Air Force Contractors Summit connects specialized contractors with Tyndall AFB

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MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s a big day for Tyndall Air Force Base officials as the Defense Leadership Forum’s annual Air Force Contracting Summit was held in Miramar beach on Thursday and Friday.

Tyndall and Bay county representatives gave a panel presentation on Thursday to summit attendees about rebuilding the “base of the future.”

Those attendees include small to large business representatives that specialize in defense contracting and other niches.

“It’s networking,” said Lt. Col. Steven Fletcher, the Commander for the 325th Contracting Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base. “It’s seeing the capabilities that small businesses bring to the fight.”

At the Air Force Contracting Summit, Fletcher is getting the word out. 

“[Tyndall] is coming back better, it’s coming back stronger,” he said. “We have some unique challenges ahead of us.”

With the help of small, specialized businesses like those represented at the summit, those challenges can be overcome; the summit is a way to get the right people talking to one another. 

“That jigsaw puzzle, we help put those together,” said Howard Snow, the National Moderator for the Defense Leadership Forum. “Now both industry and the Air Force can come together and go, ‘oh, we can help each other.’”

Lt. Col. Fletcher agreed.

“These are the relationships, these are the networks where we can get these small businesses to grow and flourish,” said Fletcher.

That’s why business owners like Lana Dobbins with Universal Services are here; with a background in defense contracting, they’re ready to help Tyndall AFB rebuild however they can.

“It’s an opportunity for us to grow our business,” said Dobbins.

Through the exchange of business cards, pamphlets and handshakes, Bay County Commissioner, Griff Griffitts, says it’s a huge opportunity for the county as well. 

“A lot of contractors will be in town working on the base, whether it’s with bricks and sticks or the high-end cyber security folks,” said Griffitts. “That’s an added jolt to the economy that Bay County sorely needs after the storm.”

Base officials hope the summit leads to new contacts as the rebuilding efforts start to materialize over the next several years.

“When timing meets opportunity, good things happen,” said Fletcher.

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