Fast money: MacDill awards small businesses for innovative thinking

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The willingness to implement innovative thinking, has kept the U.S. Air Force ahead of near peer competitors for over 70 years.  Innovation is often driven by necessity – and recently the Air Force has found solutions to some of its challenges by partnering with and employing the ideas of small businesses.

Keeping with the innovation initiatives set by the Air Force, the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base hosted its second pitch day event Jan. 22, in Tampa, Florida.

At MacDill Pitch Day, small business vendors presented proposals to help fulfill requirements, close capability gaps or provide potential technology advancements at the 6th Air Refueling Wing.

“We set up the pitch day events to expedite the process of securing solutions to some of the difficulties we face at MacDill,” said Jace Anders, the 6th CONS flight chief.  “We cut down on the time of the acquisition significantly because payments are made to small business owners immediately, and in turn we are able to obtain goods and services much faster.”

During Pitch Day, proposals that were selected by MacDill leadership went on to sign contracts and received a 50% initial payment on the spot, with the remaining balance to be paid upon contract fulfilment.

One of the vendors that was awarded a contract for his personal cooling system was Dan Rini, the Rini Technologies president.

“It’s always exciting to get a contract award, but what’s most exciting about this process was the speed,” said Rini. “Usually these deals can take a year, but today the deal was completed in under an hour.”

The 6th CONS has remained at the forefront of Air Force contracting, and has prioritized USAF initiatives to bridge the gap for small businesses to enter the world of Department of Defense contract work.

According to the Air Force’s vision of 2020, “We want to make partnering with the Air Force easy and energizing, we created a new mechanism to get dollars into the hands of small businesses faster than before.”

The Jan. 22, pitch day event resulted in $325,000 worth of contracts awarded to small business owners.

“It is really important for the government to interact with small businesses,” said Anders.  “We want to make sure that small business owners get a fair opportunity to get on board with government acquisitions.”

As MacDill Pitch Day continues to garner national interest from small businesses, 6th CONS will continue to host pitch day events, and set the tone as one of the leading contracting units in the Air Force.