Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004 - (Page 36)

ONE ON ONE Smaller Can Be Better, But Not Always Easier Q. A. You have been active with The idea of increasing the our technology and even with a number of ACEC committees, size standard to include a num- our U.S. government partner, the including the Federal Agencies ber of personnel I believe National Institute of Standards Liaison and International Com- 50 is probably much too and Technology NIST , to pro- mittees. How has participating large, unless they break down vide additional technical support in these committees helped you engineering into sub-sectors. and training, along with lobbying in your business? While I'm not personally in by the U.S. ambassador it ulti- favor of small business set- mately came down to the lowest A. asides, as I believe we should price. Small firms are going to The primary benefit for me compete based on a business have a difficult time competing has been the education. I feel that decision, it isn't reasonable now with firms that have offices in the I've learned things that would without set-asides. If govern- locations of the project, unless you normally take hours and hours of John Woods is a principal at ment procurement was a little sub to a large firm, or have access attending seminars, searching the Woods-Peacock Consultants in more forthright in terms of the to a local firm for teaming. Web or hunting down a resource. Arlington, Va. size of the project or the size I'm not sure we, as members, Q. contract and what funding was As you know, more fed- fully realize that what we have actually available or expected, I eral agencies are trending through ACEC is a consultant to think some of the competition toward the use of design-build. help us solve business problems. issues would disappear because How has your firm responded The added benefits include the the large firms just wouldn't be to this trend? opportunity to network among interested. peers. As a structural engineer, I A. If you can't beat them, you have had work referred to my Q. What value does ACEC join them. We actually do a fairly firm either because of our expert- provide to small firms and what large percentage of our work in ise, or because it was in our geo- areas would you like to see design-build for the federal gov- graphic area. Since my firm is a Q. As a small firm owner, ACEC expand regarding its ernment. We do not do much small business, it also provides what do you view as the major service to small firms? design-build for the private side. an opportunity to meet contacts, issues affecting the small busi- I have learned that working with particularly from the larger firms A. ACEC provides education ness engineering community? contractors is not much different whose employees tend to have and representation before gov- from getting married. You better more time to serve on the A. We probably have some of ernment bodies that we could have a lot of understanding, con- committees. the same issues that affect large not afford to do ourselves. fidence and trust when you go to Q. businesses, which include find- Your firm does a great When I look at the number of work with a contractor on one of ing qualified people and comply- deal of work overseas. What are hours it takes, particularly on these projects. If you have a good ing with government regulations. the challenges facing the small the legislative side, to make relationship, the risk-reward is The first issue leads to getting firm owner in securing and phone calls, to know what is good, and you are treated as a fair and reasonable fees to allow doing projects abroad? going on and to provide a point professional, not as a trade sub- us to pay what it will cost for of view, ACEC is a small busi- contractor. A. good engineers. The second Going out into the private/ ness person's lobbyist. Continu- Q. involves just keeping up with or The SBA has proposed public sector overseas is expensive ing to help small firms find understanding government regu- to restructure the size standard to do. I actually had the opportu- affordable health insurance and lations that affect us specifi- used to define small engineering nity to pursue a municipal project other business services is impor- cally OSHA, the FAR, the Fair services firms. What direction in the United Arab Emirates five tant. I find that the opportunity Labor Standards Act, 401K/ do you think SBA should take years ago. While they expressed an for education, for business profit sharing and issues dealing to accurately define small interest in working with a small development and networking with health insurance. businesses? American firm to benefit from through ACEC is just terrific. 3 6 ENGINEERING INC. J u l y l August 2004

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004

Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
ACEC's Newly Elected Leaders
Road Block Ahead
Building a Rainbow Coalition
2004 Convention Highlights
ACEC Fall Conference
Members in the News
One on One
Engineering Excellence Award
Institute for Business Management

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004