Published June 1983 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Successful Seminars Mention the idea of a small company doing business with the Pentagon, and in all likelihood many will dismiss the thought. ''Too complicated and confusing," they might say; or, "My company doesn't produce a product the Pentagon can use." I think the two Defense Industry seminars I held in West Virginia recently, in Charleston and Morgantown, helped dispel those myths for more than 150 interested West Virginia business people. My seminars, featuring key representatives from the Defense Department, the Defense Logistics Agency, the General Services Administration, and from eight large U.S. defense contracting companies, outlined for our business people the procedures in bidding for defense and other government contracts. The seminars also stressed the idea that the Pentagon and the federal government buy not just technical defense gadgetry, but also, as one seminar participant put it, "everything from soup to nuts." That list of goods is almost endless: paper products, building materials, food, clothing, paint, light bulbs, and thousands of other products, as well as defense-related materials such as military hardware, rocket and aircraft components, and sophisticated electronics equipment. In fiscal 1982, the Pentagon bought approximately $102 billion worth of goods. Small businesses provided about $20 billion of those products. West Virginia's share of the Pentagon's fiscal 1982 spending was about $131 million; a share I hope can be improved by giving West Virginia business people a firsthand look at the best way to compete for defense contracts. Subcontracts also offer potential for West Virginia's business community, which is why I invited representatives from such large companies as United Technologies, General Electric, Martin Marietta, Northrop Corporation, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed Corporation, Garrett Corporation, and The Bendix Corporation, to come to our state and explain the process for selling to their companies. My two West Virginia seminars were a follow-up to a Defense Industry Day I held in Washington on March 29, 1983, attended by about 40 West Virginians. I was encouraged by the enthusiastic response I received from the West Virginians who participated in those meetings, and I hope the guidance they were given will result in more defense and other government contracts for the Mountain State. For West Virginia business people unable to attend one of the seminars, I can provide a packet of information on bidding for defense and other government contracts. To obtain the information, West Virginians should contact my office at 311 Senate Hart Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.