Huntsville Center’s small business program takes Army award
A smart phone is used during a Huntsville Center industry briefing to ensure geographically removed small business representative can attend the event. Huntsville Center’s Office of Small Business Programs was recognized April 27 by the Army as the top Small Disadvantaged 8(a) Business Program for 2021. One of the high points of the program's selection was building on virtual capabilities by conducting virtual industry briefs. (Photo Credit: William Farrow) VIEW ORIGINAL

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville was recognized as the top Small Disadvantaged 8(a) Business Program in the Army for 2021.

Huntsville Center’s Office of Small Business Programs and other U.S Army Corps of Engineers Small Business Programs were recognized April 27 by the Under Secretary of the and Army, and Army Director of Small Business, as a TOP NOTCH Small Business Program.

Of the 18 award categories recognized for both FY20 and FY21, USACE brought home 14 of the awards. Other Army commands with small business offices include Army Materiel Command, Army Medical Command, Army Futures Command and Army National Guard Bureau.

Elizabeth Walker, USACE Director of Small Business, said the passion that is exhibited by the men and women working in USACE makes a difference to our business partners and stakeholders who need capable contractors to support the mission which helps the U.S. economy thrive.

“I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing team that makes our Small Business Program the best out there by integrating small businesses to support the USACE mission,” Walker relayed in an email to the USACE work force.

Rebecca Goodsell, Huntsville Center Office of Small Business Programs chief, said Huntsville Center's win recognizes the Center as a leader within the Army and USACE in removing barriers faced by underserved individuals and communities as prime awards to Small Disadvantaged Businesses exceeded $358 million for fiscal year 2021.

“What makes Huntsville Center so successful is its deep-seated small business friendly culture. Everyone, from our executive officers, directors, branch chiefs, contract specialists and project managers to the Office of Small Biz Programs, is involved with outreach, hosting capability briefings, and keeping up with the latest innovations industry has to offer,” Goodsell said.

Even before the pandemic, Goodsell said the Center was rapidly building on virtual capabilities by conducting virtual industry days which saved small businesses concerns limited travel dollars yet still gave them an opportunity to participate and receive information about upcoming requirements.

“Electronic personal invites were sent to firms encouraging them to respond to sources sought notices and requests for information,” she said.

One of the most important acquisition program tools the Center capitalizes on year after year, Goodsell said, is tapping into the 8(a) program to make direct awards if there’s an urgent requirement or during end of fiscal year crunch time.

“Remember 8(a)’s must be a small disadvantaged business to be eligible for the developmental 8(a) Program, so awards are mutually beneficially for us and them.”

Goodsell noted since the current administration has set an ambitious target to increase SDB prime awards by an additional $100 billion over the next five years, Huntsville Center will continue leading the way.

“I predict we will continue to set records and win awards in the future not because of goals or targets, but because it's the right thing to do.”