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  • Jared Erickson, PE, PMP

SBA Mentor-Protégé Program a Win-Win


By Jared Erickson, P.E., PMP

DEC Federal Project Manager

The mentor-protégé relationship between DEC and its protégé International Consulting Engineers (ICE) has been a win-win for both companies. Since forming the alliance in 2015 through the Small Business Administration (SBA) Approved 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Joint Venture (JV) program, the companies have won several federal contracts.

In addition, ICE has grown and won accolades. Based in Corpus Christi, the firm has branch offices in San Antonio, Houston and Edinburg. In 2019, ICE was honored as the USDA Nationwide Small Business Contractor of the Year.


ICE is an SBA-certified 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) and HUBZone firm. Its services include civil, hydrology and hydraulics (H&H), structural, architectural, surveying, aerial mapping and marine engineering services, as well as project and construction management and inspection.


Through the program, certified firms can seek mentorship opportunities from experienced, technically capable firms like DEC then pursue joint ventures to grow their businesses.


As the mentor firm, DEC has provided ICE with valuable business development help, including assistance in navigating federal contract bidding, acquisition and the federal procurement process; business development strategy and identifying contracting and partnership opportunities; and guidance on internal business management systems, accounting, marketing and strategic planning.


Together, the firms have won new work, including contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth, Little Rock and Galveston districts, and with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority.


Most recently, the JV received notification of award for a multiple award task order contract (MATOC) for architecture and engineering (A-E) services from Air Force Installation Contracting Center (AFICC), 772d Enterprise Sources Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland, Texas.


Individual task orders may include design for new facilities or facility sustainment, repair, modernization (SRM) and demolition activities; studies; investigations; programming and planning services; and housing support. Potential project locations include all 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories.

The second recent win was for a MATOC to provide A-E services for military programs, primarily for the USACE Fort Worth District and Southwestern Division Area of Responsibility.


Task orders may include but are not limited to facilities and infrastructure studies, engineering, design, and construction projects administered by the USACE. Potential project locations are in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.


Pictured from left, DEC Federal Project Manager Jared B. Erickson and ICE principals Hugo P. Gonzalez, Jr. and Jesus J. (JJ) Jimenez gather during a break at the USACE Galveston District Stakeholder Partnering Forum in the district’s Jadwin Building headquarters in Galveston on Oct. 6.

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