FORT SILL, Okla. (July 3, 2014) -- About 80 small business owners from Southwest Oklahoma learned how to apply for federal government contracts, what services are contracted here and projected contract requirements during the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Sill open house June 25 at Snow Hall.

It was part of the Army MICC's outreach efforts to small businesses as it conducts acquisition forecast forums throughout the country for small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses known as 8(a), service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses and Historically Underutilized Business Zones, or HUBZones.

Tom Kelly, Fort Sill Garrison deputy commander, welcomed the attendees. They also heard from Annette Arkeketa-Rendon, MICC Fort Sill small business specialist, as well as numerous directors here about the types of contractors they use. MICC contracting officers also presented to explain procurement processes.

"This is an opportunity for small business owners to learn what contractors we need at Fort Sill," Arkeketa-Rendon said. "I get a lot of calls from businesses, and we don't even buy the things or services they offer."

Fort Sill contractors range from musicians for chapel services to food service personnel to construction workers to field and air defense artillery instructors.

"We do a lot of services contracts here like food service; and infrastructure like public works and construction; and training, too, is a big procurement requirement that we have," Arkeketa-Rendon said. "Just a lot of the things that we do to support the Soldiers."

The first step to contracting with the Army is registering with the System for Award Management, or, said Carmen Lee, MICC contracting officer.

Then business owners need to find contracts to bid on through websites, like Federal Business Opportunities and General Services Administration (GSA), said Arkeketa-Rendon.

"We try to procure so much of our dollars to small businesses," said Lee said, referring to a federal requirment. "We have a goal we have to meet every year for contracts under those categories."

Larry Lane, Logistics Readiness Center deputy director, spoke about the LRC's $40 million in contracts. This included bussing of Soldiers around the post, the maintenance and control of GSA vehicles and small arms maintenance.

During the six-hour event, business owners could also visit information booths including the Oklahoma Small Business Association, GSA, Great Plains Technology Center's Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network and the MICC.

Terri Shook, SBA procurement center representative from Oklahoma City, manned a booth and also presented on socioeconomic programs. She said the open house gets the word out to new contracting companies or established small businesses who are unfamiliar with federal contracting,

"We (SBA) can also give them ideas, like, well what your business does the federal government doesn't really buy, but we know that the City of Tulsa might buy it or Stephens County," she said.

The open house was also an opportunity for the business owners to network among each other to help learn and grow their businesses, Arkeketa-Rendon said. The Fort Sill MICC plans to conduct the small business open houses twice a year.

Small business owner Jesus Garay, Sooner Home Design LLC, of Lawton, is a subcontractor for Corvias Military Living. He said he came to the open house because he is looking to get his company's own contract with Fort Sill.

"The more I go to these presentations and the more people I meet I get little nuggets of information and that helps me in the (application) process," he said.