Industry Days connect businesses large and small

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Published May 4, 2017

Industry Day events hosted by the Jacksonville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provide networking and partnering opportunities for businesses small and large.

A recent Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project Industry Day in Palm Beach Gardens kicked off with a presentation: Herbert Hoover Dike, Past, Present and Future. The Corps team set the stage, describing the project background, all of the current work going on, and previewing specific upcoming contracts. 

Ryan Smith, a project manager for a contractor that has been involved in dike rehabilitation for several years, appreciated being able to see "the bigger picture," which provided perspective on the importance of their work to the surrounding communities.

A clear overview of the government contracting process helped potential contractors understand the special requirements involved in working as a contractor for the federal government.

Expectations were set during the presentation on construction requirements, including an overview of general construction requirements, dam safety and safety requirements and construction contractor submittals. Presentations were peppered with real-life stories and tips, including lessons learned and some of the very real challenges of culvert replacement projects.

Diana Jordan-Burks, a Small Business Specialist, discussed Small Business participation and opportunities, and facilitated a lively afternoon Small Business/Large Business Matchmaking event. Fast-paced face-to-face meetings, reminiscent of speed dating, allowed prime contractors and potential subcontractors to discuss capabilities and subcontracting opportunities.

The latest Small Business forecast is always available at: and provides a look-ahead at upcoming business opportunities.


Large firms and small businesses connected at the recent Herbert Hoover Dike Industry Day. Robin Petzold (right) is Senior Vice President of a large business firm involved in engineering, surveying, environmental and planning. Nanci Landy is the owner of a Certified Small Business Enterprise and Certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise in the construction debris hauling industry. (photo courtesy Scott Tobin)


158 attendees, representing businesses of all types, learned about every aspect of the rehabilitation project from a team of Corps experts working in the field, and had ample opportunities for networking.



This wasn't the first rodeo for Tamara and Steve Sarno (lower left), whose business provides materials support. The couple met a lot of large prime contractors at a Corps Industry Day event at Canal Point a few years ago. They started small -- an initial $50 order for bolts, followed up with good customer service, landed them more than $2.5 million in contracts since 2015. They already have contracts out to 2020, but came back for more. Will they be back to future Industry Day events? You can count on it!

  Thirty-three large firms leaned in to learn more about potential subcontractors like first-time attendee David Bogardus, whose firm provides specialized ecological monitoring services.
  Small Business Specialist Diana Jordan-Burks facilitated the afternoon Matchmaking event, which allowed prime contractors and potential sub-contractors to discuss capabilities and sub-contracting opportunities in a fast-paced setting similar to speed dating.