More than 300 small business representatives and small business owners converged at Cummings Research Park’s Jackson Center for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s 17th Annual Small Business Forum Oct. 12.
The event provides an opportunity for small business representatives to discuss their capabilities with Huntsville Center contracting officials and program managers to learn about upcoming Huntsville Center acquisitions. During the event, attendees also were briefed on how to do business with Huntsville Center and the benefits of utilizing the General Services Administration’s Acquisition Gateway website.
For 15 years Eloy Torrez said he’s attended the forum while representing SEI Group Inc., a Huntsville engineering firm that focuses on renewable energy services and technologies. He said over the years he’s seen Huntsville Center evolve to meet the needs of its customers and by attending the event, he can gauge what sort of services the Center will be seeking in the future.
“I think it’s a good event to learn what’s new with Huntsville Center and the federal acquisition industry, and to see what services Huntsville Center’s project managers need,” Torrez said. “That way we (SEI Inc.) can anticipate those needs and focus our efforts to the Center’s requirements.”
Rebecca Goodsell, Huntsville Center Small Business Office chief, said the forum is also good for business to not only connect with Huntsville Center representatives, but with each other too as businesses are always looking to partner with each other. Goodsell also said the event is important since the Huntsville Center mission is so reliant on small businesses to complete its overall mission.
She said in fiscal year 2016, Huntsville Center awarded contracts to small businesses valued at more than $700 million. She said what she’s proudest of is that in FY 16, there were increases in percentages of contracts awarded to small disadvantaged, women owned service disabled veteran owned and veteran owned businesses.
“It’s these small businesses that are the backbone of the American economy and we exceeded the Center’s prime award targets in all but one small business subcategory,” Goodsell said.