JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (June 18, 2020) -- A virtual approach to reaching small business representatives is allowing officials at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, to continue meeting critical contract requirements in support of the nation’s designated major range and test facility base for chemical and biological defense testing.Officials from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command headquarters and Dugway Proving Ground contracting office teamed with leaders from the Dugway Garrison and state agencies to present an advanced planning briefing to industry, or APBI, June 10 over a virtual platform.The event drew more than 100 individuals virtually representing 78 different businesses as well as congressional representatives. The briefing also included representatives from the Department of the Army Small Business Program, 418th Contracting Support Brigade and six MICC field offices from across the country.Jim Keetch, the director of contracting for MICC-Dugway Proving Ground, kicked off the event with opening remarks before introducing Brig. Gen. Christine Beeler, the MICC commanding general, who spoke on the command’s overarching mission and seven contract focus areas aligned to support the Army Contracting Command and Army Materiel Command. The Dugway Proving Ground commander, Col. Scott Gould, then welcomed industry representatives participating in the event followed by remarks by the installation garrison manager and Utah Procurement Technical Assistance Center program director.“Identifying and articulating the Army's acquisition needs to the small business community accomplishes several desired outcomes,” Keetch explained. “First, by sharing requirements with our small business community, we fortify the importance of working relationships that has been established. Second, by communicating in a venue or event such as the APBI, we can provide advance notification to the small business community of pending actions they may be interested in and thus alert them to be watching SAM.gov for a sources sought or an announcement. Lastly, by communicating the Army's acquisition needs with small businesses, we are fulfilling our responsibilities as Army acquisition professionals.”The small business outreach event that takes place annually was postponed earlier this year due to measures taken by the Army to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The contracting director said the exceptional working relationship established over many years with the small business community, Utah Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Utah Small Business Administration office, and its mission partners allowed for a fairly smooth transition from a traditional face-to-face event to a virtual environment.“Getting to know and understand the Microsoft Teams platform, getting interested participants registered, coordinating event protocols with presenters, and working out a few kinks with presentation materials were experienced, but a team effort got us quickly through them,” Keetch said.Dugway Proving Ground is responsible for testing and evaluating nearly all chemical and biological defense capabilities including protective gear, detection systems and decontamination equipment in support of Army and DOD activities. Its secluded 1,252 square miles of mountain terrain, mixed desert terrain and flats afford the installation the necessary environment to test and train.“I appreciate the adaptability and hard work done by Jim Keetch and the team to make this event happen under COVID-19 conditions,” Gould said. “As Dugway Proving Ground is a remote and isolated installation, linking into small businesses is crucial for accomplishing our mission. The support they provide on many projects truly matters.”The virtual small business event also included a presentation by the MICC’s Wendy Hercules, who advocates on behalf of small business interests for contracts executed by MICC-Dugway Proving Ground. She spoke on her role, small business program achievements as well as the program’s efforts to foster acquisition opportunities to all small business categories in support of Soldiers and their families to ensure Army readiness and a robust industrial base.“Our focus is transparency and growing our Defense industrial base. We cannot accomplish this without making the effort to reach out to our industry partners,” said Mark Massie, the director of the MICC Office of Small Business Programs from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “We depend on our industry partners to enable the Army to deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars. This virtual APBI allows industry to hear from our contracting representatives, small business professionals and, most importantly, our mission partners and learn what's important to prepare our Soldiers to remain ready to fight.”Massie added the virtual briefing was “extremely successful with positive feedback from industry, and we will continue to improve our communications as we move forward in this new normal.”As part of the day’s virtual event, Keetch detailed forecasted contract opportunities for major services and supply contracts as well as maintenance and repair contracts to assist small business representatives in the consideration of developing business plans for the upcoming fiscal years followed by briefings from SBA opportunity specialist Cody Neville and the reverse auctioning contractor. The afternoon included briefings from representatives with the West Desert Test Center, Program Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rapid Integration Acceptance Center, Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center Biotesting Division and various garrison directorates.The event briefing, available at https://beta.sam.gov, concluded with a question-and-answer session. Keetch said that while the virtual format may have limited some benefits of the event such as social engagement, face-to-face exchanges, one-on-one discussions and teaming opportunities, it is his hope that the incorporation of relevant information into the day’s briefings along with the synchronization of mission partners, subcontracting opportunity contacts and the sharing of the registration contact list serve to mitigate those challenges.About the MICC:Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of 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.