At least 11 prime cleanup contractors across the EM complex surpassed annual goals for subcontracting with small businesses in fiscal year 2017 (FY17), from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017.
The contractors at the Hanford, Savannah River, Oak Ridge, Idaho, Portsmouth, Paducah, and Waste Isolation Pilot Plant sites exceeded socioeconomic business goals by subcontracting with small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), set-asides help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. The contracts can be set-aside for small businesses in the following certification programs and socio-economic categories:
- 8(a) Business Development, which helps firms owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals;
- HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) Program, which assists firms in urban and rural communities;
- Women Owned Small Business Program; and
- Service Disabled Veteran Owned Program.
EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M) awarded about $150 million, or 79 percent, to small businesses, exceeding a goal of 49 percent.
An example of a CH2M small business subcontractor is Ojeda Business Ventures, which helped prepare for contaminated soil removal beneath the 324 Building. Ojeda built a concrete pad mockup, simulating the floor inside the building so workers could practice cutting through it with equipment during actual cleanup.
“Year after year, our contractors at Hanford are exceeding their subcontracting goals,” said Tom Fletcher, deputy manager, RL. “We appreciate their commitment to doing business with small businesses.”
Site services contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) awarded $155 million in subcontracts, with about $134 million, or 86 percent, going to small businesses, outpacing the company’s goal of 50 percent. One of those small businesses was Watts Construction, which installed and upgraded water lines and sewer systems.
The Office of River Protection tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) spent almost $166 million on small business subcontracts, representing nearly 73 percent of available subcontracts, beating its goal of 58 percent.
An example of a WRPS small business subcontractor is ELR Consulting, a disabled veteran-owned company, which provided WRPS with engineering and technical support. ELR Consulting also offers laboratory services, and construction management and environmental compliance services.
ELR Consulting is owned by Emmett Richards, a military veteran and former Hanford 222-S Laboratory technician.
Management and operations contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) awarded 71 percent of its subcontracts to small businesses, for a total of more than $175 million, exceeding its goal of 52 percent.
One of those small businesses, Universal Supplies and Services (US&S), is a facility maintenance and support service provider specializing in operations and maintenance, repairs, renovation, janitorial, grounds maintenance, and staff augmentation. US&S is responsible for performing non-nuclear maintenance across the site.
“Our supply chain is a vital part of our success at the Savannah River Site (SRS) and exceeding these small business goals is a reflection of our emphasis on continuous improvement across the board,” SRNS President Stuart MacVean said.
Liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation (SRR) consistently surpasses its subcontracting goals. SRR has spent more than $490 million on local small businesses since it began its site contract in 2009. In FY17, SRR awarded more than $69 million, or nearly 83 percent, of subcontracts to small businesses, outpacing its goal of about 50 percent.
SRR President and Project Manager Tom Forster said SRR supports businesses of all backgrounds.
“Small businesses, particularly, are the underpinnings of our economy, especially those that are women-owned, veteran-owned, and locally owned, to name a few,” Foster said. “These companies aid SRR in our mission of safely and efficiently stabilizing the legacy liquid waste at the Savannah River Site.”
DOE-Savannah River Associate Deputy Manager Thomas Johnson Jr. noted SRS's long history of working with the region's small businesses.
“These contracts are not only vital to the site in areas such as construction and program support, but it also allows us to support and grow local businesses,” he said.
Cleanup contractor URS|CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) awarded $134 million, or 83 percent, of its contracts and purchases to small businesses, eclipsing its goal of 65 percent.
“Since UCOR began their work in Oak Ridge in 2011, they have shown an unprecedented commitment to the skills, value, and capabilities offered by small businesses,” said Karen Shears, director of the Oak Ridge Office of EM Procurement and Contracts Division. “In turn, the support these companies provided UCOR has enabled them to successfully complete projects across the site on time and on budget.”
About 79 percent of UCOR's subcontracts have gone to small businesses each year since 2011. That amounts to $691 million for professional services, technical services, engineering and construction, materials, transportation, waste cleanup, and waste treatment.
An example of a UCOR small business subcontractor is Alliance Scaffolding, which provides specialized scaffolding for UCOR’s cleanup work at the East Tennessee Technology Park. UCOR named the small business its 2017 veteran-owned small business of the year.
Cleanup contractor Fluor Idaho more than doubled its target by spending over $78 million to subcontract with small businesses in Idaho and the western U.S.
“We originally had a goal of almost $36 million for the fiscal year, but shattered that number,” said Fluor Idaho Business Director Peggy Davis. “Utilizing the products and expertise of small business owners is a key strategy of our contract with the Department of Energy. We’ve found that when doing so, everyone wins, including the taxpayer.”
Fluor Idaho regularly purchases products such as food, fuel, clothing, and ice melt from small business, and acquires services such as engineering, computer support, photography, and technical writing and editing.
“For this fiscal year, we’ll be looking at increasing our purchasing of goods and services from small disadvantaged and women-owned businesses,” said Davis. “We’d like to see more of these types of businesses bid on our small business contracts.”
Davis continued, “We’ve had tremendous support from small businesses overall. In many instances, the business owners go above and beyond the call of duty to provide goods to us immediately to aid in our cleanup mission for the Department.”
Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office
Of its nearly $112 million subcontracting total, Portsmouth Site deactivation and decommissioning prime contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth (FBP) awarded about $67 million, or about 60 percent, to small businesses, topping its goal of 50 percent.
Of its more than $11 million subcontracting total, contractor Mid-America Conversion Services (MCS) awarded over $7 million, or nearly 65 percent, to small businesses, surpassing its goal of 50 percent. MCS is the depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion contractor for EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office in Lexington, Kentucky. MCS operates EM’s two DUF6 conversion facilities and maintains the DUF6 inventory at the Portsmouth and Paducah sites in Ohio and Kentucky, respectively.
Selected as a 2010 DOE Small Business of the Year, Edgewater Technical Associates is an example of a MCS small business subcontractor. The northern New Mexico business assists with the restart of the Portsmouth DUF6 conversion plant. Its employees prepared startup documents and program and personnel improvements to enable readiness reviews for the restart of plant operations.
Fluor Federal Services (FFS), the former deactivation and remediation prime contractor at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site, beat its goal of 55 percent by awarding more than $43 million, or approximately 80 percent, of its nearly $54 million subcontracting total.
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Management and operations contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) awarded more than $44 million, or 63 percent, of its approximately $70 million subcontracting total to small businesses, surpassing its goal of 50 percent.
VJ Technologies is an example of a NWP small business subcontractor. VJ provides X-ray technology for characterization of transuranic waste containers. The company recently completed a five-year DOE mentor-protégé agreement with NWP.
VJ’s technology, which uses an enhanced radiography technique coupled with 3-D computerized tomography, reliably and automatically differentiates between materials in waste containers. This helps ensure potential hazards are identified and mitigated before waste is shipped to WIPP.
“We are very proud of our relationship with small businesses,” NWP President and Project Manager Bruce Covert said. “These companies do excellent work in support of the WIPP mission.”