FORT RILEY, Kansas (June 16, 2017) -- More than 30 people representing varied industries throughout Kansas took part in a business symposium conducted by the Mission and Installation Contracting Command here June 7.

The symposium served to provide businesses with information and points of contacts within the different agencies who can assist small businesses entering into government contracts as well as upcoming procurement opportunities at Fort Riley.

"We try to hold these symposiums about twice a year so businesses can get an idea if they can provide Fort Riley with the support that is needed by the various contracts that Fort Riley solicits throughout the year," said Sgt. 1st Class Dontrell Brown, a contract specialist at MICC-Fort Riley.

Teri Taylor from the Small Business Administration's office in Wichita spoke to those in attendance about the role of the SBA, the different socio-economic categories with which small businesses can affiliate, and assistance the SBA can provide to small businesses. Scott Knapp from Wichita State University and Kristi Dunn from the economic development agency GO Topeka explained the assistance available through the Kansas procurement technical assistance centers in Wichita and Topeka to Kansas small businesses seeking procurement opportunities with not only Fort Riley but also the government as a whole.

"The PTAC is an extremely important tool for small businesses who are interested in government contracts" said Anthony Tiroch, director of MICC-Fort Riley. "The MICC-Fort Riley office obligates about $60 million a year, depending on congressional budgets, through a variety of contracts, and about 70 percent of the dollars spent are awarded to small businesses.

"Organizations such as the SBA and PTAC provide small businesses with a wealth of information and assistance at no cost to the business, which in turn benefits the government as a whole as it increases competition in our solicitations," Tiroch added.

Larry Graham, a contracting officer at Fort Riley, highlighted the MICC's role when it came to supporting military installations by contracting for supplies, services and construction, and provided details to the audience about different procurement opportunities Fort Riley has in the coming year.

"The success of the symposium really depends on getting the word out to these businesses," Graham said. "Contracts that Fort Riley solicits throughout the year support Soldiers and their families on the installation, and the more businesses that attend can greatly assist in that support."

Keith Schwanke, the installation division chief at MICC-Fort Riley, discussed the need for a development of emergency procurement plans when disasters strike northeast Kansas. He explained that disasters are usually not isolated to one installation, town or city, and that resources needed to handle these situations become regionally based. He told participants that developing procedures on how to contract during regionally based disasters is critical, but the most important factor is being able to identify those firms that can provide the necessary resources during disasters.

The Fort Riley contracting office is one of 31 subordinate activities making up the MICC. The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members across the United States and Puerto Rico who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers' readiness. The MICC also is responsible for readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, preparing more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.