Former deputy commander Gene Snyman is no stranger to the Tulsa District. However, since his retirement in July 2012, Snyman has traded his "green" suit for a business suit.

Snyman is the new deputy, small business programs, for the Tulsa District and is in the process of learning his new responsibilities.

"As deputy commander, I had a good deal of exposure to the things I do now in this position, but there is still a lot to learn," he said.

While deputy commander, he acted as the facilitator for the small business program and oversaw that requirements were met, but in his current role he acts as a coordinator and is directly responsible for meeting the requirements.

One of the biggest advantages to this position compared to the deputy commander role is he is able to learn a specific area and focus on just small business rather than be a generalist, he said. However, some of what he learned he can still use.

"The biggest crossover has been the relationships I've developed and I'm lucky to be able to continue them," Snyman said. "It also helps to have knowledge of what the Corps of Engineers does and the Tulsa District footprint."

One of his major responsibilities is to coordinate with project delivery teams on various projects during the acquisition strategy planning phase. Each member of the team has a specific focus and Snyman's job is to advocate the use of small businesses on Corps contracts.

"The project manager wants to get the project done on time and under budget while engineers are committed to making sure the project is completed correctly and meets customer expectations," he said. "I work with them to see where small businesses can help them to meet their needs."

Snyman believes there are a lot of great reasons to utilize small businesses for Corps contracts.

"Not only is it good for the economy and the local area, but today's small businesses are tomorrow's large businesses," Snyman said.

Another advantage is that the Corps, in certain cases, can use what is called a sole source or "no bid" contract. In this instance the contract is set aside specifically for small businesses.

Using small businesses does not come without risk since they do not always have the same resources and expertise as larger businesses, Snyman said. He spends a lot of time doing market research and attending outreach events in order to connect with small businesses that are the right fit for Corps contracts.

"The needs and requirements of contracts are all different shapes. We just need to find the right fit," he said.

Snyman is taking over the small business position from Linda Morris, who is retiring in December.

"Linda is the master guru of all things small business," he said. "She is setting me up for success."

Page last updated Fri October 19th, 2012 at 00:00