Robins reaches out to businesses

wcrenshaw@macon.comFebruary 19, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Robins Air Force Base held a conference Wednesday to help companies navigate the complex process of doing business with the government.

About 75 representatives of businesses large and small attended the four-hour event held at the Mercer Engineering Research Center. It was a smaller scale version of the three-day Requirements Symposium that had been held for years in Perry. The symposium wasn’t held last year due to tighter Department of Defense regulations on holding conferences, and it won’t be held this year, but it is expected to come back in 2015.

Wednesday’s event featured several speakers who explained the process by which the Department of Defense establishes a requirement, then puts it out for bid.

“This is trying to demystify the process,” said Tony Baumann, director of contracting at the base. “A lot of people don’t really understand it because what they don’t see is what they don’t trust.”

He said ensuring that businesses understand the process and have faith in it is important because competition is key to getting the best price. The base expects to issue about $5 billion in contracts this year.

The conference was organized by the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Industry Committee. John Shawhan is chairman of the committee and senior program manager with Scientific Research Corp., a defense contractor.

Shawhan said Wednesday’s event was important because better communication benefits both the government and contractors. He said a company may spend thousands researching a government proposal, only to find it isn’t right for the company.

“Some of these people are looking for an understanding of how the process works and how they can reduce their risks,” he said. “Understanding what they expect helps us give them a better product.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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