2018 Gold Coast Wrap Up

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NDIA, post Gold Coast
by Tom Leech, member San Diego NDIA Chapter

The 30th Annual Navy Gold Coast Conference took place at the San Diego Convention Center on August 7-8, 2018. The San Diego Chapter of NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) and Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) co-hosted this premier conference, focused on “Small Business: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge.”

A “Small Business Procurement Event,” Navy Gold Coast was conceived to connect small businesses directly with the Navy procurement officials as well as Navy prime contractors, including BAE Systems, Northrup Grumman, Deltek, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and others. The conference also provides a forum to educate, guide, and assist businesses, large and small, in support of the warfighter’s mission within Department of the Navy and throughout the Department of Defense (DOD.) This event gave many hands-on
opportunities for companies to interact with key agencies, get smarter about dealing with customers, tout their expertise, and pursue valuable relationships. The entire Department of the Navy was represented with all ten acquisition commands providing the details of future procurement requirements. Each command had staff available to assist individual businesses to identify how they could provide products and services to meet these requirements.

A pair of pre-conference events, held on Monday, August 6, gave opportunities for both small and large businesses to engage with potential or ongoing partners:
– The NDIA Patriot Golf Day raised funds to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation, that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service-members. The 4-person scramble included industry players side-by-side with military and governmental employee customers.

– Monday pre-conference workshop sessions provided several Navy industry days and many valuable educational sessions. The sessions provided information on working with the San Diego County Government and non-Navy federal agencies, such as the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and General Services Administration (GSA.) Educational workshops were held for new businesses and for established businesses on topics ranging from “Creating Capability Statements” to how to use government provided data to determine competitive costing and strategies.

The two days of the main conference enabled attendees to hear directly from key Naval leaders about important phases in business pursuits, ways to develop relationships, and changes in the procurement process ahead. The keynote speaker Under Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Thomas B. Modly, provided insight into the Secretary of the Navy’s strategic priorities, including engaging small business to ensure a viable defense industrial base, now and in the future.

Defense spending drives approximately 22% of the San Diego gross regional product, estimated at $50 billion in fiscal year 2017. The County of San Diego formally recognized the importance of the Defense Industry and the Department of the Navy to the region by Designating August 7th, 2018 as Navy Small Business Day.

Over 200 exhibitors including government agencies and industry organizations displayed innovative technological applications as well as demonstrated capability. This provided attendees the opportunity to make contacts and engage in informal, extensive dialogues with key personnel of potential clients.

Presented during the luncheon on August 8th, was the NDIA San Diego “Twice A Citizen” Awards recognizing the exceptional individuals serving in the National Guard or Reserve Force. Rear Admiral John Mustin presided over the ceremony, recognizing four of San Diego’s most dedicated citizens who have left their industry jobs to serve our country.

A hallmark of Gold Coast was the opportunity to meet key government and industry prime contracting personnel through one-on- one matchmaking sessions. In excess of 700 individual 15-minute introductory meetings were arranged and conducted.

Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs fosters acquisition opportunities where small businesses can best support Sailors, Marines and their families through policy, advocacy, counseling and training.

The San Diego Chapter of NDIA is one of the largest in the country. It has managed the Gold Coast conference for many years. The chapter’s membership includes companies, large, small, and individual consultants who support or pursue business with federal government agencies focused on defense and security.

The San Diego NDIA Chapter has been an active chapter with NDIA roots that date back to WWI through a variety of organizations. Primary efforts of the Chapter are to promote cooperative dialog between government and the defense industry. The San Diego chapter is one of the largest and most active, hence most influential, chapters in the nation. It has been selected as a “Model Chapter” since the inception of the award and its members hold three national NDIA Board positions.