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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


McCaskill to Host Annual Procurement Conference at UCM

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 19, 2014) – Owners of small businesses can learn how to secure government contracts and network with potential contractors at the annual Procurement Conference Thursday, May 29, at the University of Central Missouri’s Elliott Student Union. The conference is hosted by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and the Small Business and Technology Development Center at UCM.

Deborah Lee James

Deborah Lee James,
secretary of the U.S. Air Force

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a welcome from UCM President Charles Ambrose and Whiteman Air Force Base officials. Following comments by McCaskill at 9 a.m., Keith Koehler, president of Certified Energy and Environmental Labs, will speak on successful government contracting. Elliott B. Branch, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, will speak on government procurement at 9:30 a.m.

The featured luncheon speaker for the conference is Deborah Lee James, secretary of the U.S. Air Force.

James is the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force and is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 690,00 active duty, guard, reserve and civilian airmen and their families. She oversees an annual budget of more than $110 billion.

Prior to her current position, James served as president of Science Applications International Corporation's Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. James held a variety of positions with SAIC, including senior vice president and director of homeland security.

From 2000 to 2001, she was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Business Executives for National Security, and from 1998 to 2000 she was vice president of International Operations and Marketing at United Technologies.

From 1993 to 1998, James served in the Pentagon as the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. She worked extensively with Congress, state governors, the business community, military associations, and international officials on National Guard and Reserve component issues, and she oversaw a $10 billion budget and supervised a 100-plus-person staff. Prior to her Senate confirmation in 1993, she served as an assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs.

From 1983 to 1993, she worked as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee, where she served as a senior advisor to the Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee, the NATO Burden Sharing Panel, and the chairman’s member services team.

James earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

A 10:30 a.m. panel discussion with representatives of MO PTAC, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration and the SBTDC will focus on learning to do business with the government. A 1:30 p.m. panel discussion with representatives of the MO PTAC, state of Missouri and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will focus on how to do business with state and federal agencies. At 2:45 p.m., a panel discussion with representatives of Boeing, Northrup Grumman and ATK will focus on the same topics.

Exhibits by government purchasing offices and contractors will be available throughout the conference in the Elliott Student Union ballroom.

The conference is open to business owners and interested individuals. A fee of $60 per person is required and includes lunch. Registration prior to May 24 is encouraged. Individuals who want to attend may register online, or by contacting the Small Business and Technology Development Center at UCM at 660-543-4402, email