MOLINE, Ill. -- Business owners from across America came together for the 2014 Midwest Small Business Government Contracting Symposium to learn about how small businesses can partner with the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and other defense logistics agencies to achieve common goals at the iWireless Center here, May 7-8.

This year's theme was "Small Business, Big Success."

After the opening ceremonies, Maj. Gen. John Wharton, ASC commanding general and Rock Island Arsenal senior mission commander, and Tara Barney, President and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the crowd.

John Nerger, executive deputy to the commanding general of Army Materiel Command, ASC's higher headquarters, provided the key note speech.

In the morning of day one, small business officers attended a session titled "Approaches to Successful Prime Contractor Relationships" moderated by a representative from Leidos. The panelists included officers from Honeywell Technical Solutions, Fluor Government Group, DynCorp International, L-3 Communications and Hancock Management. Later that morning they received a small business legislative update.

The afternoon turned the focus towards the opportunities on the Arsenal and included Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise and Logistical Readiness Center updates from Scott Welker, deputy to the commander, ASC; Melanie Johnson, principal assistant responsible for contracting, U.S. Army Contracting Command -- Rock Island; and Joseph Schulz, deputy director, installation logistics, ASC.

Johnson also briefed requirements for ACC-RI.

There were also two break-out sessions. The first focused on small business administration and was hosted by Pat Brown-Dixon, regional administrator for Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The second was hosted by attorney at law, Matt Cannon, and focused on understanding the law when it comes to defense contracting.

On the second day, the small business representatives learned more about the requirements of different agencies on RIA. They were briefed by Patricia Huber, deputy to the commander, Joint Munitions Command; Col. Elmer Speights Jr., U.S. Army Garrison -- Rock Island; Mark Morrison, director for industrial base and infrastructure planning, AMC; Matthew Sannito, deputy executive director for LOGCAP; Col. David Luders, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; and Col. Mark Deschenes, commander of Rock Island District of Corps of Engineers.

In the afternoon, leadership from Rock Island Arsenal and Redstone Arsenal, home of AMC in Huntsville, Alabama, hosted a senior leaders panel moderated by Kathryn Szymanski, ASC. Panelists included Huber; Michael Hutchison, U.S. Army Contracting Command; Johnson and Luders.

The Iowa/Illinois Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association hosted the event. There were approximately 100 exhibitors and 600 attendees.