BUCHAREST, Romania -- Representatives from the U.S. European Command, Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District came together to host two industry days in Bucharest and Caracal, Romania, to discuss information supporting contracts for the Aegis Ashore program June 13 -- 14.

The objective of these industry days were to provide information on the general scope of work, the required infrastructures and facilities, and potential construction and services opportunities to support a planned U.S. missile defense asset deployment in Deveselu, Romania.

Col. D. Peter Helmlinger, Europe District commander, said the industry days were an opportunity for everyone involved to be understood.

"Today we gather to talk about opportunities, share information and to dialogue with each other," Helmlinger said.

According to Tre Santos, a district contract specialist, nearly 300 participates representing more than 175 companies from nine countries attended at Bucharest and less at Caracal.

"We were really pleased with the number of companies that came to the two industry days," Santos said. "We had quite a few U.S. firms there and a good number of local firms. This gave them an opportunity to start putting together their teams that will compete for the contracts once the solicitations become available."

Gaylerd "Sandy" Davis, director of business development with Fluor Enterprises, Inc., attended the industry day in Bucharest as an opportunity to get introduced to the government clients and to meet prospective teaming partners.

"The industry day provided me with an opportunity to start the mating dance and start networking other firms from Romania and other places," Davis said.

The "mating dance" as Davis describes it, allowed his company and others to meet and start dialoguing about assets and to put together the strongest team they can. When the time comes to submit the contract, they put in the best proposal possible.

Providing companies the ability to network was only part of the goal of the industry days.

"I wanted to let them know there were rules with working with the U.S. government, and be able to say, here is the playbook," Santos said. "Here are the rules we follow. Here's everything you need to know, everything that you will see in our contracts, and every action we take. I wanted to spell out everything and tell them where they can find additional information."

Octavian Baltoi, an engineer with GRUP Primacons, a Romania-based company, attended both days said she felt honored to take part in the conferences and that is was nice to hear an overview of the project's requirements.

"The most beneficial part, from my point of view, besides the presentation of the steps in submitting the offers, was the open session of questions and answers," Baltoi said. "That helped me elucidate the aspects that were not quite clear to me."

She later contacted Santos for more information about the district's Construction Quality Management Course.

"Since the industry day, a couple of Romania-based companies have contacted me about the CQM course," Santos said. "I see this as a good sign that they are taking the appropriate steps to compete for the contracts."

According to Santos, all companies doing business with the district must attend the CQM course and have course certified personnel on the construction site.

Santos explained that since some of the companies have never worked with the U.S. before, they did not know they would need to register in the Central Contractor Registration data base, or in order to register in CCR, they would have to have a Dun & Bradstreet number. He said this was the type of information put out at the industry days.

"Although we didn't get to see the site itself, we got close enough to get a good appreciation of what some of the challenges will be in that area that we will need to overcome to do this job efficiently," Davis said.

The district anticipates two contracts will ultimately be awarded. One will include all MDA facilities to include all infrastructures for the entire U.S. site. The other contract will include all U.S. Navy facilities with limited infrastructures.

Santos explains that any one of the companies can submit a proposal on the contracts, but the MDA contract will require a Facility Security Clearance although the U.S. Navy contract will not.

"At the end of the day, the teams who will be awarded the two contracts will be the ones that provide the best value proposal," Santos said. "It's not about awarding to the lowest offer."