South Pacific Division sees record year for contracting dollars with small business as a top contributor

South Pacific Division
Published Oct. 26, 2023
Updated: Oct. 26, 2023
Construction Contract Photo

Construction Contract Photo

The South Pacific Division wrapped up Fiscal Year 2023 with a record $2.3 billion in contracts awarded across its four districts.

“I am always amazed at the level of effort our division and district teams put forth on a daily basis, and these accomplishments are a natural consequence of their hard work and dedication,” said Col. Chad Caldwell, SPD' commander. “$2.3 billion in contract execution represents 2,346 contract actions, executed by hundreds of our team members throughout the fiscal year, and I could not be prouder of their achievements both individually and as a team.”

“Hitting $2.3 billion of total obligation is significant,”  James Bartha, SPD’s region contracting chief. “SPD has averaged over the last 17 years $1.4 billion a year, when special mission dollars like FEMA Fire Debris Mission, and Border Wall Construction are removed from the total.”

Another contributing factor underlying the record year are SPD’s exceeding most of their small business goals, adds Bartha.

SPD was recognized recently by Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office of Small Business Programs as “Overall Highest in the Small Disadvantaged Business Award by Percentage” category for the third consecutive year.

The Small Business Program was not only a top contributor to the contracting dollars, but also reached their highest numbers on record going back at least 20 years, says Jack May, assistant director of SPD’s Office of Small Business Programs, with $1.3 billion being awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses.

“The record year for us in FY23 follows five years of unusual events,” he said. “In FY18, we had the Northern California Fires. In FY19 and FY20 we had the Border Barrier Years. In FY21 and FY22 we had the Covid Years. FY23 is probably the first year since FY17 that we didn’t experience events that changed our obligations and contracting practices significantly. So, all those factors played a role in our larger than normal obligations to Small Businesses and possibly an indication that we are closer to our normal business practices.”

The districts that comprise SPD also excelled this fiscal year across an array of categories with Albuquerque District, Los Angeles District, and San Francisco District being recognized in the “Executing Fifty or More Percent to Small Businesses” category; Albuquerque District winning both the “Overall Highest Percentage for Small Disadvantaged Businesses” and the “District with Highest Percentage of Small Business Set Asides” categories; and Sacramento District taking the “Overall Highest Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business by Dollars” by district category.

USACE as a whole has a long history of partnering with small business to execute their contracting dollars and works to maintain ties with existing businesses while looking for newly-minted businesses to partner with.

“USACE needs businesses, especially construction businesses to perform work in all our districts,” explains May.

“The more capable they are the better; the Corps vets them out carefully through its acquisition team to ensure that the small businesses can perform the work and have a proven history of doing good work. The Corps of Engineers won’t be successful without businesses both small and large capable to doing work for us all year round.

Release no. 23-002