Thunderbolt receives Air Force award for Small Business outreach

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Air Force photograph

The Air Force Small Business Program awarded Luke Thunderbolt, Mary Peetz, the 2016 Small Business Specialist Award for her excellent work advocating small businesses for the warfighter.

The Air Force Small Business Program awarded Mary Peetz from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., the 2016 Small Business Specialist Award for her excellent work advocating small businesses for the war fighter.

For almost a decade Peetz, 56th Contracting Squadron director of business operations/small business specialist, has led Luke in ranking top within Air Education and Training Command for meeting its small business goals.

“It’s been seven years now that we have been number one in AETC for meeting our small business goals,” Peetz said. “We did this by awarding more dollars to small businesses than anyone else in the command.”

As a small business specialist, Peetz reviews requirements and ensures small businesses are considered.

“Every purchase requirement with a value more than $10,000 dollars must come across my desk,” Peetz said. “We have to look first at small businesses when determining our acquisition approach. This year, 91 percent of every dollar spent went to a small business.”

Meeting small business goals takes dedication and reflects highly on Peetz’s ability to lead this effort.

“This is a huge win for the unit,” said Lt.Col. Rochelle Smith, 56 CONS commander. “We place a lot of emphasis on sourcing to small businesses in our acquisition planning and execution. Helping small businesses isn’t always easy, but this award reminds all of us the effort is appreciated at the Air Force level. Ms. Peetz outreach to small businesses has created a level of partnership unparalleled at the bases I have seen in the last 16 years.”

Peetz has excelled at meeting the 56th Fighter Wing’s small business goals and employs more than 200 small business contractors. These companies provide everything from computers that sit on the Airmen’s desk to the base operations at the Barry M. Goldwater Range.

“The 56th Fighter Wing is given goals to support small business to include woman owned, HUBZone, service disabled veterans, and small disadvantage businesses,” Peetz said. “The wing is given goals for how many dollars we award to those specific socioeconomic categories.”

Peetz has organized small business training workshops, rewritten Air Force Instruction on small business practices, piloted courses for the small business career field and created an expanding Facebook presence to educate small businesses.

“For the past three years, I have been a member of an Air Force training cell team that writes the small business Air Force Instruction, organizes Department of Defense and Air Force small business workshops and develops management inspection checklists,” Peetz said. “That’s a big part of what I do as a small business specialist. I decided to create a Facebook page as a public place to post requirements for small businesses over five years ago. I currently have over 600 small businesses that follow the page. In addition, it helps me share information such as Luke Air Force Base prime contractors for subcontracting opportunities, how to do businesses with Luke AFB, what a government purchase card is and what we buy on this card.”

Peetz has also helped a number of major commands develop Facebook pages for their small business program.

Her effective team leadership propels her beyond the call of duty to accomplish the mission.

“Ms. Peetz brings everything together,” Smith said. “Often contracting and the acquisition process can be daunting both for customers and contractors who want to work with the Air Force. Ms. Peetz is able to effectively communicate with both the customers and prospective contractors to ensure Airmen get the products and services they need to accomplish their mission day in and day out. Our squadron is thrilled to have the Air Force affirm what we already know, Ms. Peetz is truly top notch both as a small business specialist and as a consummate contracting professional.”