Eyeing military contracts, defense contractors hold trade show in Fayetteville
More than 100 defense contractors who are trying to get a slice of the military spending pie in North Carolina participated in the state’s Defense and Economic Development Trade Show in Fayetteville on Tuesday.
The representatives from the companies came from all over the country, while some came from just down the block, to attend the event at the Fayetteville Technical Community College.
For example, BTC Electronics moved from New Jersey to Wake Forest 17 years ago.
Todd Dermady, who works for BTC, said his firm’s military accounts for 85 percent of his company’s business. That’s why the trade show in Fayetteville is important.
“We always make quite a few connections,” he said. “Actually, we usually meet new people. There’s always different people in a bigger company so it’s always good to come and meet new folks and find new connections.”
The defense industry is big business.
According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, prime military contracts in the state totaled nearly $2.5 billon.
U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis support this trade show.
“If you look at Fayetteville Tech, they’re a shining example of a number of community colleges that are creating a lot of the skills that we need in our technologies and our university system,” Tillis said. “When you put all those together, there are very few states that (can) compete with North Carolina and we just keep on building on that success.”
Success on the battlefield is determined by more than just firing weapons, defense company officials say.
“We’re very technology savvy and use it to its fullest capability,” said Rich Holcomb, the deputy to the Special Ops Commanding General.
And it’s not just the big contractors who are fighting for a piece of the action.
Adam Holroyd is a former Fort Bragg Soldier. His company in Aberdeen makes nylon pouches and vests for the military.
“North Carolina is . . . a textile powerhouse,” he said. “So, there’s a big sewing base here. There are a lot of emplyees with experience in sewing that we could bring into the company and get it started.”
State leaders say North Carolina’s experienced military workforce, convenient market access and exceptional quality of life are some of the reasons military contractors like doing business in the Tar Heel State.