Hanford contractors, small businesses team up

Hanford's five large contractors spent nearly $750 million on subcontracts with small businesses in fiscal 2011, they reported.

"We view small businesses, especially in the local community, as our teaming partners," said Tess Klatt, small business manager for Washington River Protection Solutions, in a statement. "They provide much-needed talent, skills and resources that help support our mission."

Spending by the large Department of Energy contractors at Hanford included:

-- Washington Closure Hanford, which is cleaning up Hanford along the Columbia River, spent $170 million, or more than 90 percent of its subcontracting dollars with small businesses. It awarded $188 million total in subcontracts to 297 companies.

About $119 million in total procurements were made to companies in the Hanford region. Its contract with the Department of Energy requires that at least 65 percent of its procurements come from small businesses.

"Total procurements were down from the previous fiscal year by about $21 million," said Rodney M. Harrison, Washington Closure procurement manager, in a statement. "That's due in large part to rescheduling of some work because of unexpected conditions encountered in the field and the work starting to wind down."

Washington Closure procurements will continue to fluctuate and taper off during the next several years as cleanup of Hanford along the Columbia River is completed, he said.

Washington Closure also will not have American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money to spend this year. It awarded more than $30 mil-lion in Recovery Act money to 232 subcontractors in 2011.

-- CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., which is cleaning up central Hanford, spent more than $308 million on subcontracts and purchases in fiscal 2011, with 60 percent, or $186 million, going to small businesses.

Subcontract awards ranged from agreements with a Richland Industrial -- a one-person, woman-owned business that provides safety and industrial supplies -- to complex awards to Ojeda Business Ventures of Richland for support on the radioactive sludge stabilization project.

"Supporting small business means we not only support DOE's vision to reduce the Hanford Site cleanup footprint, but we're putting money back into our own community," said Vicki Bogenberger, vice president of CH2M Hill business services, in a statement.

Since the start of CH2M Hill's contract in 2008, more than $1.7 billion in subcontracts have been awarded, with slightly more than half, about $896 million, awarded to about 450 small businesses. More than 70 percent of all awards stayed in the greater Tri-City area.

-- Mission Support Alliance, which provides support services for all of Hanford, awarded about $230 million in subcontracts in fiscal 2011, including $105 million to small businesses.

That included about $48 million spent with Tri-City small businesses. "Small businesses often offer us the expertise we seek for executing jobs on time and on budget," said Frank Armijo, president, in a statement.

Its small business subcontracts goal for the coming year is to exceed $115 million. Since it started work in 2009, it has awarded $296 million in small business subcontracts.

-- Washington River Protection Solutions, the Hanford tank farm contractor, awarded more than $155 million in subcontracts to 327 companies in fiscal 2011.

Of that, almost 65 percent, or $101 million, was spent with small businesses, exceeding the company's goal to place more than 58 percent of all subcontract work with small businesses. Almost $39 million was awarded to companies in Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Walla Walla counties.

In addition, it spent another $8 million with small businesses outside the local area in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Spending in fiscal 2011 included $16 million in subcontracts paid for with Recovery Act money. Total Recovery Act spending by the contractor included 850 subcontracts totaling more than $152 million, with almost 76 percent of that spent with small businesses.

-- At the vitrification plant, almost $187 million was outsourced to small businesses, including $125 million spent with Tri-City businesses. Since the start of the project, $1.3 billion has been spent with small businesses, include $960 million with Tri-City businesses.

The vitrification plant, or Waste Treatment Plant, is being built by Bechtel National to turn radioactive waste now in underground tanks in the Hanford tank farms into a stable glass form for disposal.