USACE Relies on Strong Partnerships With Its Customers, and Large and Small Businesses, to Deliver Quality Engineering Solutions

A major goal of the Fort Worth District’s Office of Small Business Programs is to support the government’s policy of placing a fair portion of contracts with eligible small businesses. Another point of emphasis is to assist small businesses in becoming more marketable to larger businesses that receive government contracts.

“Our partnerships with large and small businesses are critical to delivering vital engineering solutions to solve the nation’s toughest challenges,” said Bob Morris, deputy chief for Programs, Project Management Division.

The federal government categorizes small businesses into various types. These businesses include small, disadvantaged businesses, historically underutilized business zone, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and woman-owned small businesses. Historically black colleges and universities, and minority institutions also receive small business consideration for federal contracts.

Fort Worth District Deputy for Small Business Programs Ali Marshall provides information on potential projects that will become available for solicitation during a January Small Business Road- show at Dyess Air Force Base. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

“One of my major goals is to develop and improve small business capabilities, to maximize their opportunity for contracts within the Fort Worth District geographical boundaries,” said Ali Marshall, the Fort Worth District’s deputy for Small Business Programs. “This is done on a continual basis to ensure there remains a broad base of capable small businesses to support our projects.”

There is a wide range of military construction and civil works services the Fort Worth District requires to meet its complex mission. Military construction projects include barracks, dining facilities, maintenance shops, hangars, airfields, hospitals, and child development centers. While examples of Civil Works projects include roads, bridges, levees and dams.

Although for the most part large businesses receive contracts for these types of projects due to their size, complexity, and scope, these firms must have a small business subcontracting plan, where they provide a certain percentage of their work to small businesses.

“We remain committed to working together with our partners to complete our projects and to build enduring relationships through trust, transparency, and shared values,” added Marshall.

According to Marshall, engineering services provide another category of opportunities to gain work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Examples include master planning, surveying, and engineering design and construction.

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USACE is an organization that prides itself on environmental stewardship. The Southwestern Division’s Regional Planning & Environmental Center (RPEC) manages many of these services for the Fort Worth District and the rest of the region.

“There are endless opportunities to partner with the Corps on planning and environmental work including but not limited to Formerly Used Defense Site investigations and remediation, environmental remediation, master planning, environmental studies, restoration activities, soil sample testing, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects,” said USACE’s Southwestern Division’s RPEC chief, Rob Newman.

Fort Worth District deputy for Small Business Programs, Ali Marshall greets a small business representative and shares potential project information for the support to the B-21 Bomber program during an informational meeting at Dyess Air Force Base in January. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

Janitorial, refuse collection, mowing, grounds maintenance, herbicide, landscaping, boundary maintenance, and equipment repair are examples of opportunities smaller firms may compete for contracts with the federal government.

“I am an advocate for small businesses so no firm is too small for the Office of Small Business Programs when it comes to providing assistance,” said Marshall.

Networking forums, small business conferences and capability briefings are venues where Marshall provides key project information to both large and small contracting firms.

Since assuming her role as the deputy chief for Small Business Programs, Marshall’s hard work and dedication have resulted in her receiving several awards for achievement and performance.

Marshall attributes much of her program’s success to keeping her website fresh with the latest project information available for potential small business contractors and keeping the lines of communication open.

“Because the district manages such a large volume of projects, one of my major challenges is to keep our web page updated with the latest data, so I can get the info out to small businesses as fast as I can,” said Marshall.”

This story featured in the 2023-2024 edition of America’s Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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