Grand Forks AFB contracting team wins Air Force award Published Dec. 24, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Amanda Callahan 319th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The 319th Contracting Squadron was recently awarded the Secretary of the Air Force's Special Achievement Award for their small business practices. Accepting the award on behalf of the 27-person unit was Graham Pritchett, 319 CONS deputy commander. "It's the success our squadron has had as a whole in our small business functions," he said. "During [Fiscal Year] 2007, we were the only base in AMC to exceed all five small business goals established by the Secretary of the Air Force. It really reflects on the people on the floor and the effort they put into seeking out sources." In addition to showcasing the contracting team, the award shines light on the community's work force, as well. "Our landscaping contract is a great example," he commented. "It's a small business that was woman-owned until recently, and they take care of this base like they own it!" Mr. Pritchett cited many other examples of local small business' impact on the mission and the Airmen, from the land mobile radio contract to the road and pavement repairs. "It's been my experience over the years that small business really makes a difference in the acquisition world," said Undersecretary of the Air Force Peter B. Teets. "Small businesses can react quickly and bring strong talent to bear on problems." The 319 CONS had about $30 million in contracts during FY2007, of which, nearly 80 percent went to small businesses, and nearly a third of that went to small, disadvantaged businesses. "We're directing our efforts to reach out to small business, but as the Secretary of the Air Force says, 'it isn't just about reaching goals, it's about broadening the Department of Defense's industrial base," Mr. Pritchett added. Air Mobility Command believes in setting the example for units like the 319 CONS. As a major command, AMC is leading the way in contract dollars awarded to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. According to Edwin Beussink, AMC director of small business, the MAJCOM is looking to bolster the program in the future using many new initiatives through units like the 319 CONS. "It's about the people on the floor," Mr. Pritchett reiterated. "They're out there doing acquisition, and if it weren't for them, a small business specialist couldn't do all his work. We're all in this together."