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Small business information focus of HRA meeting

HRA Luncheon speaker

Jeff Emmons, director of Small Business Programs for Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., speaks to attendees during the Hanscom Representatives Association meeting in Lexington, Mass., April 18. Emmons, who is new to the position, shared some background about himself and talked about how his office assists small businesses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

LEXINGTON, Mass. – The new director of Small Business Programs for Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, spoke about the information and assistance his office can provide during the Hanscom Representatives Association meeting here April 18.

To the audience of representatives from both large and small businesses, Jeff Emmons said the goal of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Business Office, which Hanscom is an operating location for, is to maximize opportunities for small businesses to deliver technology and innovation to meet warfighter needs. He added that opportunities could be as either a prime contractor or a subcontractor.

“We encourage program offices to seek and consider small businesses,” Emmons said. “We can also facilitate discussions between industry and program offices.”

His office also reviews all acquisitions over $10,000 along with the Small Business Administration Procurement Center representative. In addition, they review small business subcontracting plans, train government personnel on small business processes and procedures and work with small businesses in the SBA’s 8(a) Program as well as small disadvantaged businesses. In addition, he said that he has already met with the SBA regional director of Contracting and 8(a) program administrators.

The office can also support large businesses by potentially connecting them to small business with the correct capabilities to team. The director said either he or his deputy, Ellen McDonnell – the two members of AFLCMC Small Business Office at Hanscom – are happy to meet with any representatives.

“Our door is always open,” he said.

Emmons mentioned that small business office “touch points” include sources sought notices, industry days and conferences, along with Acquisition Strategy Panels and Early Strategy and Issue Sessions to promote small businesses.

In order to succeed from both an industry and program office perspective, personnel should be thinking “early and often.”

“You can never start planning too early for acquisition,” he said, adding that he has asked the contracting personnel in Hanscom’s acquisition directorates to give the small business office here a heads-up anytime a request for information, or RFI, or sources sought is being released.

“It’s so important to communicate,” Emmons said.

For the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks and Battle Management Directorates, he said both organizations met their small business goals for fiscal year 2017 and they look to be on track to meet their goals for fiscal year 2018, but it’s also important to programs what small business brings to the table.

“Small businesses can bring innovation, efficiencies and flexibility to programs,” he said.

The director mentioned some upcoming events including a General Services Administration OASIS contract industry day being held at Hanscom on May 8. Information on that event is available on FedBizOpps.

Emmons said he’s happy to be in the position, which he started about four weeks ago. He’s been meeting with about two to three small businesses every week and is looking forward to working with more.

Closing out his presentation, the director said, “If you see any good ideas, different ideas that small business offices are doing across the Air Force that we could be doing here, I’d appreciate your input on that.”

To contact Emmons, call 781-225-6470 or email jeffery.emmons.1@us.af.mil; for McDonnell, call 781-225-6469 or email ellen.mcdonnell@us.af.mil.