As part of the base’s ongoing commitment to enhance the partnership between small businesses and base contracting and acquisition personnel, the Air Force Test Center Small Business Programs Office hosted the 2012 Edwards Air Force Base Vendor Fair July 18.
Approximately 40 small businesses were on hand to showcase their products or services to Government Purchase Card holders, acquisition, contracting, information technology, requirements professionals and all interested persons at Club Muroc.
“An event like this really gives our people in acquisitions and GPC cardholders a more in-depth idea of the products and services that our local vendors have so they can identify which companies can best meet their requirements,” said Donna Thomason, AFTC SBPO director.
Unlike the small business seminar that was held in May, Thomason said this venue served more to accommodate all those looking for sources or wanting information on products or services that local contractors provide.
“The biggest difference between the SBS and the vendor fair was that the seminar had our senior leaders and procurement officials come in and actually brief what our mission is and discuss upcoming or actual requirements. After that, the vendors end up listening to leaders and we then have the matchmaking portion so small businesses can talk one-on-one with our requirements and contracting personnel,” Thomason said. “For this event, the vendors physically displayed what their products and services are from table-top displays. This, in turn, gives our GPC cardholders, requirements and acquisitions personnel the opportunity to see what these businesses were talking about during the initial small business and matchmaking seminar.”
For vendors like Metters Incorporated who specialize in systems engineering research and development, the event served as a way to segue into a new area and introduce Air Force personnel to what they have to offer.
“Unlike big businesses, a lot of people aren’t aware of us as a hardware company and since this is our first time attending an Air Force-affiliated vendor fair at Edwards, we thought this was a great event,” said William Koselka, Metters Inc. vice president of NASA programs. “We were here to demonstrate some of our capabilities via the use of our simulators as well as our IT capabilities and so far this event exceeded our expectations.”
During the event, vendors providing office supplies, furniture, hand tools, and many more were also on hand to answer questions and provide information regarding their products or services. For most businesses in attendance, they said this event was the best opportunity to provide interested parties a lot more insight.
“I think it’s really good for us, because it gives us an opportunity to get in front of some of the end users and buyers,” Bob Bartholomew, regional sales manager for Sprung Instant Structures Inc. “Usually, we can call them on the phone, but there’s a lot of value in being able to meet someone face-to-face and put samples of our products in their hands. Having them see actual mock-ups of our buildings and giving out information packets makes a big difference.”
“For contract specialists, on the other hand, this was a great opportunity to have that one-on-one experience with the local businesses and see what they have to offer collectively,” added Matt Chartier, AFTC Contracting Office contract specialist. “Today, I was able to have a broader range of different vendors rather than my specific area.”
The vendor fair was open to all Edwards AFB personnel, including contractors, and is held annually.
The mission of the AFTC 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 small businesses looking for more information about upcoming SBPO events, contact the AFTC SBPO at (661) 277-3640.