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Safety and Small Business topics at Jacksonville Conference
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Safety and Small Business topics at Jacksonville Conference

04/15/13

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 2013 Jacksonville Acquisition Conference and Trade Show provided opportunities for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast to teach and learn. Acquisition and safety specialists attended the April 10 event at the University of North Florida Herbert University Center.

Many of the acquisition and small business representatives were familiar with NAVFAC’s subcontractor safety clause that has been added to its contract evaluation process.

“Since Oct. 1, 2010, NAVFAC Southeast construction and service contracts have included provisions in the specifications that all subcontractors must meet an Experience Modification Rate (EMR) not greater than 1.1 and have a Days Away, Restricted, Transferred (DART) rate not greater than 3.0,” said NAVFAC Southeast Safety Director Dale Powell.

This new requirement was addressed at a break-out session where Powell spoke to attendees specifically about the new safety provision, the importance of communication, acquisition safety, the use of operational risk management (ORM), and near miss reporting.

“Ninety-five percent of the mishaps were coming from subcontractors,” said Powell. “We had to come up with a way to fix it and since implementing the new safety clause in the contracts, we have seen a 37 percent decrease in two and a half years.”

Powell shared that NAVFAC Southeast has received overwhelming approval from contractors regarding the new safety factor.

“It is important to me that NAVFAC is as concerned about safety as we are,” said Bob Tabone, project manager with A. Harold + Associates, LLC. “This event was a great refresher to reassure me that we are on the right track.”

Powell stressed that when contractors work with NAVFAC Southeast, they are partners and it is important that both the Navy and the contractor are behind their safety programs.

Many of the 300 in attendance also visited the NAVFAC Southeast display set up in the atrium where Nelson Smith, NAVFAC Southeast Small Business Director spoke with small business representatives. Smith brought brochures on NAVFAC’s small business program and talked with attendees about how they can do business with the Navy.

Keynote speaker retired Rear Admiral Sean Crean, director of the Navy’s Office of Small Business Programs was optimistic on the outlook for small business opportunities within the Navy. Crean stated that they will continue to keep small business as the first option in Navy acquisition.

Crean shared with the group that in fiscal year 2012, the Navy purchased $13.3 billion of supplies and services from small businesses.

NAVFAC Southeast contributed over $580 million to the total in fiscal year 2012, representing over 61percent of NAVFAC Southeast’s prime contracts that were awarded directly to small businesses.

“Events like this are crucial in stimulating dialogue between Government and the small business community,” said Smith. “In addition to helping meet continuing education requirements for our Acquisition community, our small businesses get the chance to improve their knowledge of the acquisition process and also to meet with Government representatives to learn about upcoming requirements.”

Other small business advocates on hand at the conference included representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA), Fleet Logistics Center Southeast, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as State and Local government representatives.

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