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Work opportunities abound at Detrick

June 15, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County businesses are missing opportunities for work at Fort Detrick, some local business officials said Tuesday during a networking event hosted by the Fort Detrick Alliance.

Before people commute to Washington, D.C., they should stop at Fort Detrick in Frederick County, Md., and see if they can work directly or contractually for the fort, said Kervin R. Spivey, a retired soldier who worked at the fort and is owner of Jen-esis, a telecommunications company in Hagerstown. His company helps the fort with high-end security cameras.

There are always new opportunities for small businesses to work with Fort Detrick and the agencies at the fort, said Anna Johnson-Winegar, president of the nonprofit Alliance. Opportunities range from scientific and technical work to construction and support such as plumbing, carpentry, landscaping, electrical work and on-site administrative help, she said.

The Alliance is a group of business people, similar to a chamber of commerce, that helps private companies learn about work with the fort and the federal agencies there.

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The Alliance hosted the networking event Tuesday in the atrium at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center on Dual Highway that was attended early on by 77 people.

Wilford O. Seilhamer has worked on and off with the fort for 43 years, lately as senior vice president for Miller & Anderson Inc.'s Hagerstown operation. The mechanical and electrical contractors' latest job with the fort was plumbing and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work.

Seilhamer said company officials are trying to learn more about who to contact and how to access projects for bidding.

Because the fort is a federal operation, often there are bidders from across the country, he said.

One website to try is http://www.fbo.gov, Seilhamer said.

Eileen Mitchell, deputy garrison commander at Fort Detrick, said the fort and the Alliance are trying to get all of the organizations at the fort to use that website to post contract opportunities, but it's been a real job to get all of that information to one place.

Another website to check is the fort's at http://www.detrick.army.mil, Mitchell said.

Mitchell estimated that the annual contracts through the fort and the agencies there are worth close to $3 billion. That's probably missing some, but it's a close figure, she said.

Rob Ferree is deputy director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission and an Alliance board member.

Fort Detrick is like a "miniature city," so there are services Washington County companies could provide just as well as Frederick County companies, Ferree said.

Mitchell estimated that about 2,000 people live in Washington County and work at Fort Detrick.

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