ROSEMEAD, California – About 280 people attended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District’s Business Opportunities Open House March 8 in Rosemead.
The open house is a signature event for the Corps’ LA District, for both small and large businesses. It allows direct dialogue with senior leaders, project managers and those looking to do business with the Corps of Engineers and the federal government.
The event also emphasizes discussion, networking, and building and strengthening business relationships.
“The Business Opportunities Open House today has been insane,” said Eric Ravelli, deputy director of the Small Business Program for the Corps’ LA District. “There’s been so many people here. I think there’s about 280 folks that showed up today – both large businesses and small businesses, women-owned, (Historically Underutilized Business Zones), 8A (small, disadvantaged businesses) – they’re all here.”
One of those participants was Tevin Campbell, who said he heard about the open house on LinkedIn.
He was at the event representing LA Construction Management, a small business located in Camarillo, California; however, he also owns TD Campbell Industries and is a third-generation roofing contractor.
“I came here to gain knowledge and network,” he said, adding his main interests were learning about the military construction and contracting process.
Four members of another small business, Innovative Project Solutions, traveled from San Francisco to attend the open house.
“We’re here for the opportunity to meet with contract analysts and contracting officers face-to-face to have the opportunity to talk about our business, our capabilities and how we can work best with them,” said Evlin Prasad, vice president of strategic solutions for Innovative Project Solutions.
The company is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business and minority firm that offers several services, including integrated project delivery, engineering, design-build and construction management, said Tariq Asefi, professional engineer and principal of the company.
“Our goal is to be in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said. “We do a lot of work for the Department of Defense. We do architectural engineering aspects of it and construction, so we want to get involved in a design-build – design side and construction side of things.”
The company has offices in several states, including California, Oregon and Arizona, he added.
Justin Gay, LA District’s deputy district engineer, said what he enjoyed about the open house was connecting the larger architecture and engineering firms with the small businesses and seeing that interaction play out.
“I found many instances where I was literally able to take one contractor and align them with another to help develop partnerships and build teams that are collaborating to be able to offer on our programs within the district over the next year or two,” he said.
He also said he appreciated how many contractors are interested in working for the federal government, as well as the face-to-face interaction.
“What I really enjoy about the Business Opportunities Open House is how the district can fully appreciate how many contractors within our region are interested in our programs, projects and how to serve the nation through what the Los Angeles District does,” he said. “You get emails, you get phone calls, and you can’t put faces with names, but these are opportunities to help build those relationships and strengthen the ones that already exist on a real level, a human-to-human level that builds and fosters those teams for success.”
The open house was an amazing event, added Ravelli.
“We’ve been able to connect with many businesses across our area of operations,” he said. “It’s an opportunity, not just for the contractors to come and know us, but also the district staff to know them.”
Col. Julie Balten, commander of the LA District, expressed her gratitude for those who attended the open house.
“It was a great collaborative event,” she said, “and, I hope you’ll join us next year as we have our (Business Opportunities Open House) in Arizona.”
In addition to the LA District, Small Business Program representatives with the Corps’ Sacramento and Albuquerque districts also participated in the event to support each other on a regional level.
To learn more about the Business Opportunities Open House or how to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, please visit: https://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Small-Business-Program/.