HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Tennessee Valley Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association hosted a conference Nov. 14-15, which offered a venue for Army Materiel Command to showcase its small business opportunities to more than 300 businesses in 31 different states.

Gen. Dennis L. Via, AMC's commanding general, gave the AMC update on small business.

"There are and will be in my view within Army Materiel Command increased opportunities for small business both at home and abroad," Via stated.

Via gave a brief overview of AMC and its major subordinate commands.

"These commands [AMC's subordinate units] manage systems throughout their entire life cycle from concept to sustainment to divestiture, and all of these commands and activities are invested in small business with direct report to the higher headquarters," Via said.

"They know my focus on small business and the importance that it means to our command and the accomplishment of our mission," he continued.

The conference offered a myriad of updates and panel sessions. One in particular highlighted ways to optimize contracting opportunities with small businesses, where three AMC leaders spoke.

Maj. Gen. Lynn Collyar, commanding general of the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, spoke on its opportunities and how to overcome challenges during a drawdown of forces.

Collyar described that he is working to increase visibility of parts from wholesale to the parts being used in U.S Army Central to business and Defense materiel managers.

"Right now everybody can see only components of that supply system," Collyar said. "That's one of the ways we help small businesses stay viable is by giving you more information that allows you to control and manage your budgets better."

Brig. Gen. Theodore C. Harrison, commanding general of Expeditionary Contracting Command, which is the only expeditionary contracting capability within the Department of Defense explained his command's unique mission.

ECC plans and executes effective and agile contracting support for U.S. Army Service Component Commanders in support of Army and Joint Operations.

Conrad Bonner, director of operations at the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command also participated in the panel offering insight on Foreign Military Sales.

"We are a small organization leading a big enterprise," Bonner stated as he explained the government to government transactions.

During an evening social, Col. Daniel G. Mitchell, executive officer to the AMC Deputy Commanding General, received the 2012 NDIA-Tennessee Valley Chapter Management Award.

His nomination highlighted Mitchell's extensive experience as a depot commander at Red River Army Depot. As commander he was instrumental in expanding AMC's Industrial Capabilities and successfully led his team to improve manufacturing processes, which has resulted in savings to the command in terms of material and labor cost.

The conference also offered break-out sessions, outreach and networking opportunities with Department of Defense, industry and small business representatives.