BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
The Northern Mariana Islands Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific hosted the first briefing held in the NMI, albeit virtually. The CNMI Virtual Industry Day on March 23 included presentations on the Guam military buildup, the Tinian Divert Airfield project, the capacity of Tinian, small business programs, PTAC services and how to do business with the federal government. The event was designed for subcontractors to network with prime contractors and discuss military construction opportunities within the NMI.
William Boudra, director of the Guam Program Management Office at NAVFAC Pacific in Hawaii, kicked off with the background to the military buildup, reminding attendees that about 5,000 U.S. Marines will be transferred to Guam from Okinawa. “Some global Marines are also coming to Guam,” he said. Boudra also gave attendees a brief overview of progress at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Guam; and at Andersen Air Force Base, which will host Marine Corp Aviation combat forces. While one hangar is fully completed, he said, “We are still yet to award the aviation administration building and a facility for airport training.” At Apra Harbor on Naval Base Guam, improvements to wharfs are completed and a medical/dental clinic and waterfront headquarters are currently in construction. “We have an embarkation facility to be awarded,” Boudra said. “We are building a number of firing ranges,” he told attendees, including the live fire training facility at North West Field on Andersen. The Urban Training Complex at Andersen South is undergoing completion, he said (See photo on Front Page). As to the machine gun training range, he said, “That contract is to be awarded later this year.” Boudra underlined the various jobs and contracting available in Guam that will become available in Tinian related to the Divert Airfield. In general, he said of 2021 to 2023, “The bulk of the projects will be contracted during that time frame. He estimated $1 billion per year for the current year and next year. Boudra declined to speculate on the dollar amount of work to be awarded in the NMI.
Wayne Acosta, NAVFAC Pacific DC project manager, spoke on the various parts of the Tinian Divert Airfield. Both he and Boudra were at pains to correct any impression the project had been cancelled, despite the delay and official pullback of the airfield pieces announced on Feb. 25 at a joint meeting of the Guam Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers, the Guam Contractors Association and a number of local professional organizations. “They are not canceled and will be redesigned,” Boudra said, adding that any award will be made “as soon as possible.” The postponement of any award is due to the cost of the various phase bids. (See “Costs will delay Tinian divert airfield awards,” in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal, or at www.mbjguam.com.)
Capt. Timothy C. Liberatore, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas told the Journal in December, “The whole program has shifted — most likely an entire year, so we won’t see it till probably the second quarter of fiscal 2022.” Original cost estimates were $109 million for the parking apron, $98 million for Phase One of the airfield development and a further $109 million for fuel tanks with a pipeline system, according to Journal files. Recent NAVFAC estimates in February capped those projects at $100 million.
Tinian’s construction capacity and ability to meet demands will be determined by the amount of work and requirements, according to Matthew O. Deleon Guerrero, owner of Hive Analytics, who presented the CNMI Construction Capacity Study, completed between 2018 and 2020 by NAVFAC Pacific. The study assessed “generally, what are the limiting factors that need to be addressed,” he said.
The construction capacity analysis is based on evaluating Tinian and the NMI’s infrastructure and utility capacities, as well as the availability and cost of labor, equipment, materials, and transportation within construction thresholds that range by dollar millions between $100 million to $400 million.
The capacity will depend on the dollar amount of construction expenditure, so for example at $100 million, “There’s sufficient capacity in some areas, but in solid waste or wastewater [disposal], and limited labor and materials capacity,” Deleon Guerrero said. At that level, roadways and harbor improvements would be needed — as well as container storage at the harbor; there would be sufficient fuel, he said. There would be a need for imported materials and about 500 workers. Needs rose with the amount of expenditure into the NMI, to include container storage needs, the number of workers and their housing.
Deleon Guerrero said some of the data had changed since the survey. “Triple J has taken on acquiring significant property in Tinian for construction housing,” he said. In addition, the Philippines has been restored as a location to provide H-2 contract workers as of January. In addition, after speaking to contractors regarding importing goods, he said, “There is opportunities of scale if conditions demand it.”
Philip T. Mendiola-Long, corporate consultant to Bridge Investment Group LLC and president of Fiduciary Resources LLC told the Journal in February that businesses have been receiving support in supplying Seabee needs in Tinian. These include Sherman Consulting LLC which does
business as the Marianas Business Center, for office hosting; FPA Inc. and Power Builders International, for manpower and heavy equipment rental; Paradise Security Services LLC, for security services; Tinian Fuel Service Inc., which does business as TLC Landscaping and Custodial Services, for portable toilet rental and cleaning, Tinian Fuel Services inc., for fuel supply, Avis Car Rental, for vehicle leasing, the JC Café for food services, Tinian Fuel Services Inc., which does business as Primo’s Diner for food services and the Tinian Diamond Hotel for lodging.
Mendiola-Long — who is also president of the Tinian Chamber of Commerce — told the paper at the time, “USA Environmental tried to utilize all services locally and the Tinian business community is grateful to Navy contractors such as them.”
Triple J Enterprises has also invested $2 million in the Tinian Western Lodge (the former Tinian Hotel) and Bar-K Diner and Hertz locations, plus one at the airport, with additional funding on its rental car fleet and the wholesale operation, due to open in April, adding 32 jobs to the market.
Regina K. Pasqualucci, deputy manager for NAVFAC Pacific Small Business Programs and Norma Borja, small business professional with the Small Business Program office at NAVFAC Marianas underscored the need for small businesses to research and connect with PTAC, as large projects may not have small business set-asides. But for prime contractors, she said, “It does come up in their performance assessment.” Pasqualucci said businesses may need to do project-by-project research and look for opportunities at the sub-contracting level. However, she said, there are sometimes set asides with a contract, even if not specifically required. “I am proud to say DoD has done that.”
Sixto K. Igisomar, director of the NMI PTAC office, said, “We do have a lot of applicants who are not contract-ready.”
About 135 business representatives attended the event. There was no charge for registration. mbj