The April 12 event was well attended by small business owners from chiefly Utah and some adjoining states. During the three-hour event, peak attendance reached approximately 110 visitors and exhibitors. The fair was sponsored by the Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) office at Dugway, and the regional MICC-Fort Carson Small Business Specialist who supports contracting efforts at Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Dugway.

Col. Brant Hoskins, commander of Dugway Proving Ground welcomed vendors seeking information. He emphasized that, "chemical and biological defense testing is the lion's share of what we do for the nation and its allies," adding that Dugway also simulates scenarios to train American forces, civilian agencies and foreign allies how to locate, identify, and deal with chemical or biological agents.

But at nearly 800,000 acres of remote desert, Dugway also allows conventional patrolling, navigating, artillery or medical evacuation components. A tenant unit that tests unmanned aerial systems, headquartered in Alabama, benefits from Dugway's controlled airspace up to 58,000 feet. For all, small business contractors may provide some of the services and supplies they or their training areas require.

Jim Keetch, MICC director at Dugway, said his office, and the regional office were pleased to host another small business vendor fair at Dugway.

"The format provides curious and interested small businesses the opportunity to speak to the Dugway end-users, gain an understanding of their particular requirements, and then address how their company's services or supplies might meet a need," Keetch said. "There are times when a Dugway entity may not even know they are missing something until they see it; this is why this type of connection and event is so important."

A short video explained the varied testing and training conducted at Dugway; numerous visitors were surprise at its varied activities. Displays or swag at the fair caught the eye, but interaction between people was key.

Kim Gladden of E.T. Technologies of Salt Lake City, offering environmental services, praised the fair for offering a wide range of topics. He worked at Dugway previously for two weeks, but this was his first small business fair.

"There's a lot of information here," Gladden said. "I know it's a stepping stone but you have to step on the stones to cross the river. It's very interesting."

Grant Salisbury of ANNIK Engineering of Draper, Utah spoke at length with Tonya Ashment, a test officer and chemist at the Chemical Test Division. He said he'd been to Dugway once, and was impressed with the information offered.

The Small Business Administration table was popular, as visitors chatted with Brent Owens, the SBA Procurement Center representative, to learn how Uncle Sam might help them. Owens praised the fair for providing a single location to learn about Dugway contracts.

"It helps us better, to help to position the company to get contracts with Dugway Proving Ground," Owens said.

For more information on small business contract opportunities at Dugway Proving Ground, contact Keetch at alfred.j.keetch.civ@mail.mil or Angela Arwood (Gallegos) at angela.r.arwood.civ@mail.mil