Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts – Hanscom Air Force Base small business and contracting professionals shared insights and resources with local business leaders during a Hanscom Representative Association event Nov. 1.
Andrea Panagoulias, director of the Small Business Program here, and Christina Botelho, contracting officer for the Digital Directorate, will be working with the Massachusetts APEX Accelerator, General Services Administration, and Office of Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence Networks. has joined Small's Cryptography and Cyber Systems Division. Business Program Office for a hybrid HRA panel event held at the Northstar Campus of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Applied Research Corporation in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Discussions focused on the value of market research, recent changes to small business law, joint venture confidentiality requirements, and a variety of other topics.
Mr. Panagrias emphasized the importance of market research for acquisition and contract planning. Her office works early and often with both industry and program offices to increase awareness of specific mission needs and the capabilities, solution sets, and types of businesses that may support those needs. She said they are encouraged to do so. Panagrias said that with this information, her office can advise on the small business aspects of acquisition strategies.
“We try to leverage industry associations within the region,” she said. “When a very important request for information, industry day, or draft request for proposals is submitted and we know it will garner a lot of interest, we send it to the HRA and AFCEA Lexington-Concord branch for review. The industry knows what's going on with Hanscom and recognizes the potential opportunity.”
Botelho also noted the value of government and industry engagement, saying Collider events and other networking opportunities are “where government, innovation and small businesses connect.”
“I strive to be the kind of person that small businesses can reach out to with the tough questions they're afraid to ask others,” she said. “That's what I'm really passionate about, and I want to make it as easy as possible for small startups to get contracts with the Department of Defense.”
Panelists from the Massachusetts APEX Accelerator and GSA also shared how their organizations are working to facilitate collaboration between government and industry.
Stanley Grip, procurement specialist for Massachusetts APEX Accelerator, emphasized Bid Match. This is his APEX Accelerator Boolean search engine that helps you match business capabilities with public openings in the Federal Register and participating state and local registries. Relevant solicitation links are then emailed directly to businesses, saving valuable time, Grip said.
Mike D'Alessandro, GSA Customer and Stakeholder Engagement Office Air Force and Space Force Accounts Branch Chief, provided details about GSA's Market Research as a Service program, which is “free, fast, and high quality.” said to serve the market. Helps provide research to GSA customers and streamline the information request process.
In addition to presentations from each panelist, the HRA event also featured Q&A sessions with in-person and virtual attendees.
Zakiya Norris, small business specialist in the Cryptographic and Cyber Systems Division Small Business Program Office, said offices like hers help connect industry with contracting officers, program managers and other government representatives, and that small business He talked about how it functions as a bridge to help match people. Provide functionality to potential end users.
Panagrias said the ultimate takeaway from the panel discussion is that the Department of the Air Force is working to maximize the participation of small businesses in mission support.
“We hope this event demonstrated how all of our panelists and their organizations support not only small businesses but the Hanscom acquisition community,” said HRA Chair Natasha Ludwig. “I think this event will be really helpful to our members and I hope you all take advantage of the resources discussed.”
To contact the Hanscom Small Business Programs office, email Panagoulias at email@example.com.
The HRA brings together representatives from small businesses, large corporations, and startups in the Hanscom Air Force Base area to foster collaboration in the acquisition process. For more information about HRA, please visit hanscom-reps.org.