Dr. Vernon Myers as AFCEA Relaunches it's Orlando Chapter

By Shane Klestinski, Associate Editor

Dr. Vernon Myers, acting executive director of the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) – Orlando, spoke at the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association International (AFCEA) relaunch event for its Orlando chapter at Central Florida Tech Grove, May 14.

AFCEA is a member-based, nonprofit 501(c)6 organization that serves the military, government, industry and academia. It was formally established in 1946 but has roots that go back to the Civil War. AFCEA includes individual members and corporate members, as well as an international regional chapter network to assist members in developing networks and expanding opportunities. Its Orlando chapter has a special focus on small business.

Myers, who has a doctorate in business administration, strategy and innovation, serves as the acting executive director/senior contracting official for ACC – Orlando, which provides contracting support to the Army’s Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), as well as other U.S. and foreign customers. Myers gave attendees an overview of ACC – Orlando, discussed upcoming senior leadership changes in Army acquisition, and shared some insights to help small businesses get into the Army acquisition cycle.

One of the challenges small business owners can experience after significant success, according to Myers, is being able to adapt once their organization “graduates” to a bigger league of competition. Once a small business becomes a medium- or large-sized firm, they “have to start the learning process all over again” by thinking about their operations differently and seeing themselves differently.

Myers also emphasized the importance of networking opportunities at events like ACC-Orlando’s Procurement Action Lead Time (PALT) sessions – such as the session that had just taken place at Tech Grove earlier that day. He especially recommended getting acquainted with ACC-Orlando’s branch chiefs, division chiefs, and the deputies.

“We generally get about 150 [people in person] and about 150 to 200 online, and it’s all about networking,” Myers said. “To me, the real value of PALT is the interaction, the networking, the ability to talk and see what other people are doing with their companies and see how you can apply that [to your business interests].

In doing business with ACC – Orlando, Myers said his first questions for a firm, especially a new one, would be: “What business are you in and what are you trying to provide to the government?” The next thing he would ask would involve whether the firm knew how to search for opportunities on sam.gov to learn what solutions ACC – Orlando was looking for, as well as PEO STRI and the Team Orlando organizations representing the other military branches.

“When I talk to contractors, I’m thinking, ‘Do we have a requirement this contractor can support?’” Myers said. “If not, I’m wondering who can I link this person up with, who can maybe help them get to the next step.”

During his talk, Myers also emphasized the importance of understanding North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, which represent different areas of business activity, and are required for businesses that want to participate in government bids and contracts. Inputting a NAICS code into sam.gov also helps companies learn of opportunities based on requirements the government is seeking to address.

The next PALT sessions for both the Army and Navy are scheduled for July 9, and they will also take place at Tech Grove.

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