U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command hosted its annual Industry Days Aug. 24-25 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
This year’s theme was “Modernized Sustainment Concepts to Enable Large-scale Combat Operations.”
“Our ability to effectively support the warfighter is dependent upon our ability to effectively work with our industry partners,” said AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Todd Royar. “Industry Days provides an opportunity to not only discuss and resolve current issues, but also to initiate work on new opportunities. It truly is a team effort.”
“This is where Maj. Gen. Royar invites select original equipment manufacturers for one-on-one discussions on how they can partner together to increase supply availability and improve Army readiness,” said AMCOM Ombudsman Eric Lampkin.
Not to be confused with similar Industry Days events held throughout the Department of Defense related to solicitation for a specific product, AMCOM’s event is only for those with whom there is an existing relationship. This event does not pertain to any open/proposed solicitations or other potential contracting actions.
“These are select OEMs that AMCOM already has equity with so, therefore, we’re just exploring ideas,” Lampkin said. “This is an annual event we do for AMCOM based solely on the AMCOM portfolio.”
Industry partners can use this time to collaborate or ask for assistance in dealing with certain types of suppliers, availability of raw materials or issues with administrative lead times on the government side.
“There’s a lot of things to talk about that can help build relationships with [defense] contractors,” said Lampkin, who has been with AMCOM for a cumulative eight years since 2011. Filling the role of ombudsman since February 2019, he is heavily involved with planning and oversight of Industry Days. He added that building those relationships is one of the biggest benefits of the annual engagement.
This is AMCOM’s second iteration of Industry Days in the 18 months since COVID-19 restrictions were first emplaced. Last year’s event was completely virtual; this year, there was a hybrid platform.
“I haven’t seen a drop-off in participation,” Lampkin said. “Everybody is normally very willing to adjust and participate. Our industry partners are eager to assist Maj. Gen. Royar. They look forward to the opportunity to talk about how to get after Army readiness – how they can assist in helping the warfighter.”
Retired Maj. Gen. James Rogers commanded AMCOM for nearly two years beginning in September 2010. He conducted Industry Days back then and now is in the unique position of sitting on the other side of the table as an industry partner.
“What I found is that it truly is all about the communication amongst industry and the government,” said Rogers, who now works with a leading defense company in the area. “I have found, without question, when we can sit down face to face and talk about something – whether it's confrontational, or something else – we can usually see each other's position and then work a path forward. That’s what Industry Day is to us.”
The retired general said AMCOM is especially good about sending out communication on concerns to allow the partners an opportunity to address them before a formal meeting takes place.
“The prep work for Industry Day is just as important as having the Industry Day,” Rogers said.
Of the 18 OEMs invited, 17 confirmed. A maximum of four industry partners from each company met with AMCOM’s commander in person for 45-minute sessions, while others joined the conversation through a virtual platform. For those physically present, social distancing was enforced and masks were in place.
The two-day affair ran from early morning to late evening to accommodate all the participants.
“That face-to-face time with senior executives at Maj. Gen. Royar’s level is really a good thing because it allows them to talk pointedly and get after and resolve problems,” Lampkin explained.
“I think continuing these is extremely important for both government and industry,” Rogers said.