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News: NASA event at Roane State W.H. Swain Scott County Center builds 'Huntsville-to-Huntsville' connection

News: NASA event at Roane State W.H. Swain Scott County Center builds 'Huntsville-to-Huntsville' connection

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann speaks to participants at the networking conference, “Think Big: Learn How To Do Business with NASA,” June 19 at Roane State’s W.H. Swain Scott County Center.

July 3, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. – This small Scott County town is four hours by car from Huntsville, Ala., but now there’s a closer association.

Roane State last month played a key role in bringing residents of both areas together in what’s been dubbed the “Huntsville-to-Huntsville” connection.

Some dozen NASA employees from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., came to rural Scott County to encourage small businesses to consider doing business with NASA at a conference organized by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and Congressman Hal Rogers.

Roane State hosted the event for businesses at its W.H. Swain Scott County Center in Huntsville, Tenn., while in nearby Oneida, NASA educational specialists presented programs to youngsters at the Boys and Club of the Cumberland Plateau.

“I believe that the conversations and ideas brought forward this week are just the beginning of what can occur when small businesses and NASA work together,” Rep. Fleischmann said in a statement.

NASA representatives as well as its prime contractors answered queries at Roane State’s Scott County campus from representatives of 60 small businesses interested in establishing contracts with NASA.

“It was a well-run, fantastic event, and I hope they do more,” said Patrick Bisese, vice president of Street Legal, an Oak Ridge firm that does construction oversight management.

Richard Foster, owner of Micro Precision Machining LLC of Scott County, said he’d like to explore possible business contacts with NASA contractor The Boeing Company “where my expertise meets their needs.”

“You never know if you have a connection until you stand and talk to somebody,” said Randy Lycans, with Jacobs Engineering Services.

Opportunities with NASA are abundant for businesses of all shapes and sizes in this region, Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley said. “We wanted to raise awareness that big agencies such as NASA want and need services from small businesses.”

NASA does business with firms ranging from machine shops to janitorial services, from landscaping to security services.​

Todd May, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, speaks to participants at the networking conference, “Think Big: Learn How To Do Business with NASA,” June 19 at Roane State’s W.H. Swain Scott County Center.

Speakers will included Todd May, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC); David Brock, MSFC Small Business Specialist; Troy Miller, Small Business Specialist with the NASA Shared Services Center; Lynn Garrison, MSFC Small Business Advisor; LaTanya Channel, U.S Small Business Administration District Director; and Jutta Bangs, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Roane State.

At the Boys and Girls Club, youngsters were excited to talk to NASA staff members about the space program.

“We’re building an awareness of what NASA is doing,” specialist Maria Chambers said as her two colleagues fielded questions from inquisitive club members.

“We’re encouraging them to get into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field and maybe come work at NASA,” specialist Fred Kepner said.

NASA educational specialist Fred Kepner shows a model of the next-generation spacecraft to members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau during NASA’s visit to Scott County. Roane State hosted events for both youngsters and potential NASA subcontractors attending a forum at the college’s W.H. Swain Scott County Center

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