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Open for business: Airmen discuss contract opportunities with Kuwaitis

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Gavin McHenry, 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron base operations support flight commander and Air Force contract augmentation program administrative officer, shakes hands with an attendee at the Discover America week business speakers seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuwait City, Nov. 4, 2019. Airmen with the 386th ECONS discussed contract opportunities to local vendors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Gavin McHenry, 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron base operations support flight commander and Air Force contract augmentation program administrative officer, shakes hands with an attendee at the Discover America Week business speakers seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuwait City, Nov. 4, 2019. Airmen with the 386th ECONS discussed contract opportunities with local vendors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

Senior Airman Kadijah Hill, 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron contingency contracting officer, speaks to attendees during the Discover America week business speakers seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuwait City, Nov. 4, 2019. Airmen with the 386th ECONS discussed contract opportunities to local vendors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kadijah Hill, 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron contingency contracting officer, speaks to attendees during the Discover America Week business speakers seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuwait City, Nov. 4, 2019. Airmen with the 386th ECONS discussed contract opportunities with local vendors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait (AFNS) --

American service members provided insight into government contract opportunities to local vendors during Discover America Week’s vendor day seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuwait City, Nov. 4.

The event, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, is a joint effort among the U.S. Department of Commerce, the American Business Council – Kuwait, the U.S. Army’s 408th Contracting Support Brigade from Camp Arifjan and the U.S. Air Force’s 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron.

“We provided an extensive briefing on the acquisition process then allowed time for breakout (question-and-answer) sessions,” said Maj. Marcus Miller, 386th ECONS commander. “The companies will leave with a better understanding of the complexities of conducting business with the United States military. One of my favorite parts of this job is knowing the work we do directly impacts the local economy. Events like this help us continue to make that happen.”

Airmen assigned to the 386th ECONS addressed hundreds of attendees about how to solicit business contracts to provide general services, commodities and construction support and materials.

“ECONS's participation results in a mutually beneficial relationship between the Air Force and Kuwaitis,” said 1st Lt. Gavin McHenry, 386th ECONS base operations support flight commander and Air Force contract augmentation program administrative contracting officer. “Vendor Day allows our Airmen to meet our host nation counterparts face to face, which develops trust and good business practices between both parties.”

According to Master Sgt. Joseph Kitzmiller, 386th ECONS superintendent, the goal is to, “increase competition and lower government prices paid, create a wider range of vendors ready to complete mission requirements, reduce the risk of over-reliance on a small pool of contractors, increase transparency in the solicitation process and provide a fair business opportunity.”

“In the contracting career field, Airmen are expected to represent the government in an official capacity, often attending meetings with business leaders and negotiating multi-million dollar contracts,” Kitzmiller added.

McHenry hopes to see an increased pool of vendors and a significant cost savings to the government.

“I hope that local companies have a better understanding of the contracting process and feel equipped to participate in future government contracting opportunities,” he said.

Discover America Week 2019, which takes place Oct. 30 to Nov. 9, includes a variety events open to military service members and Kuwaiti residents. For more information, visit the embassy website at https://kw.usembassy.gov/discover-america-week-2019/.