For the second year in a row, Army Materiel Command’s Thaddeus Martin has received a Department of Defense Small Business award, recognizing enterprise-wide efforts by AMC’s Office of Small Business Programs to encourage contracting relationships with the nation’s small businesses.
“It’s truly a blessing and honor to receive this award. I am thankful to the Army Materiel Command senior leadership for believing and trusting me to lead our vastly changing small business program,” said Martin, director of AMC headquarters’ Office of Small Business Programs.
“This award is a reflection of our entire AMC Small Business team, and their mentorship, professionalism and commitment to ensuring mission success in terms of assisting small businesses with contract opportunities, and in terms of eliminating barriers for small businesses to enter into contracts with AMC and its major subordinate commands. Without this team, this award would not have been possible.”
Martin received the Revolutionary Leadership Award during the DOD’s Vanguard Awards Ceremony, which was part of the DOD Office of Small Business Programs Premier Training Week Aug. 17-19. The Vanguard Awards recognizes DOD component organizations that best exemplify a commitment to the small business program mission and goals across a variety of activities, including small business participation and utilization, senior leader commitment and outreach events.
The Revolutionary Leadership Award is awarded to a DOD small business professional who advocates for the inclusion of small business participation, responds to challenges with inventive solutions, brings innovation to the DOD through small business utilization and demonstrates strong leadership abilities. This is the second year in a row that Martin has received a Vanguard Award in leadership.
Since taking over as AMC’s director of small business programs in late 2019, Martin has worked with Lisha Adams, AMC’s executive deputy to the commanding general, to develop an operational order better defining the strategic responsibilities for small business programs at the AMC headquarters level, and the tactical and operational responsibilities for small business programs at AMC’s 10 major subordinate commands. The results are evident in the increase in AMC’s small business contracting obligations, which were $13.7 billion in fiscal year 2020 and are at $15.43 billion so far in fiscal year 2021.
Martin works with 10 assistant small business program directors and 61 small business professionals across the AMC enterprise.
“Here at headquarters, we manage the strategic planning for all small business offices across the AMC enterprise,” Martin said. “We establish policies and procedures for small business programs at the major subordinate commands and contracting centers to include training, talent management, outreach programs and small business goals.”
Martin and his team of small business professionals serve as principal advisers to AMC’s senior leadership and acquisition officials pertaining to small business matters. AMC and its major subordinate commands all have annual small business goals set by the Amy Office of Small Business Programs that they are required to meet. In addition, each of the major subordinate command’s small business programs serve as a liaison between the contracting workforce and the U.S. Small Business Administration, conduct market research to maximize opportunities for small business with the Army, ensure concurrence with Army regulations pertaining to small business and ensure the acquisition workforce is aware of the small business program.
AMC’s major subordinate commands are also required to conduct Advance Planning Briefings to Industry that involve small business representatives. Prior to the COVID pandemic, APBIs were set for three to five days at the headquarters site of the hosting command. During the pandemic, they have been held virtually by Army Contracting Command’s Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Communications-Electronics Command, Aviation and Missile Command, and the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.
“We have actually been able to reach more small business owners with the virtual APBIs,” Martin said. “There is no cost involved with traveling and small business owners don’t have to commit travel time to attend the APBI. We have also been able to provide separate virtual rooms for networking and matchmaking.”
During meetings with small business, Martin and his team encourage and mentor small business owners on how to present their companies to Army contracting officials. Most recently, they have encouraged small businesses to develop video capability briefings that showcase their facilities and products for contracting officials.
“To be successful, small businesses need to know which Army command is making which purchases,” Martin said. “If you are a small business that supplies vaccine equipment, you want to go to the Medical Command. If you are a small business that provides equipment for helicopters, you want to go to the Aviation and Missile Command.
“A small business needs to be able to show how they are value added to the Army, and not as obstacles to speed, innovation and modernization that the Army is after. It’s a little bit like (ABC’s) Shark Tank where the small businesses need to show what they bring to the table and how they are aligned with the Army priorities of People, Readiness and Modernization. The goal is to make sure the Army has vetted small businesses that are capable and able to meet mission readiness.”
Prior to joining AMC, Martin served as a contracting officer working with Black Hawk Multi-Year Program within the Utility Helicopter Directorate. During a seven-month development assignment at AMCOM’s Office of Small Business Programs, Martin grew his understanding of the importance of small business to the Army and to the federal government.
“I like to encourage large businesses to give small business due diligence when they are considering who their subcontractors will be on a defense contract,” he said. “I like to encourage them to reach back and help small business, and mentor and support. After all, large defense contractors started out as small businesses, too. This is a win-win for both large and small businesses, with the result being the best contracts awarded for the Army.”
During Small Business Training Week 2021, Martin said the focus was on the theme – “Build. Grow. Elevate.” Small business programs need to build a more connected workforce, grow the small business community, and elevate current and future readiness.
“Small Business Training Week 2021 was an opportunity to refocus our efforts on the small business community by learning the best practices to help build, grow and elevate them as more resilient and better-equipped to withstand future economic impacts,” Martin said. “Small businesses have a significant role in the nation’s agenda to recover and rebuild our economy and infrastructure.”