Hanscom AFB organizations continue to excel at working with small businesses

  • Published
  • By Patty Welsh
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – During fiscal year 2023, organizations at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, continued to surpass expectations regarding working with small businesses.

Two organizations headquartered here - the Digital Directorate and the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate - together obligated more than $1.3 billion to small businesses. Digital obligated more than 35 percent of their total contracting dollars, approximately $807 million, while C3I&N obligated more than 25 percent of their dollars, about $580 million.

In addition, Hanscom AFB’s Operational Contracting Division awarded more than $128 million in contracts to small businesses.

“Hanscom’s continued trend in exceeding small business goals is a win for industry and the Department of the Air Force,” said Andrea Panagoulias, director of Small Business Programs here. “Small businesses want to work with Hanscom because they’ve seen the commitment to small business in strategies from the directorates. And in working with small businesses, the Air Force obtains innovative solutions and flexibility – both necessary elements in executing the mission.”

Kevin Kelleher, division chief of Contracts for the Operational Contracting Division, whose personnel manage installation-related contacts, noted that his team worked through challenges, improved in all facets of the acquisition process, and “hit their stride in providing operational excellence to their stakeholders and for the installation overall.”

“Each year, we make it a priority to continue to strengthen our relationships, both internally and externally with the defense industrial base,” he said. “Our market research efforts and the abundance of economic resources at our disposal in the New England region allowed us to award 116 percent of our contracts to small business in fiscal year 2023, approximately the fourth-highest amount across all units in the Department of the Air Force.”

Officials note the reason the amount is above 100 percent is because the division achieves additional credits for contracting with local small businesses, a “win” for both Hanscom AFB and local small businesses.

Panagoulias said the positive trend is a result of a focus on small businesses from the organizations, from senior-level to staff-level personnel. She also noted program office personnel consider each element of a requirement and how small businesses can contribute, whether as a prime, subcontractor or teaming partner.

“PEO [Program Executive Office] Digital recognizes the value small businesses bring to our mission areas; so much so we have codified expectations in our Strategic Plan, which specifies decision authorities at every level advocate for small business strategies wherever appropriate,” said Col. Riley Pyles, acting program executive officer for Digital.

“Our directorate obligated 25 percent or approximately $580 million,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, PEO for C3I&N. “This is an excellent representation of Hanscom’s commitment to small businesses, along with our directorate exceeding our total small business dollars obligated in fiscal year 2022 and small business goals for fiscal year 2023.”

As the Air Force, and specifically Hanscom AFB organizations, continue to look for ways to engage with small businesses in the future, it appears the Department of Defense overall is trying to incorporate them as well. In January 2024, the Department of Defense released their National Defense Industrial Strategy. A priority noted within the strategy is a resilient supply chain, including a focus on diversifying the supplier base. Panagoulias said there is attention on investment and interaction with “nontraditional suppliers, strategic market development, timely payment to small businesses and exploring subcontracting opportunities.”

Pyles said, “PEO Digital will continue to lean forward on Small Business Innovation Research and other approaches to further diversify the defense industrial base and promote increased competition.”

A collaborative environment between the program offices and the Small Business Programs office here is also helping drive the Hanscom AFB organizations’ continuing success, according to Panagoulias.

“We engage early and often with teams on small business aspects of acquisition strategies and provide educational events to share different ways to maximize small business participation,” she said. “We want each office to understand all the tools in the toolbox in terms of small business strategies so they can find one that maximizes small business and accomplishes program objectives.”

To contact the Hanscom AFB Small Business Programs office, contact Panagoulias at andrea.panagoulias@us.af.mil or Amy MacDonough at amy.macdonough@us.af.mil. The office will also be hosting a Small Business Panel on March 11 at the Boston Marriott Newton hotel, prior to the New Horizons event. Additional details on that will be coming out soon.