With 6,996 direct employees and thousands more jobs created by contractors, Vandenberg Air Force Base is a major economic driver for the region. And 85 percent of the dollars it’s ready to spend are reserved for small businesses.
But for small-business owners who have never handled a government contract, doing business with Santa Barbara County’s largest employer can seem a bewildering maze of rules, bureaucracy, acronyms and abbreviations. But fear not — thanks to the Internet, the paperwork is easier than it’s ever been, and a range of resources on-base and off are available to businesses interested in selling to the federal government.
“When you sign a government contract, you sign on with about 60 different agencies,” said Jim McGlothlin, CEO of Santa Maria-based Quintron, a contractor with the base that recently turned 40. “It’s a specialty, but it’s been simplified.”