Conference looks to help businesses grow In WV
By CATHY BONNSTETTER
MORGANTOWN—Two organizations who work daily to grow businesses within the state will be partnering again to present a conference highlighting the strengths of West Virginia and helping businesses overcome challenges.
Teaming to Win and TechConnect will partner to present the 22nd annual Teaming to Win conference, which begins at 6 p.m. May 29 at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. This marks the second year the two nonprofits have worked together to put on the conference.
“We at TechConnect are helping to promote the conference to make it as much of a success and valuable part of the business development in the future as it has been in the past,” said Anne Barth, TechConnect executive director.
The conference will include a strategic forecasting event where firms can learn about opportunities available in government contracting.
“Government agencies will come to the conference to talk about the kinds of work they are looking for in this area — flesh it out a little bit,” Barth said.
This year’s list of speakers includes a balance of different views of business in the state.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Karen G. Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, will present the 2012 West Virginia Small Business Awards. Later that day, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will deliver a keynote address.
The conference will host a West Virginia University-themed event that will include presentations by WVU President James P. Clements, Anthony Cugini, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.
Every day of the conference, whether it is coffee and donuts at breakfast or a round of golf, firms are given networking time, and that may be the most valuable aspect of the conference.
“You see a wide variety of firms at the conference,” Barth said. “The idea is to help smaller firms pair up with larger ones to win an award or contract. The conference has taken on an even broader role in networking in terms of helping companies establish alliances.”
Allegheny Science and Technology Corp. did just that and entered into a Small Business Administration mentor/protégé agreement with KeyLogic in part as a result of networking at a Teaming to Win Conference.
“The mentor/protégé relationship seemed like a perfect fit for us,” said KeyLogic President and CEO Jon Hammock. “Our companies got to know each other for quite some time. There aren’t many companies I would enter that type of relationship with. The alignment of our value systems and the way we view the world, the way our companies treat our customers and competency all entered into our decision.”
With the mentor/protégé agreement, Allegheny Science and Technology, a corporation with 35 employees, joined forces with KeyLogic and its 170 employees and won two government contracts, one with the FBI and one with the National Geospatial Agency.
“I started my company in 2009, and a lot of our success has been with KeyLogic,” said Allegheny Science and Technology Corp. President and CEO Arria Whiston. “My partner, Bob Wentz, Allegheny’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer, had worked with KeyLogic, and then we started doing Teaming to Win with them.”
Whiston and I-79 Development Council president Deana Keener are co-directors for this year’s conference.
“The conference is almost three days, and it gives you the opportunity to network with larger companies and develop relationships with these companies in an informal setting,” Whiston said. “You can talk and get a feel whether an opportunity is a win/win. Also, small companies talk to each other about lessons learned.”
In addition to the speakers and presentations, the conference will include about 100 exhibitions. The 2012 conference will offer 12.5 credits under the West Virginia Development Office’s Local Economic Development Grant. A complete agenda and registration information is available at www.teamingtowin.org.