The Energy, Technology and Environmental Business Association’s New Mexico Federal Business Opportunities Forum brought together about 200 contractors, developers, business leaders and consultants from around the region on April 20 to discuss, among other things, the Laboratory’s increasing need for support from the area’s top infrastructure experts.
Hosted annually, the ETEBA forum provides participants with an opportunity to learn about the latest upcoming federal opportunities and projects in the New Mexico region and beyond, interact with leadership, and provide opportunities to network with potential business partners.
“Simply put, we need your help,” said Laboratory Director Thom Mason, who took up the microphone to provide a brief introduction of Los Alamos activities before handing things over to Deputy Lab Director for Operations Kelly Beierschmitt. “It’s an incredibly busy time for us. As you’ve probably read in the paper, we’re in a very different geopolitical environment than we’ve been in for quite some time and that’s translating into the increased work scope we’re managing.”
Beierschmitt’s portion of the presentation focused primarily on the Laboratory’s need for long-term partnerships that can sustain growth on an ongoing basis over at least the next decade.
“Our strategy is to establish strategic partnerships with this community – not short-term, not one-offs – but to set contracts in motion that can be nurtured for five to 10 years, where we roll from one mobilized job to the next,” he said.
Both Mason and Beierschmitt were quick to point out that the Laboratory’s focus is not only on developing relationships with large, specialized companies, but is also prioritizing business with small, niche subcontractors.
“We are doing work at every scale and bringing our niche subcontractors together and introducing them to one another – there are things they can do for each other that make us more successful,” Beierschmitt said. “When we were doing one building at a time, we didn’t have to do that. But we’ve got so much ahead of us, I think a willingness for these folks to partner is going to be very important."
Other highlights included conversations with Deb Lewis, senior director for the Infrastructure Program and Planning Office, on the Laboratory’s ramp up of 60 large and small construction projects in the Pajarito Corridor, deactivation and decommissioning efforts, and the Lab’s outlook on green and sustainable initiatives. Within its overall infrastructure portfolio, the Lab is projected to spend about $588 million on construction alone in FY23. In addition, the Small Business Program office staffed a booth at the forum, where they networked with suppliers and answered questions throughout the event.