Louisville District Hosts More Than 400 Contractors at Annual Open House
By Michael Maddox
USACE Louisville District
February 23, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District held its annual open house at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky., Feb. 2. More than 400 contractors attended the event, which included presentations by district leaders followed by an open networking session where attendees could talk individually to the district’s contracting officials and senior staff. The event also showcased upcoming work for projects within the Louisville District boundaries.
Louisville District Commander Col. Eric Crispino opened the event by sharing an overview of the Louisville District and its mission.
Several senior leaders also shared information on their respective programs. One of those district leaders was Rachael Haunz, chief of the Military, Energy Resilience Conservation Investment Program (ERCIP), Environmental and IIS Programs. Haunz gave an overview of the programs she oversees as well as project statuses and upcoming opportunities. She also spoke to the crowd about ERCIP and its relation to the district’s missions and its goals to support the Army’s climate strategy.
“Right now our ERCIP projects are mainly focused on micro-grids – a combination of generators, solar photovoltaic and other sources to create redundancy. Basically, the concept is that if there is an event of a power outage, you want to be able to support your mission-critical tasks without degradation,” she explained.
Cristie Mitchell, Chief of the Reserve Support Programs Branch speaks to contractors who attended the Louisville District Open House Feb. 2 in Louisville, Ky. More than 400 contractors attended the event, which included presentations by district leaders followed by an open networking session where attendees could talk individually to the district’s contracting officials and senior staff. The event also showcased upcoming work and highlighted methods contractors could bid for projects within the Louisville District boundaries.
(USACE Photo by Michael Maddox)
Haunz also went on to speak about risk management and risk-based decision making in the process of working district missions.
“We are looking to you all as our partners in both the AE (Architect-Engineer) community as well as the construction community. You all have an overview of projects and risks, things that work and don’t work, that we may not see,” she said. “So, I would encourage you that if you see something that you think is out of place, out of line, that is going to impact the way we execute and deliver our projects, you need to just say it.”
“The commander mentioned ‘Don’t wait, elevate,’ That is a key component – don’t wait until the project gets awarded or ready to advertise. If you let us know, some of what you tell us can go into our discussions with our installation partners and we may be able to make changes, and if we can’t make changes everyone understands the risk and we are more successful when you incorporate risk-based decision making into how we do business,” Haunz added.
Cristie Mitchell, Reserve Support Programs Branch chief, who gave an overview of the district’s Army and Air Force Reserve program, added to Haunz’s comments by discussing the importance of partnership.
“We’re focused on delivery and what that means is we have to deliver on our commitments. That means delivering within scope of the contract costs and delivering on time,” she said. “I understand there are going to be challenges along the way, but the important part is how we work through this together to find solutions because this is truly a partnership. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal – building quality facilities.”
Other presentations included the future state of the District, Civil Works, Veteran Affairs and Architect-Engineering opportunities.
Crystal Harbin, District deputy for Small Business, said the event was a success with more attendees than in the past.
“I look forward to our open house every year and it was great to be in person for the first time since 2020,” said Harbin. “This event provides a great opportunity for networking with firms that have current contracts with us and making connections with new firms that are pursuing work. Of our total attendees, 150 were first-time attendees. Making these new connections is critical as our program keeps growing.”
“Being able to provide details on our upcoming projects allows us to partner with industry earlier in the acquisition process which has proven to be a win-win situation for everyone. Delivering the program is vital and events such as this ensure we stay on the path towards success,” she added.