JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Nov. 18, 2020) -- Successes realized following the 2020 transition of small business outreach to a virtual platform due to coronavirus have led Mission and Installation Contracting Command officials to shift its approach to a single, command-wide online effort taking place March 22-26, 2021.
Planning officials said the MICC Advance Planning Briefings for Industry, or APBI, reinforces the command’s commitment to enabling Army readiness by meeting the service’s acquisition needs.
“APBIs ensure early, open and meaningful dialogue with industry to foster acquisition opportunities to all small business categories where small businesses can best support Soldiers and their families,” said Amy Ulisse, the assistant director for the MICC Office of Small Business Programs at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, who is heading up the effort. “Maintaining small business transparency, increasing competition and growing the small business industrial base remains a priority.”
Ulisse added that the event’s goals are to adequately and efficiently educate industry on the MICC and its mission partners, and provide a comprehensive overview of projected contract opportunities for the remainder of this fiscal year as well as fiscal 2022 and 2023.
MICC Office of Small Business Programs officials planned to conduct either individual or combined APBIs face to face representing 30 installations to allow industry to hear from federal contracting professionals and installation mission partners in fiscal 2020. Only four were conducted before the spread of COVID-19 led to the March cancellation of the remaining events. In an effort to overcome the struggle of reaching the small business community, a virtual approach proved to be more successful than anticipated, according to Mark Massie, the director of the MICC Office of Small Business Programs at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“We conducted a lot of research and looked at different platforms we could use that were beneficial for both the government and our small business community,” Massie said. “We held four virtual events covering six sites that all proved very successful since small businesses are all experiencing similar struggles with travel and meeting face to face in this COVID environment.”
Ulisse added that use of a virtual platform in lieu of an in-person gatherings had an immense impact on small businesses' ability to attend the event.
“Small businesses no longer had to dedicate time away from the office and travel expenses to attend,” she said. “They could attend online through their computer or smartphone from any location. The ease of attendance exponentially increased our attendance numbers, making our virtual APBIs the most successful to date.”
Feedback from the success of those four virtual events earlier this year combined with continuing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus helped shape the decision by MICC leadership to approve the five-day, command-wide event in March 2021. Massie and Ulisse along with a cross-functional team from throughout the MICC will continue to build the agenda over the following months and post updates to https://beta.sam.gov, where small business representatives will be able register for the APBI.
The event will kick off with briefings on the MICC, its mission partners at the major-command level and items of special interest. Follow-on days will include briefings on requirements by the MICC’s 418th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, and 419th CSB at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as well as the field directorate offices at Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The two brigades and field directorate offices are responsible for supporting the MICC primary mission partners including the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army North, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Military District of Washington, U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Futures Command and United States Military Academy at West Point.
Also participating in the event will be representatives from the Army Office of Small Business Programs and Small Business Administration. Following the event, MICC officials will seek to develop a collaborative effort between small businesses, local procurement technical acquisition centers and installation units requiring contracted goods and services.
MICC small business officials used the Microsoft Teams platform for its four virtual APBIs earlier this year. While officials intend to leverage that same platform again at this time for the combined 2021 event, evolving functionality for a nationwide event is being researched.
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. As part of its mission, 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.