Every year, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation organization at Submarine Base King’s Bay, Naval Station Mayport, and Naval Air Station Jacksonville host GSA expos and for the fourth consecutive year, Crowley was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to all three.
These expos are great, allowing businesses (mostly small) to rent tables and set up banners, goods, information, and giveaways. Employees from each base then come and see what each business does and get free stuff at the same time. Many of the government employees are purchasers and contracting officers of different industries so there is a realistic chance that someone who buys a particular service or product could end up standing in front of a business that sells it.
These expos are great networking events and they allow all of the attendees to show their appreciation for the military (my father works on NAS Jax and even ran into me at the expo!) and small businesses in general. Crowley brought employees from multiple departments including procurement. Those procurement employees walked around and shared information with small businesses to possibly purchase their goods.
While I’m not in procurement, I gladly walked around and shook hands with many people as well. I noted businesses that could possibly subcontract or partner with Crowley on our GSA schedule and I also chatted with companies to just learn about them and their employees at the event. I really think I made some friends these last three days! I love Jacksonville and I am a huge supporter of local Jacksonville businesses, just like Crowley as a whole. It was so much fun meeting members of companies from industries like flooring, safety equipment, office furnishing, environmental solutions, and others.
Another thing I was glad to do was teach the attendees about Crowley. There were so many people who came to our booth and didn’t know we are a Jacksonville-based company. In case you didn’t know, we are and we are very proud of that. There were people who didn’t know we managed and moved containers on giant ships. Most of the attendees didn’t know that we are helping raise the Costa Concordia with Titan Salvage, a company Crowley owns. You will find Crowley at almost every single event that supports contracting and small business because we care. I’m very glad to be part of those efforts.
There were over 50 businesses in attendance and the networking was incredible, not only between the government workers and business representatives, but between the businesses as well. There is a lot to learn from business development specialists and sales managers of other companies. I greatly enjoyed talking to employees of CORT, CDW-G, Yeti Coolers, Mohawk Group, and many others. Attending these expos wasn’t just about getting business for Crowley. It was also about learning, sharing, and getting closer to the Jacksonville and government contracting community.
The three bases also provided free breakfast and lunch, complete with potato chips, drinks, and desserts. There was a strong incentive for the government employees to attend and fortunately for the businesses looking to do business with them, those employees came.
As a member of Crowley, I thought the GSA expos were great. I met so many people from both government and industry. Every direction I looked, I could see smiles and handshakes. I really cannot overstate the incredible power of networking events like these. Any event that has government purchasers speaking directly to the people who want to sell to them is an event I support. This is business at work and everyone wins. Thank you to GSA, every participating company, and all three of the military bases for putting on such great events.