By Lori Revely, Guest Contributor
What’s that saying—Silence is Golden? Maybe for some, but not for you. Not if you are attending the 2018 SAME Federal Small Business Conference in New Orleans, Oct. 31-Nov. 2!
If I could claim just one thing about the Small Business Conference, it is absolutely that you will make amazing connections—if you make the effort. There is no other place all year in our industry where everyone you need to see and talk with is in ONE place! Trying to get all those conversations squeezed into a few days will be your challenge. So get your sleep now because you may run short once you get to New Orleans.
If you are new to the federal A/E/C industry, or a first-timer to the event, you may not be aware (or have grasped how awesome this is yet) that every U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district from around the country has a booth at the Small Business Conference. People with titles like Chief of Contracting and Small Business Deputy from every district office, as well as small business specialists with Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the General Services Administration, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, and the Department of Veteran Affairs among many other federal agencies are standing in the Exhibit Hall, waiting to talk with you. OK, well, they aren’t exactly waiting. There is a line of others just like you and me. Of course, everyone wants to talk with them. There are also appointments available called Networking Roundtables, where you can meet face-to-face with agencies and large businesses and learn about the best ways to approach contracting and subcontracting opportunities. If you are a small business, you can sign up if you want to have time set aside with these decision-makers (and you should do this online before the conference).
The point is: SAME has set all of this up for both government and industry to conduct valuable market research to enhance our professional support of the federal agency missions and A/E/C requirements. This is what I mean about “Connections are Golden.” This is the one time each year where you can make these connections without having to set up appointments or travel all around the country to their offices. You can meet these contracting officers in person and get to know them. That’s the really amazing part of SBC, and it’s a huge return on investment for your time and registration fee!
My colleagues and I have met amazing mentors, clients, teaming partners, and life-long friends through SAME. Get out there at SBC and rub elbows. You never know what you will learn, and who you will meet. Come prepared, keep your focus, and you will undoubtedly make some golden connections of your own!
Lori Revely is Chief Operations Officer, Cavalry Consulting.