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USACE’s Puerto Rico Contracting Team explore innovative ways to connect with local businesses

Published Oct. 20, 2017
Robert McAllister, contracting officer from Mobile District, speaks with Pedro Acevedo of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company during the engagement.

Robert McAllister, contracting officer from Mobile District, speaks with Pedro Acevedo of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company during the engagement.

The Contracting Team of the Puerto Rico Recovery Field Office met with local businesses to brief them on upcoming acquisition opportunities. The Contracting Team used a town hall-style forum, improvising from their usual announcement methods to compensate for the limited communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

The Contracting Team of the Puerto Rico Recovery Field Office met with local businesses to brief them on upcoming acquisition opportunities. The Contracting Team used a town hall-style forum, improvising from their usual announcement methods to compensate for the limited communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Robert McAllister, contracting officer from Mobile District, speaks to a group of businessmen and women about upcoming contract opportunities.

Robert McAllister, contracting officer from Mobile District, speaks to a group of businessmen and women about upcoming contract opportunities.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is employing innovative new approaches in advising local businesses of upcoming contract opportunities in Puerto Rico.
 
The Corps’ Puerto Rico Field Recovery Office’s Contracting Team met with local business representatives to brief them on upcoming acquisition opportunities offered by the USACE in Puerto Rico, Monday. The team hosted a town hall-style forum, improvising from their usual procurement process in order streamline the process.

The normal procurement process may take from 45 days up to more than a year, depending on the complexity of the requirement. The procurement process includes market research, posting notices online, and posting a synopsis of work at least 15 days in advance of the procurement action.
But, in Puerto Rico, many business owners have limited – if any – access to Internet and cellphone service. The contracting officers also are dealing with the language barrier as most of the business owners who may only speak Spanish. These factors inhibit the contracting officers’ ability to effectively advertise contracting needs to the largest audience possible.

Representatives from the Professional College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico; the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company; and the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, U.S. Small Business Administration assisted the Corps’ contracting officers in setting up the forum.

“We appreciate everyone who organized this outreach,” said Rachel Woods, a contracting specialist from USACE’s New Orleans District. “This forum provided an innovative way to present our requirements, grow our business network in Puerto Rico, and communicate with interested local contractors. This was a great way for us to learn more effective ways to advertise our upcoming procurements.”

The Contracting Team is planning additional forums to advertise future procurements.

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Contact
Lisa Hunter
251.504.3581 (cell)
Lisa.hunter@usace.army.mil

Release no. 17-109