Local businesses hear of “enormous opportunities across many sectors” at industry engagement day

Over 150 local firms took full advantage of the US Air Forces 48th Contracting Squadron’s industry engagement day in May to better understand how they could take advantage of supply chain opportunities with the United States Government at various RAF installations, including those at Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

Organised in conjunction with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, USAFE-UK International Relations and Forest Heath District Council, the event was held at the Rowley Mile Conference Centre, Newmarket Racecourses.

The US Air Force 48th Contracting Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, manages £145 million portfolio of routine contracts. Up to £75m of these contracts are available for the short, medium and long term. Most of these contracts are for work at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall.

The 150-plus attendees were given briefings from a number of speakers about the best ways of working with the United States Air Force, including specialist talks for companies in the commodities, construction and services sectors.

Currently, the 48th Contracting Squadron is running 118 active contracts across a wide range of different sectors, such as integrated waste services, pest control and office furniture.

The businesses attending were given invaluable insights into key aspects of the Squadron’s approach to procurement, including the important fact that the US year runs from October to September, with May to September being the ‘sweet spot’ for new contracts to be awarded.

48th Contracting Squadron personnel also provided information about their System for Award Management (SAMS) where interested businesses can register their details for one year at a time free. This can be found at: http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/Portals/8/documents/SFAMG.pdf

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber said “this industry engagement day was a great success, with many local companies present. It demonstrated the enormous opportunities across many sectors that are available on base at Lakenheath and Mildenhall and we at the Chamber are delighted to be working with our good friends in 48th Contracting Squadron to raise the awareness of these opportunities and help ensure Suffolk businesses benefit from what are very substantial contracts.

“Given that improving procurement opportunities is one of Suffolk Chamber’s manifesto aims, we would urge as many local businesses as possible to register themselves on SAMS to take advantage of present and future contract opportunities.”

Adam Coyne, Lt Col. USAF USAFE 48th Contracting Squadron said “the 48th Contracting Squadron relies on a wide variety of acquisition strategies to deliver goods, services, and construction to US Forces across the United Kingdom.  Establishing strong local supply chains and direct contracts provides tremendous value to our mission partners and we are committed to deepening relationships with local business leaders, councils, and institutions.”

Cllr. James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council added “we are delighted to be working with 48th Contracting Squadron and the Chamber, exploring ways that we can ensure that businesses in our area are offered the chance to grasp these opportunities for growth. We know that the squadron is keen to establish local supply chains with businesses, particularly in West Suffolk. That in turn should lead to more jobs and greater wealth and prosperity for the communities that we are elected to represent.”  

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