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By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility hosted an Industry Day event Oct. 5 at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash., to educate contractors who may not be currently bidding on contracts regarding what types of contracts they might qualify for, and how they can start the process of working with the command.
According to Juliet Roske, deputy director of the PSNS & IMF Small Business Programs office, which facilitated the event, the event provided attendees with an overview of the command, to provide long-term procurement projections and acquisition strategies, as well as create an opportunity to network with other contractor personnel. She said giving a work forecast can help the private sector better plan to support PSNS & IMF’s outsourcing needs.
“We’d like for potential industry partners to have the ability to plan for supporting our needs and have a better understanding of subcontract opportunities with some of our prime contractors,” Roske said. “Small businesses are incredibly important to us, as well as many agencies and commands, due to them generally being very flexible, early adopters of innovation, and resourceful.”
Given how important existing and potential contractors are to the PSNS & IMF mission, presenters from the command included:
• Capt. Mark Schuchmann, business and strategic planning officer, Code 1200, Business and Strategic Planning Office
• Cheri Richards, division head, Code 420, Waterfront Contracting Support
Eric Mooth, director of Waterfront Operations-Bremerton, Code 412, Acquisition Support Branch
• Jeremy Trull, director of Waterfront Operations-Everett, Code 451, Waterfront Operations
• Sara Ragsdale, business planning manager, Code 1220, Business Planning Office
Schuchmann told the attendees how he has learned to value what industry partners bring to the table during projects and availabilities.
“With successful availabilities, people always ask, ‘What’s your secret?’” he said. “The one common thing I can always go back to on those successful availabilities is teamwork across all the stakeholders: ship’s force, the government and industry. What enables us as a team, as a partnership, to work through challenges and overcome any changes to the plan, are the relationships we have with each other.”
PSNS & IMF currently uses contractors to assist in the maintenance, repair and modernization of surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers. The command also uses small businesses for lodging contracts, forklift repairs, vent cleaning, laundering and engineering services, to name a few.
“We simply do not have the time, materials, facilities, and workforce to do it all on our own,” Roske said. “Contractors are essential to fill the gaps and supplement our workforce to achieve our mission.”
The value of the event to the local business community was evident in the participation, which included nearly 100 representatives from 49 different businesses.
“PSNS & IMF and the U.S. government as a whole, have an obligation through the Small Business Act and Federal Acquisition Regulations, to contract with small businesses, where the opportunities are available,” Roske said. “However, if businesses don’t know how to work with us, or if we don’t know they exist, we can never make that first step to getting them through the door. Outreach events like this help us get connected and help the command to accomplish its mission.