melanie Mitchell, Aqua Marine Enterprises, Inc., and Matt Reed, GoToMarket Solutions, during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Karen Baker, Huntsville Engineering and Support Center, assists Lori Walters, Win Engineering LLC., during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 16 of 17

Karen Baker, Huntsville Engineering and Support Center, assists Lori Walters, Win Engineering LLC., during the 5th Annual Small Business Forum at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., March 17, 2016.

Loretta Molter (Left), CEO of Molter Corporation, networks with Sandy Hunter, CEO and president of Hunter Hawk Inc., at the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University.  About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 17 of 17

Loretta Molter (Left), CEO of Molter Corporation, networks with Sandy Hunter, CEO and president of Hunter Hawk Inc., at the Small Business Forum March 17, 2016 at Tennessee State University. About 360 small businesses were represented at the event sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 17, 2016) – More than 350 business owners and managers visited Music City today to get more in tune with federal, state and local procurement systems during the 5th Annual Small Business Training Forum at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams Campus.

The Tennessee State University Small Business Development Center, University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District partnered and organized the event with the theme “Women-Owned Small Business.”

The Nashville District Small Business Office participated and worked to educate business professionals about available tools and resources, and provided information on how to get assistance with the procurement process.

Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, Nashville District commander, said the objective of the forum is to make sure small businesses can network and are better equipped to participate in the federal procurement process. 

“The Department of the Army and Corps of Engineers are very committed to small businesses,” Murphy said.  “Sometimes getting work with the Army, with the Corps, seems like a daunting experience.  But the Corps’ small business mission statement includes the statement, ‘Developing small businesses and maximizing their opportunities to participate in our procurements thereby ensuring a broad base of capable suppliers to support the Corps of Engineers’ mission and strengthen our nation’s economic development.’”

Building on that statement, the 43 Corps of Engineers districts are challenged and directed to award specific percentages of contracts every year to small businesses, he said.

“The key takeaway,” Murphy said, “is that the Corps is very serious about maximizing your opportunities.  So I think if you are here today, you definitely have an opportunity.  And if not with the Nashville District, then regionally with the Corps or nationally.”

To help small businesses through the process, Murphy gave his five points or the “so what” takeaways from the federal procurement perspective that would be useful to businesses trying to receive federal contracts.

Murphy emphasized that small businesses need to read solicitation packages carefully and understand the requirements, terms and conditions.  He said it’s also important to refer to the solicitation regarding questions and point of contact; to register in the System of Award Management, to provide the best price and proposal the first time; and to be aware of all safety requirements to be able to provide an acceptable prevention plan if awarded a contract.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also spoke and welcomed everyone to the small business forum and noted how there is an incredible climate now in Music City for small business, entrepreneurs, and creatives.

“I really believe that that’s the backbone of how Nashville has to continue to grow and prosper with our economic development,” Barry said.  “I want the folks in this room to be my HCAs (Healthcare Corporation of America) and my Bridgestones in 20 years.  In order to do that though, we’ve got to create a business climate that you can grow, and I think we’re doing that.”

Barry noted that the Business Climate web site recently listed Nashville as one of three cities that know how to nurture innovation.  She touted the city’s music scene, thriving arts scene, the tech culture, and Nashville Entrepreneur Center that she described as an incredible gem.

Since the theme of the forum is “women-owned small business,” it’s notable that Wallet Hub named Nashville as the best city for women entrepreneurs out of the 100 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States.

“We’re growing.  We’re booming.  I want everybody to have access and the benefit from our economic strength, and I think we have to do that by continuing to create an environment that we have minority, women-owned small businesses successful.  And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that that is our focus as a government,” Barry said.

An impressive cast of women-owned small business experts shared their expertise and unique business perspectives throughout the day.

Margot Dorfman, chief executive officer of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, provided an update on woman owned small businesses in the federal market place.  Ann Sullivan, president of Madison Services Group, also provided a legislative update.

Attendees also participated in panel discussions on the certification process, mentor-protégé agreements and joint ventures, and breaking barriers.

Millicent Hollingsworth, chief executive officer of 40 Enterprises, said her company provides management consulting and development training, and attending the small business forum gave her a chance to see how her business can fit into the Army Corps of Engineers’ needs. She said that she also appreciated the chance to network and meet contracting experts from the various federal agencies.

“Just meeting people that actually are the gatekeepers for some of the contracts that you guys have is beneficial because now you put a name with a face, and say I might be able to help you because I have ‘X’ and ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ going on,” Hollingsworth said.

Roy Rossignol, chief of the Nashville District Small Business Office, said the event was a great opportunity for the businesses involved, but especially the women-owned small businesses.

He said just last week the North American Industry Classification System codes were expanded where women can now be more represented in the federal contracting environment and with construction, the Corps of Engineers’ “bread and butter.”

“With these new NAICS codes, we’re going to see some real construction projects being made available to women-owned small business,” Rossignol said.  “I’m very excited about the women-owned progress we’ve seen in the federal marketplace.”

Rossignol said this event gave participants direct access with not only the Nashville District and TVA, but also with the Memphis District, Louisville District, Mobile District, Huntsville Engineering and Support Center, Department of Veterans Affairs MidSouth Healthcare Network, and other companies.

“I think by far this event has exceeded my expectations as far as attendance and focus on diversity,” Rossignol said.

(For news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District go to the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)