ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Nearly 120 people crowded into a small auditorium, eager to hear about the upcoming Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise, or EAGLE, contract strategy.

The information session for small business owners took place Dec. 6 at Black Hawk College, Moline, Ill.

EAGLE is a multi-billion-dollar contract strategy that, when awarded, will be used to replace a number of logistics contracts that are either reaching their funding ceiling or expiring. EAGLE will also align logistics support across the Army materiel enterprise, and standardize processes and metrics.

The discussion panel for the event included Bob Matthys, associate director of the Army Sustainment Command and Joint Munitions Command Office of Small Business; Al Kruse, program manager of Pendulum Resources, located in Rock Island; and Sam Kupresin, president of Spirit Partners, also in Rock Island. The facilitator was Vicky Miller, center director for the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Black Hawk College.

Matthys spoke about the importance of preparation if the small business owners in the audience are interested in participating in the contract. He stressed that his office is here to help small businesses navigate the sometimes confusing route to obtaining government contracts.
"One take-away I want you to take out of this meeting, and I mean this sincerely - if you don't know what you're doing, if you have questions ... I expect you to call me. My staff and I are dedicated to help you work the maze of government contracting," Matthys said. He repeated this three more times during his talk.

Matthys spoke about the Field and Installation Readiness Support Team, or FIRST, contract, which is reaching its funding ceiling. He said that of the approximately $5 billion spent so far, only $63 million went to small businesses.

While he was not able to discuss the details of the EAGLE strategy, Matthys did say it would be fairer to small business.

He discussed generally how small businesses can prepare for the contract, including the steps necessary to qualify for government contracts. He gave them information on meetings all small business owners should attend.

Matthys also stressed the importance of small businesses marketing themselves, not only to government organizations but to large businesses that may be bidding for contracts under EAGLE.
"Some part of this will affect every single one of you, whether as a prime or subcontractor," he said. "So you've got to look at this and study it and say, 'What do I bring to the table' What can I contribute''"

Kruse and Kupresin talked about strategies small business owners can take so they can profit from EAGLE.

Kruse spoke about the importance of either teaming with other companies as a subcontractor or positioning themselves as a prime contractor. If the businesses represented in the room are not networking and preparing for EAGLE now, they'll miss out on a big opportunity to bid on the contract's task orders.

"The train has not left the station, but it's sure steaming," he said. "So we're trying to make sure that you all understand that it's not too late, but you need to start marketing, educating, learning, getting ready now, and network, network, network so that you can be on that train when it leaves the station."

Kupresin talked about becoming a government contractor, saying that it can be a "daunting task." But in the end it can be very rewarding.

He also spoke about his company's strategy for EAGLE and urged small businesses new to government contracting to look at teaming as a subcontractor with a more experienced company.
"We need to get as many people in our community schooled up on the contracting process, especially on a big contract like this, because the opportunities are so great. We have some great resources in this community," he said.

The event was sponsored by the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Black Hawk College and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.