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Huntsville: learning together.

Huntsville, Alabama, was still a cotton market town of 16,437 people in 1950 when U.S. Sen. John Sparkman brought a band of German rocket scientists to Redstone Arsenal to develop rockets for the U.S. Army. By the end of the decade, Wernher von Braun's team had developed the rocket that orbited America's first satellite. They eventually put the first American in space and transported the first astronauts to the moon. The influx of engineers, scientists, and other technical specialists has transformed the small town into a cosmopolitan community that nonetheless maintains its heritage and reputation for hospitality.

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Huntsville, Alabama, is home to the Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Redstone Arsenal hosts the U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) and the Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC). Huntsville is also home to a large portion of the Missile Defense Agency. The Army Corps of Engineers also has a strong presence in Huntsville.

Because of the high level of government procurement activity in the area, most major government contractors have facilities in Huntsville, and numerous small businesses are also enjoying success in the area. With all this local contracting activity, the Huntsville Chapter has a very strong and diverse membership base and many industry experts to draw from in offering educational opportunities to the contract management community. The Huntsville Chapter thrives on this strong foundation and currently has 460 members. Of that number, approximately 20% are government employees, 35% are employed by large businesses, and 35% are employed by small businesses. The remaining 10% include local attorneys, accountants, consultants, and retirees.

Leading the chapter this year are president Lee Ann Hunt, who is employed by the Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation; president-elect Randy Centanni, from Lockheed Martin Information & Technology Services; executive vice president Doyle McBride, from the COLSA Corporation; vice president for Membership Michael Bond, from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command; secretary Toni Johnson, from BAE Systems; treasurer Debbie Gerrity, from Morgan Research; and assistant treasurer Rokichia Haywood, also from Morgan Research.

This year's theme for the Huntsville Chapter is "Learning Together." In addition to monthly luncheons and in keeping with this year's theme, the chapter plans to conduct at least one educational event each month. These events will include a National Education Seminar and a small business fair in early 2006, half-day workshops, evening seminars, and lunchtime audio seminars. A new area of focus this year is to facilitate the chartering of a student chapter at a local university. While pursuing these new initiatives, the chapter will also continue its efforts in community service, employment, certification, and scholarship.

In recognition of the fact that 35 percent of the membership comes from small businesses, the chapter strives to provide timely and effective training that is also affordable. The chapter balances this effort with training opportunities that are meaningful to the membership base that is drawn from the federal government and its large business membership base. The chapter offers a variety of training formats to give everyone an opportunity to participate and partners with other organizations, such as the local bar association, to pool our resources and offer training that is useful for both organizations.

Not only does the chapter provide training opportunities for small businesses, but it also serves as a networking venue for these organizations. The chapter works with the Small Business Administration and the local small business development center to help small businesses grow and prosper in the government contracting environment. The chapter highlights a local business in its monthly newsletter and offers them the opportunity to sponsor the luncheons as an affordable marketing tool. The Huntsville Chapter also gets involved in community activities. In the past, it has participated in local walkathons and the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, and it has supported the Toys-for-Tots program over the past several years. The Huntsville Chapter of the NCMA has soared, along with the growth in space and missile development industries, and its future looks as bright as the stars.

About the Author

ANDREW C. OBERMEYER, CPCM, Fellow, is a contracting officer at the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, D.C., and a member of NCMA's NOVA Chapter. Chapters interested in being profiled in this corner are invited to e-mail andrewobermeyer@yahoo.com. Send comments on this article to cm@ncmahq.org.
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Title Annotation:NCMA Chapter Profile; National Contract Management Association; economic conditions of huntsville
Author:Obermeyer, Andrew C.
Publication:Contract Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:724
Previous Article:NCMA 2005 National Education Seminars (NES) series.
Next Article:Beyond management--NCMA leadership.
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