FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
In support of on-going efforts to close the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility, the Department of the Navy’s Office of Small Business Programs held a virtual Procurement Readiness Workshop July 26-27.
Red Hill is an underground fuel storage facility on Oahu, completed in 1943, which holds Defense Logistics Agency Energy fuel as part of Defense Fuel Support Point Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii. In March 2022, the Secretary of Defense directed the defueling and closure of the Red Hill facility.
The goal of the outreach effort was to help educate the Hawaiian Industrial Base on how they can support Red Hill transition efforts. Gabriella Earhardt, director of DLA Energy Supplier Operations and head of the contracting activity, joined Gregory Thevenin, associate director of the DLA Energy Office of Small Business Programs, at the workshop to discuss ways to work with DLA Energy.
Small businesses in Hawaii are defined as firms with fewer than 500 employees. According to the Hawaiian Small Business Administration (PDF), 99.3% of Hawaii businesses are defined as small businesses, employing 49.9% of Hawaii employees in 2021.
The well-attended virtual workshop offered insights into the requirements to do business with the federal government. Lessons learned from past small business interactions were used to educate the Hawaiian Industrial Base, and other attendees, on best practices available to those looking to partner with the Department of Defense on this important effort. The goal is to increase opportunities for Hawaii’s small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profits to compete for work in the defense sector and federal marketplace.
Earhardt provided opening remarks, welcoming the participants.
“We see our relationships with small businesses as a partnership which includes sharing information and working together,” Earhardt said. “For DLA, it’s more than a goal, it’s about helping small businesses and seeing them succeed. DLA has met their small business goals for the last nine years and while it is good to set a goal and meet it, more importantly it’s the impact that we have had on small businesses.”
Thevenin followed with a presentation on DLA Energy small business opportunities in Hawaii and explained how contracting with small businesses impacts the commercial marketplace. DLA Energy’s Office of Small Business Programs was asked to take the lead in organizing the outreach to the Hawaiian small business community.
“We are trying to expand access to contracting for small businesses and open more doors for equity and opportunity, including where we have work to do for women-owned small businesses and HUBZone businesses for the Red Hill transition efforts,” Thevenin said.
Small businesses will play a key role in ongoing efforts to safely and expeditious close the Red Hill facility. The Department recognizes the importance of partnering with small businesses in all aspects of mission support as evidenced by this outreach effort. Commitment to increased small business is evidenced by data collected by the Small Business Administration showing that in fiscal year 2021, federal agencies increased total spending with small firms by $8 billion.