NEWS | May 3, 2021

AMCOM small business programs office provides opportunities, assistance

By Michelle L. Gordon U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command

Sometimes contracting with the federal government can seem intimidating for small businesses, but the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command has an office to help make it a little easier.

“The Office of Small Business Programs is, essentially, AMCOM’s advocate for small business firms,” said Dr. Anntronett Pitts, OSBP outreach program manager. “Our primary role is to ensure that small business firms are getting a fair opportunity with AMCOM contracts.”

Program Director Christopher Evans echoed Pitts’ thoughts on being an advocate for small businesses, but added that utilizing them can also benefit the warfighter.

“A lot of times, small businesses don’t come to the forefront, even though they make up a good majority of the U.S. workforce,” Evans said. “They need an advocate to put them out there. Our office provides that resource — we are their advocate. Small businesses are also very agile and flexible and they can often do things faster than their large business counterparts, which means they can get products or services out to the Soldiers a lot quicker.”

When it comes to awarding contracts, Pitts said every company has a fair shot at obtaining a contract with the federal government, if it can provide the products or services listed in the contract description.

All AMCOM contracts are listed on beta.sam.gov, and the contractor does not have to be local to Huntsville, Alabama, to be selected.

“Our contractors are located all over the country and, depending on the work required, many times that work can be completed at any location.” Pitts said. “They do not have to be located on Redstone Arsenal to get a contract here.”

While the location of the contractor does not limit the applicants, the type of contracts often does. Each contract has a scope of work identified by the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, code and most AMCOM contracts are predominately aviation and missile defense codes.

“Small businesses can go on beta.sam.gov and they can narrow down the search results by the NAICS codes to find work suitable for their company,” Pitts said.

The top AMCOM NAICS codes include: 336411 - aircraft manufacturing; 336414 - guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing; 541330 - engineering services; 488190 - other support activities other than aircraft transportation; and 541715 - research and development.

In addition to searching the website and narrowing opportunities down by NAICS codes, the Office of Small Business Programs staff is available to assist by providing guidance and networking opportunities.

“They can also call us,” Pitts said. “We do one-on-one appointments with them called ‘capability briefings’, where they will pitch us their capability and we can put them in contact with people within AMCOM just to give them increased visibility.”

That visibility includes market research.

Pitts said the Federal Acquisition Regulation requires most contract actions to be solicited and made public. However, as part of their market research, program offices often reach out to small business firms to ask if they currently perform the type of work that is coming up on a future action.

The OSBP also hosts a small business day during the annual Redstone Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry, which is held each spring.

Pitts said the APBI small business day provides small business firms the opportunity to hear about upcoming contracts. However, the biggest benefit of APBI is networking, especially during the small business matchmaking sessions, which Pitts describes as “speed dating for small businesses.”

“This year we had 110 slots,” she said. “Each time slot was 10 minutes and small businesses registered for them to secure time with federal contractors and government agencies. The small businesses used that time to give their spiel, showcase the capabilities of their company and find out how to do business with the federal government.”

Pitts has been with the AMCOM OSBP for two years and said she believes in what she does because “small businesses are the backbone of America.”

She said, “If a large company doesn’t win a contract, they are going to be okay; but the smaller businesses – if they lose out on a contract – they might have to send some people home, so it makes what we do on a daily basis important. We fight for the small business firms and we really do make sure that anything that can go to a small business, does go to a small business.”

For more information or to contact the AMCOM Office of Small Business Programs, send an email to usarmy.redstone.amcom.list.osbp-all@mail.mil.