NAS “shops small” through small business program at AEDC

National Aerospace Solutions, LLC (NAS) met or surpassed all pledged goals in their small business subcontracting plan in their fifth year as the Test Operations and Sustainment contractor at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC).  Small business goals are established in the NAS prime contract and performance against these goals is tracked annually to ensure collaboration with local, regional, and national members of the small business community to identify potential small business opportunities to successfully deliver products and services to support the AEDC mission. Goals are measured by identifying a percentage of subcontracting dollars spent for the year in six different small business categories.

Cindy Dixon, Small Business Advocate, leads the National Aerospace Solutions, LLC small business subcontracting program at Arnold Engineering Development Complex. Her active engagement with the local and national small business community helped NAS surpass their small business goals for this contract year, giving small businesses the opportunity to successfully deliver products and services to support the AEDC mission.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team for meeting our small business goals this year,” said NAS Acquisitions Manager Mike Ramsey. “It speaks to their dedication not only to the AEDC mission, but also their drive to make a positive impact on small businesses during a time when some are struggling to keep their doors open.”

Wells Technology, Inc., a minority-owned and small disadvantaged business, holds a subcontract for a wide variety of goods and supplies, including COVID-19 personal protective equipment, through the Maintenance, Repair, and Operations Store used by employees at AEDC. NAS also does business with more than 30 local vendors, including Sexton Welding Supply, Enviromavens, Schmeide Fabrication Services, and Lovvorn Abatement & Insulation.

Reaching and exceeding small business goals is not a casual effort. Cindy Dixon is the NAS Small Business Advocate and Certified Supplier Diversity Professional. She actively engages and coordinates with the small business community to create a partnership to encourage and maximize small business participation. She hosts and participates in small business outreach events to connect with key small business partners, attends procurement conferences and trade fairs, facilitates contact between small business suppliers and respective NAS procurement specialists and technical/program personnel, and manages a supplier portal on the NAS external website.

“I reach out and talk with small businesses so they know what types of items we typically buy and what opportunities they may have,” Dixon explained. “In October, I participated in a virtual business and supplier matchmaking session. We sent information about what we’re looking for, got matched with various small businesses and got 10-15 minutes with each business to discuss contract opportunities. I maintain a list of these businesses I talk with and know are familiar with our requirements and share that information with our procurement team, recommending they go to these companies first for subcontracts.”

Purchasing Manager Jeff Foster and Subcontracts Manager Russ Parker put together a more intensive program this year to follow up on these subcontract opportunities.

“Through this program we built better awareness of which companies offer which products and who could potentially work with us to fill our needs,” Ramsey said. “We identified procurements we knew certain small businesses could do and targeted those to help meet our small business goals. We instituted a recognition program for our procurement folks leading solicitations and awards in certain areas; that healthy competition helped us meet goal percentages for the different small business categories.”

The combination of all these efforts result in a comprehensive small business program that ensures small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns have an equitable opportunity to compete for subcontracts at AEDC through NAS. Any small businesses interested in more information about how to provide services or materials can visit the NAS supplier portal.

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