DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- Dugway's Mission Installation Contracting Command was presented the Utah District Office Small Business Administration Contracting Office of the Year award, May 30 at the MICC conference room in the administrative area of English Village.

"This prestigious award is given to recognize your efforts in supporting the small business community of Utah," said Utah Deputy District Director Steve Price during an intimate ceremony.

Jim Keetch, Dugway's MICC director, noted the contract office had provided a presentation at the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development small business symposium in May where representatives from six western states gathered to collaborate and enhance their activities to support small businesses.

For the contact team, it's about keeping the information pertinent and fresh to draw small business community interest in contracting with the test center.

"We are constantly looking for ways to reshape events so that the same information is not presented the same way each time,"Keetch said.

In December, the contracting office was a key presenter at an open house event at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, Utah. There, 118 individuals from 93 small businesses learned about the test center's chemical and biological defense testing capabilities and various contracting opportunities for small businesses.

"It was the most people to have registered to attend a Utah outreach event," Keetch said at the time of the event.

A second vendor outreach was hosted at the proving ground in February, providing small business
owners a chance to talk with the test officers about current events and upcoming contract requirements. For most attendees it was their first introduction to the proving ground and its mission to protect the warfighter.

Price noted that these open house events, usually held in the spring and fall, maximize small business opportunities to compete for Army contracts especially for small, disadvantaged, service-disabled, veteran-owned, women-owned or historically underutilized businesses.

As Price presented the award, he expressed his appreciation for the contract office, noting that by supporting and hosting events over the past year that "Dugway had opened prospects for future solicitations, helped small business gain valuable insights and increased network opportunities for Utah's SBA across the state."

"This contract office is a beneficial partner that truly recognizes that small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and we sincerely appreciate your efforts," he added.

Keetch said he appreciates the hard work of his team and linked their success to a sense of duty to honor the military and the nation.

"We realize that what Dugway does each and every day affects, in some way or another, the lives of our service men and women, their families, and the security of this nation. We take this charge seriously and try to demonstrate that in each contract action, decision, and award made," he said.

Dugway's commander, Col. Sean Kirschner, also appeared pleased with the award calling the team "integral to mission success," citing their "skills, creativity and resourcefulness" in meeting the contract requirements of the test center.

"I am real proud of this lean, mean, team of professionals" Kirschner said. "Recognition of their accomplishments is long overdue."