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Military leaders, contractors meet in Wilmington for state business summit

FayObserver - October 20, 2011, By Drew Brooks, Staff writer

WILMINGTON - Military leaders and private contractors are meeting on the North Carolina coast today for a summit aimed at increasing opportunities for state businesses.

Representatives from several North Carolina military installations, as well as leaders with the state National Guard, Army Reserve and Army Corps of Engineers are part of the 2011 North Carolina Federal Construction & Infrastructure Summit, also known as Fedcon, which is being held in the Wilmington Convention Center.

The summit began with remarks from Tad Davis, chief executive officer for Army Reserve Command at Fort Bragg.

Davis discussed the "new realities" facing the military in the post-BRAC world.

As budgets get tighter, there will be more emphasis on creating and renovating buildings to make them "eco-friendly" in order to conserve both energy and money.

"The Army - our Army, my Army - is building green, buying green and going green," Davis said. "It's a team effort.. that's why we're here."

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Dorko, deputy commanding general of military and international operations for the Army Corps of Engineers, also told the collection of contractors to expect a new world now that base realignment and closure was complete.

BRAC brought millions of investment and tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians to Fort Bragg.

"We're at the end of the BRAC era," Dorko said. "The reality now is, the budget is shrinking."

In the near future, there will be fewer new construction projects, he said, and contractors can instead expect a greater emphasis on restoring and modernizing existing buildings.

That's certainly the case on Fort Bragg, according to ret. Col. Greg Bean, Bragg's director of public works.

Bean made a brief presentation during a panel discussion in which he highlighted Fort Bragg's BRAC-related growth while discussing where opportunities for contractors would be in the near future.

While Fort Bragg does have several upcoming construction projects - namely the building of two schools, a non-commissioned officer academy and a hospital addition, according to the Corps of Engineers - much of the work on the installation will involve restoring existing structures to make them more modern and energy efficient.

"We have to reinvent the facilities we have," Bean said. "We've got a lot of facilities that were constructed in the 70s that need to be refurbished."

Bean also said contractors could expect the installation to focus on repaving projects for the installation's roads and runways at Pope Field, which need an estimated $100 million in paving over the next five years.

 

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The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.