Alliance Northwest is the Premier Business Event for Government and Businesses to Connect on March 14 in Tacoma

Port Madison Construction staffs an exhibit booth at the Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference in 2023. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

The Pacific Northwest’s largest business event, the Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference, is ready to get underway on March 14, 2024, in Tacoma for firms to connect with government agencies that contract for research and development, public works and other projects. “There’s definitely a lot of opportunities to learn about the marketplace by talking to agencies and persons who are in it, and all in one spot,” says Tiffany Scroggs, director of the Washington State APEX Accelerators program in the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC), which is hosting the conference. “And some firms come every year to get updates.”

Washington Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises meets with small and diverse businesses at the annual Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

The annual in-person conference at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center is an important chance for businesses, including those owned by veterans, minorities and women, to make contacts with government agencies contracting for federal, state and local work. The gathering features educational breakout sessions, opportunities to meet one-to-one with agencies and prime contractors, perspectives and updates from government leaders, and a trade show.

Attendees say the conference is a great place to meet clients, develop relationships and learn. “I highly recommend this event to both small and large businesses that work, or are looking to work, for the government,” says Melissa Anderson of Art Anderson.

Alliance Northwest Features Breakout Sessions for Innovation, Research and Development, Public Works and More

Now in its 38th year, Alliance Northwest sees more than 1,000 attendees. In the full agenda, participants choose from educational breakout session tracks relevant to innovation, research and development; public works; federal agency opportunities; and, a grouping of other timely topics.

Scroggs says the innovators track is directed to research and development firms. The public works track explores big changes coming to government projects. The federal government track includes federally-focused speakers covering topics such as construction forecasts. And another track addresses other topics, such as legal considerations.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to attend Alliance Northwest every year!” says Rose Mednick, Image360 president. “Where else can you talk one on one with large construction firms, city agencies and government agencies? The learning sessions were invaluable.”

Minority Business Development Agency Business Center Director Frank Boykin addresses large crowd at the 2023 Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Alliance Northwest Conference App Makes It Easy to Schedule Valuable One-to-One Meetings  

A key draw is the valuable opportunity to meet one-to-one with potential partners, agencies, prime contractors, buyers and sellers. “It’s rare to get to meet with agencies and contractors for a 10-minute one-on-one,” says Scroggs. “It’s an exceptional opportunity to meet and understand a little more about the business.”

Attendees schedule these in-person March 14 meetings in advance by using an event app available when registering. They can filter meeting participants according to industry, interests or needs, business size, certifications and more. “The conference app makes scheduling really simple,” says Scroggs. “We have multiple rooms, so it’s easy to carve out meeting locations. This is our fourth year using the software. Several hundred meetings were set up last year using the app.”

Attendees also have the chance to visit with exhibitors who will be there all day as part of the trade show.

U.S. General Services Administration meets with small businesses about how to sell to federal agencies at the 2023 Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Alliance Northwest Speakers are Federal and State Government Contracting Leaders

Scroggs says several speakers are leaders in government contracting agencies. “We will have someone from the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs, coming from the Pentagon,” she says as one federal example. “They want to find ways to enhance small business participation.”

“The Department of Defense has been concerned for some time about its shrinking industrial base, and it’s a national security concern,” adds Scroggs. “They need more small and diverse firms doing business with the United States. It’s good for the country, it’s good for increasing the number of bids, it’s good for small businesses, and it’s good for the government to be actively investing in these programs.”

Another prominent speaker includes Washington Department of Enterprise Services Director Tara C. Smith.

“As a newer SDVOSB (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business) to government contracting, I can’t imagine a more valuable event to participate in,” says James Marszalek, owner of Operation Red Dot. “The opportunity to meet with agencies, prime contractors, and GovCon (Government Contractors Network) resources all under one roof just doesn’t exist but in events like this. I came away with new relationships, knowledge, and resources that will help me excel as the company grows in the contracting space. This event is incredibly valuable, and well worth your time!”

Air National Guard meets with small businesses at the Alliance Northwest Government Contracting Conference. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Registration is Open for March 14 Alliance Northwest Conference Government Contracting Conference

Online registration for Alliance Northwest is open. Discounts are available for attendees who are certified with the Washington Veteran Owned Businesses or Washington State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises. Federal agencies participate at no cost. State and local governments are invited to exhibit at a discounted rate.

Alliance Northwest
March 14, 2024, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Commerce St, Tacoma

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