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On the Ground: Industry Day, Power Plant Project Attract Afghan Contractors

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2009 – Afghan contractors turned out in great numbers this week for events in Afghanistan that showed them the ropes of getting work and gave them a chance to hear about how they can bid on a power plant project.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Afghan engineer Anwar Siawash, Task Force Gladiator civil affairs team cultural advisor, explains expectations and answers questions from about 30 local contractors who gathered Feb. 15, 2009, to discuss a power plant refurbishment project during a pre-bid meeting in the Jabal Saraj District of Afghanistan’s Parwan province. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Afghanistan Engineer District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hosted an Industry Day event Feb. 17 in the capital city of Kabul to inform construction companies of how to get work with the Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan.

Representatives from about 200 construction companies attended the event and received information about construction programs, proposal preparation, quality assurance management and other topics.

In fiscal 2009, the Afghanistan Engineer District will execute about $4 billion in construction projects in Afghanistan. More than 70 percent of current construction contracts were awarded to Afghan firms, and nearly 90 percent of all workers on the projects are Afghan, officials said.

Tim Robbins, a U.S. contracting specialist, said the Industry Day gave the participants the necessary information they need to navigate the solicitation process and submit quality proposals. They also gained an understanding of the Corps’ quality management requirements during construction, he added.

“The response to the Industry Day was so great that we had to turn some companies away,” Robbins said, noting that more Corps of Engineers Industry Day events are planned for the near future.

Earlier, a Feb. 15 meeting in the Jabal Saraj district of Afghanistan’s Parwan province attracted more than 30 local contractors interested in bidding on the refurbishment of the district’s power plant. The plant's turbine generators have dropped electrical output dramatically after more than 90 years of use.

Army Col. Scott A. Spellmon, commander of Task Force Warrior, the headquarters unit for Task Force Gladiator, said the facility represents an early U.S. investment in Afghanistan.

"Constructed by American A.C. Jewitt from 1911 to 1918, the turbines and materials for this hydro-electric plant were hauled over the Hindu Kush Mountains by elephant carts,” he said. “Today, its two general electric turbines still provide electrical power to the people of Jabul Saraj. We are excited and proud to restore this power plant to its original capacity."

Over the course of three hours, Hamyoon Kohastani of the Task Force Gladiator civil affairs team and Afghan engineer Anwar Siawash explained expectations, answered questions and led a brief tour of the plant, said Army Capt. Bonitto Housen, Task Force Gladiator civil affairs team leader, who helped to coordinate the pre-bid meeting.

Siawash, who works with TF Gladiator as an engineer and cultural advisor, described the meeting as a success.

"There was a very good turnout, and this prevents any misunderstandings … of what we expect for the refurbishment of this power plant," he said.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Combined Joint Task Force 101 news releases. Army Capt. Jonathan Merrill of the Task Force Warrior public affairs office contributed to this article.)

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Related Sites:
U.S. Forces Afghanistan
Combined Joint Task Force 101
Afghanistan Engineer District

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