By Jerome Aliotta, GVSC Public Affairs

WARREN, Mich. --As part of its modernization efforts, the Army is determined to find quick solutions to bring innovative technology advancements from industry to the Army's ground vehicle community.

Innovation Outreach brought together more than 150 industry partners and government representatives June 5 at Macomb Community College to exchange information on Other Transaction Agreements. These expedited contracting mechanisms for prototype-related work are the primary access point for industry to get involved in supporting the Army's ambitious ground vehicle goals.

"Since fiscal year 2014, when the U .S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center started utilizing OTAs, through fiscal year 2018, more than a half billion dollars in contracts have been awarded through OTAs, and the trend is only going upward," said Al Grein, the executive director for Research & Technology Integration at GVSC, which hosted the day-long event along with the Macomb Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

From a government perspective, OTAs are more efficient than traditional contracts and draw in smaller non-traditional defense contractors, Grein said.

"The thought is that smaller businesses can bring greater innovative ideas and greater flexibility into the workplace with technologies that may not have been considered before," he said.

Innovation Outreach had on-hand 13 OTA-supported consortiums representing upwards of 95 percent of total DOD OTA spend, arguably the largest number of OTA experts in a single room at one time, said Ben McMartin, GVSC's Acquisition Chief.

"This event is a convenient way for industry partners to match their technology developments with an applicable consortium if they want to play in the OTA game," McMartin said.

"For our government partners, this gathering showcases the tools available to get streamlined procurement out to a pool of vendors that specialize in the technology they're trying to get to," he said.

"The bottom line is OTAs give industry a low-barrier of entry to do business with GVSC, where we in turn get access to their cutting-edge solutions without the bureaucracy."

GVSC, located in one of only four regional defense innovation hubs across the nation, also receives support through the Macomb Regional PTAC, which assists Michigan defense industry suppliers in obtaining government contracts, said Beth Cryderman Moss, regional program director.

"Since August, our office has seen 141 new clients. That's over a 1,000 hours of counseling and over 1,700 different counseling sessions," Moss said. "We have participated in 27 events, with more to go, and have awarded more than $2 million to clients in contracts.

"I think that's a pretty good stat, and tells you the amount of activity just in the Macomb county area and how much involvement we have with DoD and other federal agencies."