Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard provided opening remarks on the first day of the conference followed by video remarks by Hawaii's three (3) other congressional delegates, Senators Schatz and Hirono and Congressman Takai. The conference panels ranged from SBA specific issues to a discussion of the various contracting opportunities available with various Federal agencies. In addition, a panel moderated by Kevin Allis of Thunderbird Strategic, LLC addressed the challenges faced by Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) and Hawaii-based federal contractors.
This conference was significant for a number of reasons. First, there are no other conferences (or at least none in recent years) in Hawaii of this caliber focused specifically on federal contracting. Many similar conferences occur in Washington D.C., Florida, Alaska and California and oftentimes Hawaii-based companies simply cannot afford the expense of traveling to these locations for a conference. Second, and more significantly, in attendance at the NHOA conference were senior SBA officials and senior agency procurement officials. These individuals are directly involved with SBA programs/policy as well as purchasing decisions by the various agencies. Thus, it was a great opportunity for current and aspiring small business federal contractors to introduce themselves and get some face tie with the various agencies.
If you did not attend this conference, you truly missed a great opportunity for networking and to meet government representatives relevant to the federal contracting industry. From our perspective and the comments of other attendees, the conference was a huge success and we truly commend NHOA for their hard work in making it happen. We look forward to next year's NHOA Business Summit Conference!
For more information on the NHOA Business Summit, please see their website at www.nhoassociation.org