Source: EM Update | Vol 9, Issue 10, – Contributor: Michael Nartker | May 31, 2017

EM Update recently spoke with Norbert Doyle, EM associate deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and project management, on the benefits small businesses bring to the DOE cleanup program and on how EM is working to encourage small business participation in the Department’s cleanup work. 

How do small businesses help EM carry out its mission?  

ffSmall businesses are critical to the success of the EM program. We have found that small businesses provide niche capabilities that none of the large businesses with whom we work have organically within their companies. Regardless of whether we use small businesses as prime contractors or as subcontractors, use of small business is an imperative. Small businesses bring large capabilities to the forefront and, without doubt, contribute heavily to our EM success

What have been some recent small business successes?

Working for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM), CTI and Associates, Inc., a small disadvantaged business, safely performed a fixed-price decontamination and demobilization (D&D) and environmental characterization project at the K-732 Switchyard at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The project is a key component of OREM’s goal for the cleanup and transfer of ETTP to the private sector for industrial redevelopment.

CTI’s execution plan entailed radiological surveys to enable release of site equipment and materials for recycling, rather than a conventional demolition and disposal project. The value of the recycled materials were used to offset project costs to DOE. A complimentary benefit was the savings in DOE landfill space, reserving capacity needed for other projects. In all, over 1.6 million pounds of materials were recycled, including over 55,000 gallons of mineral oil.

Link Technologies, Inc., a woman-owned small business, worked directly with CTI on the K-732 project to more accurately delineate and bound characterization of oils and contaminated soils in the K-732 Switchyard. Link was involved in the planning, responsible for gaining regulatory approval from Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, as well as the execution of the sampling and analysis plan. This effort resulted in zero required remedial action in the switchyard, a dramatic reduction from earlier expectations.

Another good example is the work being done at the Savannah River Site by C.A. Murren & Sons Co. Inc., based in Grayson, Georgia. The site’s liquid waste contractor, Savannah River Remediation (SRR), awarded a subcontract to C.A. Murren & Sons Co. Inc. to provide excavation, shoring and backfill services at the Low Point Pump Pit in support of the Salt Waste Processing Facility Integration. The shoring and excavation efforts at the 511-S Low Point Pump Pit building have been proceeding at a furious pace. C.A. Murren and Sons, Inc.’s work on this project and their performance to this point has been exemplary. They have truly been a partner to SRR and taken ownership of completing the work safely, on schedule and within the budget limits.

What is EM doing to help encourage small businesses to participate in the DOE cleanup program? How would you rate EM’s success in this?

We do a great deal in this area and are very successful. First, we are constantly reaching out to small businesses in various forums. For example, the recently concluded DOE small business event was tremendously successful. Not only did our representatives meet with many small businesses in one-on-one match-making sessions, numerous company reps stopped by our booth for information on how to do business with EM. We also present our upcoming opportunities at events sponsored by industry associations.

With regard to Native-owned companies, we’ve attended several events sponsored by Native American associations, at both the national and regional levels. At these events, we meet with Native-owned small businesses that desire to do business with EM in one-on-one matchmaking sessions, talk to companies that come by our information booth, and present at sessions in which upcoming opportunities are described. Our participation goal is to increase the number of Native-owned small companies who work on behalf of EM.

We conduct quarterly industry forums at which all businesses, large and small, are invited to participate. At these forums, we discuss future opportunities. We also maintain our booth and participate in sessions at the annual Waste Management symposium, which presents a great opportunity for small business to build relationships with our key industry partners as well as learn about upcoming opportunities. This is by no means a complete list. Routinely, our site small business specialists and contracting leadership attend numerous local events.

Within DOE, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization specializes in helping and educating small businesses in navigating the federal contracting process. Along these lines, each of our sites have small business specialists who are trained to assist small business. They meet on a regular basis with companies who are eager to work in the EM space.

How does EM decide what kinds of work to set-aside and make available for small businesses to carry out? How is EM working to ensure that small businesses have meaningful opportunities in the DOE cleanup program?

Federal contracting regulations are the controlling factor. Our contracting officers are required by law to set-aside for small business any requirement in which there is a reasonable belief that at least two small businesses can successfully perform. That being said, we always want to do the right things. The right thing is to support small business.

Some of the steps we’re taking to increase small business participation in our EM projects include mandating small business subcontracting goals in our larger prime contracts and stipulating that small business subcontracts must include clearly defined performance work statement elements.

What near-term opportunities are coming up for small businesses in the EM program?

The EM Consolidated Business Center plans to award several new prime contracts to small business in the near future. These include:

  • Oak Ridge Technical Support Services, which has an approximate value of $25-50 million;
  • Portsmouth/Paducah Technical Support Services; which has an approximate value of $100-150 million; and
  • Moab Technical Assistance; which has an approximate value of up to $25 million.

 What advice would you give small businesses looking to participate in the EM cleanup program?

Stay engaged in the process. All federal government requirements are mandated to be posted at the Federal Business Opportunities website. Companies should be reviewing this site on a very regular basis. Our locations also have their own websites in which opportunities are posted.

Follow our contracting press releases. We tend to award many very large-dollar contracts that may go on for up to 10 years. There are numerous subcontracting opportunities available with those companies to whom contracts are awarded.

Attend events and sessions in which we discuss our opportunities, as discussed above. Visit our small business specialists. Learn how to do business with EM specifically and the federal government in general.

And if you do work for EM, do it well. Past performance on our projects as well as on other federal projects, matters in our selection process.