Fairchild contracting squadron, GSI help small businesses ‘Meet the Bigs’

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Team Fairchild’s 92nd Contracting Squadron partnered with Greater Spokane Incorporated to host a small-business networking event called ‘Meet the Bigs,’ Oct. 15.

‘Meet the Bigs’ is an annual government contracting networking event that provides a venue for small businesses and entrepreneurs to engage with city, county, state, federal and large regional business purchasing offices that focus on subcontracting.

“We want to provide the small businesses in the local area the opportunity to grow by partnering with the federal government and other large businesses,” said Mike Gilbert, 92nd CONS director of business operations. “With the small business program in place, we want to increase small business participation across the Department of Defense, and continue to contribute to the economic growth within the local area.”

By partnering with GSI to coordinate ‘Meet the Bigs,’ Team Fairchild continues to build and modernize its capabilities by working with local business and contractors.

“[Our] partnership helps support and promote the business community by giving small businesses in the region the opportunity to network and connect with prime contractors,” said Aleesha Roedel, GSI government contracting assistance specialist. “Fairchild is our region’s top employer and we do whatever it takes to support each other.”

This third-annual ‘Meet the Bigs’ event included participation from more than 50 large businesses and federal agencies.

“We’re trying to encourage businesses within the Inland Northwest to do business with Spokane and Fairchild,” Gilbert said. “We do this by having large businesses from across the state participate in the event and host exhibition booths for small business contractors to market their business and develop partnerships with one another.”

Airmen from the 92nd CONS and their Total Force partners from the 141st CONS also hosted their own exhibition booth to network with attendees.

“We hosted our booth for small businesses to see what we are doing at Fairchild and decide if there is a good match between their needs and the needs of the base,” Gilbert said. “It’s important for us to seek these networking opportunities and joint ventures because we want to partner with more small businesses that can bring innovation and technology to Fairchild.”

Government contracting plays a significant role in small business revenue. Fairchild contributed $448 million to the Spokane economy in 2018, and is anticipated to contribute $19.5 million more per year after the base welcomes 400 new Airmen and their families by the end of 2020.