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AFMC commended for work with small businesses

Wright-Patterson-headquartered Air Force Materiel Command has received the Secretary of the Air Force’s major command award for 2013.

AFMC received the recognition for the work of its small business program, which awarded $3.5 billion in contracts last year, according to the Air Force.

E. Jean Smith, AFMC small business program director, also received a Secretary of the Air Force award as the outstanding small business director in a major command.

Smith, a 28-year Air Force employee, said she and her employees reached out to more small businesses to educate them about the program and hear feedback, among other initiatives.

AFMC awarded 11 percent of its contracts to small business last year in the midst of sequestration, or automatic budget cuts. That represented about a quarter of a percent increase over the previous year. AFMC has set aside $6 billion for future small business contracts, according to the Air Force.

“We want to make sure we are maintaining a competitive edge,” she said. “We really have been very aggressive … in our outreach ensuring that we are communicating as frequently and as often as we can with small business industry partners.”

The number of contracts awarded to small businesses increased in all categories except those owned by women, according to the Air Force. The goal was 1.8 percent of all contract awarded to women-owned businesses, but AFMC reached 1.65 percent in that category. The Air Force has changed policies and reached out to more women-owned businesses to try and raise the score, officials said.

The small business program is at each of AFMC’s five centers across the country, Smith said.

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