Army recognizes MICC small business assistant director
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left, Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo presents Amy Ulisse the 2021 Army Small Business Professional of the Year award as Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs Kimberly Diane Buehler looks on during a ceremony April 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Ulisse is the assistant director of small business for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Field Directorate Office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Laura Buchta) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army recognizes MICC small business assistant director
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo praises the small business efforts of Army professionals during an awards ceremony April 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Amy Ulisse, the assistant director of small business for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Field Directorate Office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was among the 2021 Army Small Business Awards winners. (Photo Credit: Laura Buchta) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (May 5, 2022) -- The Mission and Installation Contracting Command small business assistant director responsible for leading the command-wide virtual advanced planning briefing to industry is the 2021 U.S. Army Small Business Professional of the Year.

Amy Ulisse was among those recognized during an awards ceremony hosted by Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo and Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs Kimberly Diane Buehler April 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

“The Army Small Business Awards recognize the contributions of individuals whose hard work and dedication make the Army the small business leader across the federal government while enabling the Army to meet mission priorities through small business utilization,” Buehler said.

Ulisse serves as the assistant director of small business programs for the MICC at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, where she is responsible for small business program oversight for 10 installation-level contracting offices subordinate to the MICC Field Directorate Office there.

“I'm humbled and honored. While, it feels great to be recognized for my hard work, I do what I do each day because I truly love supporting the Army and small business community,” Ulisse said. “I've also been blessed with an amazing supervisor who supported and encouraged me over the past five years. I was trusted and empowered to run my small business program, which also boosted my confidence as an Army leader.”

Supporting Ulisse in small business efforts across the MICC’s largest subordinate organization are Eric Claud, Terri Buonfigli, Chinedu Nwauwa and Joyce Williams.

“This award is not just a reflection of my commitment to the small business program but also my amazing team of small business professionals,” Ulisse said. “They work hard and support one another in accomplishing the mission. We also like to laugh and have fun, which I really think is the key to our success.”

Mark Massie, the director of the MICC Office of Small Business Programs at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, said Ulisse played a significant role in the command’s small business program success. Also in attendance at the Pentagon ceremony, Massie accepted the 2021 Army Small Business Program of the Year award on behalf of the Army Materiel Command.

Army recognizes MICC small business assistant director
From left, Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo presents Mark Massie the 2021 Army Small Business Program of the Year award as Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs Kimberly Diane Buehler looks on during a ceremony April 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Massie, the director of small business programs for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, accepted the award on behalf of the Army Materiel Command. (Photo Credit: Laura Buchta) VIEW ORIGINAL

“In the middle of a pandemic we all faced a much different working environment. Small business outreach is one of our primary roles in order to provide transparency, increase competition and build our Defense industrial base,” Massie said. “Amy led a team over a six-month period to establish and deliver the MICC's first ever virtual acquisition planning briefing for industry. She is a valuable team member and truly deserving of this Army-level award.”

Massie said the 2021 MICC virtual event led by Ulisse reached more than 1,600 industry and government partners and briefed more than 100 contract requirements in a five-day period as well as allowed the posting of another 300 contract requirements. Ulisse followed that event up by teaming with the Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Center to develop and host more than 700 virtual matchmaking sessions with over 290 small businesses. Both events were accomplished on top of her daily duties as the small business program assistant director. Ulisse also headed up the March 2022 APBI this year.

“Both APBIs provided advance notice of upcoming actions to maximize competition, which will improve the quality of offers received, ultimately increasing the Defense industrial base,” Ulisse explained. “Maintaining small business transparency, increasing competition and increasing the small business industrial base remains an Army and MICC priority.”

The APBI supported all contracting offices across the MICC, two contracting support brigades and two field directorate offices. Her execution of the command-wide event saved significant man-hours compared to planning and executing 20 to 30 separate events that had been accomplished annually prior to COVID, which returned time to contracting professionals for contract execution. Ulisse led more than a dozen meetings involving more than two dozen cross-functional team members as well as coordinated engagements with Army senior leaders for support. The follow-on teaming event with the Virginia PTAC for matchmaking provided the opportunity for small businesses to meet one-on-one in a virtual environment with MICC small business and contracting professionals to market their capabilities. Industry representatives met with approximately 50 small business professionals, contract specialists, contracting officers, procurement analysts and directors from across the MICC as well as with supported mission partner representatives.

In addition, Ulisse developed the small business participation factor now used on all MICC unrestricted best value, full trade-off source selections. She explained that although a small business set-aside is the preferred means of maximizing contracting opportunities for small businesses as prime contractors, when market research does not support this approach, consideration must be given to providing maximum opportunity to small businesses through subcontracting.

“The Army requires small business participation to be evaluated at the factor level -- the most meaningful and provides a greater opportunity for the utilization of small businesses,” she explained. “The purpose of the small business participation evaluation criteria is to ensure firms receiving the government award will utilize small businesses in performance of the contract. The emphasis is on getting the prime contractor to include small businesses in proposal development and ensure those small businesses are actually awarded subcontracts.”

The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement requires evaluation of small business participation in other than lowest priced, technically acceptable source selections whenever a subcontracting plan is required. While she explained that the DFARS small business requirement has been in place for years, Ulisse went further to establish solicitation language in coordination with organizational attorneys for the evaluation factor when assigned as the small business factor chair on the 2017 U.S. Army rotary wing maintenance requirement at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The rotary wing maintenance contract is the MICC's largest acquisition to date, and similar solicitation language is now used across the MICC enterprise.

“Transparency and open communication has been vital to the success of small business factor evaluations,” Ulisse said. “The solicitation language was drafted with industry feedback and has been updated over the years to adapt to changes in the market.”

As a subject matter expert for the small business participation factor, Ulisse also oversaw the development and implementation of this factor for Defense Language Institute-Washington multiple award task order contract valued at $100 million. To date, the MICC has received zero protests against the factor. The small business efforts by Ulisse contributed to not only the MICC but also the Army achieving its small business goals for the seventh consecutive year in 2021.

Army recognizes MICC small business assistant director
Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs Kimberly Diane Buehler recognizes the small business efforts of Army professionals during an awards ceremony April 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Amy Ulisse, the assistant director of small business for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Field Directorate Office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was among the 2021 Army Small Business Awards winners. (Photo Credit: Laura Buchta) VIEW ORIGINAL
“The achievement of small business goals is important because it is the primary yardstick by which federal agencies are assessed. But achieving goals shouldn’t be a goal within itself,” Buehler said. “Achieving goals should be the outcome of executing the continuum of activities performed by acquisition professionals in accordance with statute, regulation and sound business judgement. The ultimate goal is for the small business professional to be a value added, trusted member of the total acquisition team, influencing positive outcomes for small business at the prime and subcontract level.”

Ulisse underscored that building a robust industrial base is critical for the Army, the nation and the American economy.

“Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy and provide the speed, innovation and modernization the Army is after.”

About the MICC

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,300 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. As part of its mission, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.