What is your position?
I am the deputy of the small business programs. This position is relatively new and was created in 2011 since small business goals are a priority to the Charleston District. I have been in this position since February and have found it very rewarding to help small businesses maximize their opportunity to do business with the Corps.
Describe your job.
The primary duty of this position is to advise and assist project managers and contracting officers with developing strategies to ensure maximum participation from contractors and subcontractors. In order to meet these goals, I meet with small businesses and contractors to learn about their capabilities and the services they provide in order to match them with a project the district may have. For example, when the District is tasked with a project, I meet with the PM, CO and project delivery team to help determine which small business goals need to be pursued to help the District achieve its small business goals. Another aspect of my job is to provide opportunities for small businesses and large businesses to work together. I advise small businesses of upcoming projects where they can solicit large businesses for subcontracting opportunities. This situation is a win-win. In pursuit of continuing to help small businesses, I participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Coalition for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I get excited when I am able to effectively match a small company with a project within the Charleston District and it results in a contract award. I enjoy watching small businesses succeed and grow, because as they grow, they are able to hire more people and take on more projects. All of which helps feed the struggling economy in South Carolina and ultimately the country.
Highlight a notable milestone or memory in your career.
I started in the District as a summer hire while attending the University of South Carolina. After graduating, I was hired as a secretary. I was a secretary for 16 years in different divisions, but I had attempted to move to the contracting division several times. Just as I was about to give up, a senior leader encouraged me to apply for the contracting job one more time and this time was selected! It was such a rewarding feeling, knowing that my hard work and persistence had finally paid off and I was able to move to the career field I had always wanted to be a part of.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
My goals are to continue to serve as an advocate in support of small businesses. Small businesses sometimes struggle with submitting a winning proposal, so I have tentatively scheduled a workshop in fiscal year 2014 that will teach them how to complete a proposal package that will ultimately assist them in winning contract awards. I will continue the trend of exceeding our small business goals. Last year the Charleston District exceeded its overall small business goal by five percent.