Small business panel highlights opportunities to support the Air Force mission

  • Published
  • By Jessica Casserly
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

NEWTON, Mass. – Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, acquisition and contracting leaders participated in a panel held by the Hanscom Small Business Programs office March 11 to discuss pathways for collaborating with small businesses.

The panel included program executive officers with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, as well as representatives from the Hanscom AFB Contracting Directorate, U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. General Services Administration. One of the main themes was the emphasis Team Hanscom places on working with small businesses.

“Over the last four fiscal years, Hanscom has obligated more than $1 billion each year to small business,” said Andrea Panagoulias, director of the Small Business Programs office here.

Panagoulias said her office is focused on maximizing small business opportunities in support of the PEO missions at Hanscom AFB.

“We had a great year, small business-wise, in FY23,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, program executive officer of Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks. “We exceeded all of our expectations in every category, and I’m very excited to report that we’re on track to do the same in FY24.”

Ryan Mantz, acting deputy PEO for digital, said his directorate also exceeded their FY23 small business goals, and added small businesses played a critical role in helping Digital excel in the areas of “speed and innovation.”

Another topic of discussion was pathways for small businesses to connect with the Department of the Air Force to showcase their capabilities and to learn about new business opportunities.

Panelists highlighted several opportunities for engagement, including regional outreach events hosted by the SBA; one-on-one meetings with the Hanscom Small Business Programs office; capability briefings with the Hanscom AFB PEOs; and connecting with the Hanscom Innovation Team regarding future pitch opportunities.

The panelists also discussed the importance of digital transformation and digital engineering.

“All new programs really need to be born digital,” Mantz said. “Also, on our modifications to any of our existing systems, we want to at least start off with a government reference architecture, so we can think about how the system is connecting to other systems.”

Another focus area was the need for small business products and solutions to be adaptable.

“I want to emphasize scalability to all of my small business partners,” Genatempo said. “A lot of the things that I have seen from our vendor pool work very well for a group of 250 users, but that same architecture cannot be inflated to satisfy hundreds of thousands of Air Force and Space Force users. If you approach me with your product and you’ve thought about the scalability issue, then I think that would be a great foot in the door for you.”

To contact the Hanscom Small Business Programs office, email Panagoulias at or deputy director Amy MacDonough at