June 1, 2012

Edwards AFB shows why seminar is no small business

by Jet Fabara
95th ABW Public Affairs
Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara
The Air Force Flight Test Center Small Business Programs Office hosted the Fifth Annual Small Business Seminar May 24 so base organization representatives could meet with small business owners and representatives to see if Edwards can use their products or services.

Team Edwards once again welcomed and presented small businesses with an opportunity to learn and further enhance their knowledge of the Air Force Flight Test Center’s mission and how to participate in the base’s acquisition process.

Hosted by the AFFTC Small Business Programs Office, the Edwards Fifth Annual Small Business Seminar had more than 250 small business owners and representatives in attendance during the one-day “Path to Desert Opportunities” seminar at Stripes Lounge May 24.

“Today’s event is about bringing small businesses in contact with our contracting and requirements personnel so they know who they need to go to in order to identify products and services that the prime contractor has and the requirements that we have here at the base,” Donna Thomason, director of the AFFTC Small Business Programs Office. “By hosting this event every year, we facilitate the communication between small businesses and the base personnel responsible for developing requirements and purchasing products and/or services.”

To kick off the day’s events, Mrs. Thomason began with a seminar overview followed by welcoming remarks along with a mission briefing by the 95th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Gregory Schwab, in order to provide attendees with a better understanding of the base’s assets and capabilities.

Jacob Arola (left) was just one of the many representatives from the Air Force Flight Test Center contracting office that met with potential business partners at the Annual Small Business Seminar held May 24 at Stripes Lounge. Small business representatives participated in a one-on-one 15-minute matchmaking session with base contracting and requirements personnel to determine if the base could use their products or services.

“Being an 8(a) contractor and currently a subcontractor at NASA Dryden, we’re always looking for small business opportunities so something like this really provides a good opportunity to talk with contracting organizations about requirements they may have coming up and it also allowed us to network with other prime contractors that may have a need to have sub-contractor support with capabilities like the support we provide,” said Don Rhea, Clancy JG International vice president. “Overall, I think it’s great that the base goes through the effort to make their organizations and their people available for small businesses like us. It’s difficult, at times, to get out and just meet everybody and this seminar provides a single day with everybody in one place so you can sit down and at least get up to speed with what’s going on and tell everybody what your capabilities are.”

During the first part of the seminar, small business representatives were presented with mission briefings by Col. Michael Platt, Air Force Research Laboratory Propulsion Directorate commander, Dennis Hines, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center director of programs, and Cathi Cleveland, Directorate of Contracting chief of Clearance and Programs Support, each including an overview of what each organization accomplishes at Edwards.

“After the morning briefings are completed, small business are allowed to participate in the matchmaking session which is a one-on-one 15-minute meeting where the small business can personally meet with contracting and requirements personnel as well as prime contractors so they can specifically pitch what their company’s products and services are,” Thomason said. “Although it’s a brief introduction, it allows them to get their information out so they can be contacted at a later date.”

For the small businesses in attendance, the majority said they not only viewed this as an opportunity to have that one-on-one session with contracting personnel, but it also provided a networking opportunity with other small businesses.

“The matchmaking portion of the seminar was extremely valuable. In fact, while I was waiting to speak to a counselor I also found out about other business opportunities available for our company that I wouldn’t have known about if I weren’t at an event like this,” said Jeffrey Lu, Lumensource sales manager.

Although the majority of the small businesses represented were from California, Thomason said there were also other businesses throughout the country in attendance.

The mission of the AFFTC SBPO is to counsel companies interested in doing business with Edwards AFB, and to promote opportunities for their inclusion in Edwards’ prime contract and subcontract awards. For more information about upcoming SBPO events, contact the AFFTC SBPO at (661) 277-3640.


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