Dr. Drew Carey, given the 2013 Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year Award

2013 Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year Award 

CoastalVision provides marine scientific consulting services to commercial firms, federal and state agencies

     Dr. Drew Carey is a marine scientist with over thirty years’ experience in marine science, environmental monitoring, and marine policy.  He is a recognized expert on assessment of environmental impacts on marine ecosystems and a highly experienced facilitator.

In addition to his technical work, he began designing and leading stakeholder meetings and working groups to address environmental management issues for a wide variety of ocean and policy issues.  He has led national meetings and broad stakeholder meetings with challenging and complex issues.  Prior to forming CoastalVision, Dr. Carey was a senior scientist at Science Applications International Corporation in Newport. Prior to that he taught at Wesleyan University where he conducted scientific research on marine ecology and developed a curriculum in Ocean policy, Law of the Sea, and Ocean Resources.

In 1999, Dr. Carey formed CoastalVision, LLC in Newport, and applied his technical expertise to regional issues. The company provides marine environmental technical support to government agencies, commercial firms, and public interest groups. Initially the company provided this support through subcontracts to large businesses with prime contracts with federal and state agencies.  This model provided financial success but soon proved to be highly dependent on the success and generosity of the large businesses.

Armed with advice from the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, SCORE mentors, the Rhode Island Procurement Technical Assistance Center and colleagues, Dr. Carey decided to compete directly for prime government contracts.

In order to compete, a small business must show that it can perform 51 percent of the labor required on the contract. For a new microenterprise, this prospect was daunting; how to scale up quickly to demonstrate this capacity without work in hand?  Dr. Carey had the experience and technical knowledge to compete, but he did not have the workforce or resources to build capacity.

In 2004, the RISBDC and RIPTAC helped guide him to form a joint venture of small businesses capable of competing for prime small business contracts; in 2005, the joint venture was awarded the first $1 million prime contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War forced the drawdown of Army Corps of Engineers resources and the contract was underfunded.

Dr. Carey met with the RISBDC and developed a business plan to diversify in emerging areas of offshore energy and marine policy.  The combination of prime contracting and diversification has led to doubling of the company’s average annual sales and support of a diverse part-time labor force which averages four full-time equivalents.

CoastalVision has established projects compiling data and performing assessments for coastal management of dredged material disposal, offshore energy development, pipeline placement, port development, hydrodynamic modeling, fisheries management and water quality improvement.

CoastalVision has mentored small businesses in New England and developed a collaborative business model that relies on small businesses to share resources and workload.  This business model has taken two distinct forms: the first utilizes a pool of small businesses to provide professional collaboration in an informal network sharing staff and resources; the second has led to the formation of two joint ventures of small businesses to successfully procure federal small business set-aside contracts.

The informal network shares work and professional capabilities between over fifteen small businesses, HUBZone and women-owned businesses throughout the country.  Each business is independent and solicits work either individually or as part of the ad hoc teams designed for the specific project. As work needs arise, the network is used to level workloads and expertise between each small business.

CoastalVision has grown to support 1099 contractors with its small staff of 4 full-time equivalent employees.

For their demonstrated success and potential for continued growth with limited resources, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present the 2013 Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year Award to Dr. Drew A. Carey and CoastalVision, LLC.


Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow