**FILE** Jim Coleman, Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation president and CEO, addresses a procurement opportunities event at the EDC's headquarters in Upper Marlboro on Jan. 26. (Courtesy of PGCEDC)

Nearly 400 representatives of local companies gathered at the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation conference room to hear top executives from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Prince George’s County Office of Central Services explain how to tap into the more than $24 billion in procurement opportunities available through the agencies.

During EDC’s Jan. 26 “U.S. Department of Energy Procurement Opportunities Day,” an effort to help grow Prince George’s County’s commercial tax base, EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman noted that the county is on fire with development projects.

“But that’s not all we have to be excited about,” Coleman said. “Having great federal partners like the Department of Energy, who have $24 billion and are looking to buy services and products that are produced right here in Prince George’s County, makes being a local business even more profitable.”

Coleman added that EDC’s ultimate mission entails eliminating unemployment in Prince George’s County “because it is the right thing to do.”

John Hale, former director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business, talked about DOE’s mission regarding energy security, nuclear security, environmental responsibility and enhancing the efforts in scientific discovery and innovation.

“We got to explain what the DOE does, but more important, we were able to show businesses how to create wealth and create jobs,” Hale said of the meeting. “The partnership between the Department of Energy and the EDC has been fantastic. From the ‘Thirsty for Business Thursdays’ to this procurement forum, we are finding talented entrepreneurs in our own backyards. That’s what it is all about. We look forward to partnering again with the EDC throughout 2017.”

The forum also featured the County Office of Central Services, its Supplier Development and Diversity Division, as well as Ken Boras, former DOE subcontractor and prime contractor, who spoke on the quality, expertise and technical support needed to be successful winning government contracts.

Roland Jones, director of the Office of Central Services and Cyndee Phoenix, SDDD executive director, talked about how the agency connects local, small, disadvantaged, minority- and veteran-owned businesses to resources, contract opportunities, training and development and strategic partnerships.

“The continued combination of county, state and federal resources that are being presented to local companies gives an indication to the amount of diligence the county is providing to suppliers,” Jones said. “No one can make excuses about not being knowledgeable, not being exposed or not having the opportunity to network with people in government. Networking forums of this magnitude offer local businesses the opportunity to exchange ideas with decision makers and with fellow suppliers.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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