What is business development, and why is it important for the Engineer Research and Development Center and you?
ERDC established a Business Development Office to serve as a focal point for enabling development of multi-laboratory, multi-business area, long-term, multi-million dollar programs that address challenging problems where ERDC can make a positive impact. Business Development explores new opportunities, customers and relationships to create long-term value for the organization.
Specifically, ERDC BD is taking a deliberate, disciplined approach to actively seek out new, substantial, long-term, sustainable projects. These enterprise projects aim to be of high national or international importance and involve most or all ERDC laboratories, even engaging external agencies as appropriate. These endeavors will require boldness, ingenuity, energy and vast participation. Additionally, BD will evaluate current business partnerships for possibilities of program expansion.
Business partnerships at ERDC have largely been pursued and managed by entrepreneurs, program managers and technical directors who connect potential business partners to a laboratory or laboratories that can best undertake the project. While this process has been successful for the ERDC, leadership recently identified the need for an element whose sole focus is to create long-term value for the ERDC by working to expand capacities for identifying, researching, analyzing and securing new businesses opportunities for ERDC and establishing strategic partnerships.
Dr. Niki Goerger leads these efforts as Director of BD, with a focus on adapting to the growing, more complex challenges of stakeholders and customers. The BDO is tasked with identifying and building powerful teams with the very best resources and skills, and providing processes and structure to deliver better, faster solutions to exceed our customer’s expectations.
Historically, American enterprise business has been successfully accomplished in the fields of science, engineering and research. Notable enterprise business projects known for their agility, cooperation, collaboration and communication among multiple national agencies include The Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project. Most recently, several discipline-based task teams worked to mitigate the impact to New Orleans from future flooding events as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Enterprise projects of this magnitude abound in our nation today. The role of the BDO is to seek out problems in need of solutions and determine if they fit within the scope of ERDC’s capabilities, reaching to external sources to complete the capabilities, if necessary.
The BDO gives employees a pipeline to submit ideas for projects. Sharing ideas can come from anywhere -- from ERDC’s Board of Directors to its newest employees. Often, an idea goes undiscovered and unfulfilled because there is no place to plant the seed and provide a process to nurture and grow that idea. Through the BDO, employees now have a place to communicate ideas and possibly see those ideas grow to fruition.
Large, enterprise business projects allow ERDC to grow its business portfolio, focusing on a level not achievable by a single laboratory or business area, and involving multiple people across the organization. By seeking partners, innovating through diverse ideas and knowledge, and collaborating those thoughts and ideas to work efficiently toward a common solution, ERDC can reach beyond its current limits and confidently enter into exciting research and development in the future, solving the toughest challenges and making a positive impact on our nation and our world.
Niki.C.Goerger@usace.army.mil, Ph.D., 601-634-2180