NASA's Industry Day Gives Local Businesses New Opportunities

After a ten year absence, NASA's Stennis Space Center resurrected its "Industry Day". The goal of the event is to give big and small businesses in the area a chance to do business with the many government agencies and high tech companies at Stennis. It's also an opportunity for Stennis leaders to discover where to find the goods and services they need to do their jobs.

Russell Watkins of New Orleans owns a high tech company called Cybernetics Industries. Watkins, speaking to a representative from the National Data Buoy Center at Stennis, said, "We're a company that can design computer systems. We can work with companies, such as yours, to be able to measure different types of changes in the environment."

Watkins is one of nearly 500 business executives hoping to land a contract or sell merchandise to one of the 30 plus government agencies and commercial businesses at Stennis.

Last year NASA , the Navy, and the other companies on site, spent nearly 560 million dollars on goods and services from vendors within a 50 mile radius of the space center.

"We buy anything from technical services, to pressure vehicles, to security services, down to pens and pencils. NASA spends $250 million a year on contracts and purchase orders," Rebecca Dubuisson with the Stennis Space Center said.

Tim Brogdon, Vice President of a company called GB Tech, also wants to develop stronger ties with NASA.

"We provide some remote sensing capabilities using unmanned aerial vehicles and I wanted to see how we could use that capability at Stennis Space Center."

Brogdon's company is already doing laboratory work for NASA, but he's hoping to drum up more business for the high tech remote sensing side of his company. Officials say "Industry Day" opens up that possibility.

"Industry Day" also highlighted guest speakers like Congressman Gene Taylor and Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Donaldson. The event was held at Casino Magic's Bay Tower.

by Al Showers