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Sandy event to help small firms get fed pacts

Company owners dreaming of the day they can land a contract serving Hill Air Force Base or some other large government entity can take steps Thursday to turn that dream into a reality.

The second annual Utah Procurement Symposium takes place from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State, Sandy.

"Our mission is to help small Utah companies expand their marketing into government contracting," said Fred Lange, director of the Utah Procurement Technical Assistance Center in the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The center and Zions Bank are sponsoring the event.

"We've got big companies and big contractors in the booths around outside of the exhibit hall so all the small companies there can network and talk to the big companies about being a subcontractor or joining them when they get a contract for the government, and we've got the government contracting officers from Hill and Dugway and the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and various federal agencies. The idea is that small companies get a chance to introduce themselves to either a large company they can be a partner with or an agency that can buy direct from them rather than through a big company."

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center has about 1,200 active clients, meaning that many companies seek assistance in government contract procurement.

Last year's inaugural symposium had about 45 exhibitors and attracted about 400 attendees. This year's event is expected to have 53 exhibitors and attendance of more than 500, Lange said.

"We had an excellent turnout, and it was well-received last year, so we've patterned this year's after last year's successful symposium," he said.

"We refer to this as a 'reverse' trade show, meaning we have the big companies in the booths and smaller companies networking. Most trade shows are just the opposite, where you have all the small companies and big buyers go around talking to the small companies. This way, we get a chance for our small companies to meet with and set appointments with a lot of big contractors and buyers."

Registration is $50 per person ($35 per additional person from the same organization registering at the same time) and can be completed at www.goed.utah.gov/PTAC.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. will present opening remarks. The morning keynote will be by Don L. Cazell II, executive director of the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base. The luncheon speaker will be Jason Perry, GOED's executive director.

Breakout session topics include business certification, financing, marketing materials preparation, grant program, marketing to prime contractors, subcontracting opportunities, contract negotiations, bidding and state purchasing programs.


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com