About 15 months ago, the North Carolina Business Association embarked on a mission to increase the number of Department of Defense (DoD) contracts that are won in North Carolina.
“We do that by providing networking opportunities for folks in that industry, or who want to be in that industry or want to work with folks in that industry,” said Joy Thrash, executive director of the North Carolina Defense Business Association (NCDBA). “We provide networking events for them to come together and build relationships so that they can team up for contracts or be vendors for someone going after a contract and provide a service for them.”
With several military installations in the state, the NCDBA is focused on more than just the impact that BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) will have in Fayetteville. The organization’s focus is on reaching out to businesses throughout North Carolina. So far, the growth has been steady.
“Out of 100 counties, 98 had a business in them in 2009 that won a DoD contract,” said Thrash. “Our focus is around bases, but a company doesn’t have to be at one of those locations to win a contract. We have more than 250 members — we just recently reached our 250 mark, so we have gone from 0 to 250 members in about 15 months.”
An example of their stellar success includes a recent event in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., called breakfast with a prime.
“That is where we have a prime contractor come and present information, and we allow other companies to present information on their company,” said Thrash. “Then we invite about 50-60 attendees. We limit it because we want it to be a good networking event and not one that the room is so full you can’t move around and circulate in the room.”
That particular event was a shining example of networking at its best. In Thrash’s 10 plus years of networking experience she says that she is constantly amazed at the synergy created at NCDBA events.
“It was a spectacular event — it was networking at its best because you just never know how you are going to make a contact,” said Thrash.
“There was a gentleman from Wrightstville Beach, N.C., who joined after the meeting because he said that he had made two contacts for his business in Wrightsville Beach at an event in Fuquay held by an association headquartered in Fayetteville,” she continued.
By working with local Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Associations, the NCDBA has been able to increase opportunities for businesses throughout the state and help make connections between companies and people that will have an impact on local economies for decades to come.
For more information or to contact the NCDBA, visit www. ncdba.com