Fort Bliss Industry Day targets businesses that want to grow, network

By DAVID BURGE | El Paso (Texas) Times | Published: January 15, 2014

EL PASO, Texas — Business owners wanting to grow their enterprises by doing business with Fort Bliss, other military installations and government agencies will have a chance to move that goal forward during a one-day networking and educational event later this month.

El Paso Community College's Contract Opportunities Center will host and organize its first Fort Bliss Regional Industry Day on Jan. 29 at the Centennial Club at Fort Bliss.

Two hundred to 250 business owners and about 60 government agencies are expected to attend, said Joe Conway, program manager for the Contract Opportunities Center.

Participants are coming from all over the country and from as far away as Virginia, said Michael Mason, a procurement specialist with the Contract Opportunities Center.

"It's very seldom you have the opportunity to have so many people, so many contractors, vendors and government agencies under the same roof at the same time," Conway said.

The event is designed to make businesses aware of opportunities at Fort Bliss, White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base and other military installations and government agencies in Texas and New Mexico, Conway said.

It will also provide "essential training" that can help businesses succeed this year, Conway added.

Participants can take up to four classes out of six offered during the day. Topics include how to make a one-page capabilities statement, sort of a resume for your business; the Affordable Care Act; labor regulations; special designations for small women- and minority-owned businesses; and the benefits and pitfalls of teaming up with other businesses.

Conway said his goal is to help small businesses develop relationships with prime contractors and government agencies.

Other highlights will include Fort Bliss Garrison commander Col. Brant V. Dayley making the opening remarks and White Sands Missile Range Executive Director Paul Mann being the keynote speaker. Representatives from the Department of the Army's Small Business Programs will also attend.

Lillian Jacquez, president of Aseo Inc., which provides janitorial services, said she will attend because she wants to learn more about how to team up with a prime contractor.

Going to events like this are "an essential part for all businesses," Jacquez said.

"It's a learning experience. It's a whole new world," she said.

These type of events can help a business get to the next level, she added.

Monica Moreno, president of The Job Connection, a temporary staffing company, will attend primarily for the networking opportunities.

"Networking is really the most important aspect for me," Moreno said. "I really want to put my HUB (historically underutilized business) certificate to work, so I think meeting with people who have already paved the way will be of great benefit."

Diana Jacquez is the assistant manager for subcontracts and projects and the small business liaison for Pride Industries' Fort Bliss contract. The California-based national company does service and maintenance work at Fort Bliss.

Pride Industries attends events like this to network with small businesses to find subcontractors and vendors that they can work with, she said.

"We usually get a lot of leads," Diana Jacquez said.


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