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Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:50 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Colleen Flaherty

Killeen Daily Herald

Businesses interested in doing business with Fort Hood can network and interface with prime contractors and government agencies Wednesday at the sixth annual Fort Hood Region Government Vendor Expo at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

The event is organized by the Central Texas Business Resource Center. Director Marcus Carr said he expected about 300 vendors, businesspeople and community members to attend and seek out ways to work with and within proximity to Texas' largest employer, Fort Hood.

"This is designed for small business owners or managers to learn how to do business with the government and identify opportunities to expand or diversify," said Carr. "It's a networking event, to go to up to prime contractors and state and federal agencies to explain what they have to sell, as far as their services."

Carr said non-government subcontractors can benefit from the event. Last year, for example, real estate agents attended to network with businesses and employees moving to the area.

The day also includes ongoing workshops such as an introduction to government contracting, doing business with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and obtaining contract financing. Information will be available on government requirements for hiring women-owned and other kinds of businesses.

Kent Milliken, executive vice president of operations for Management and Training Consultants Inc., based in Virginia with offices in Killeen, attended the expo last year. The consultancy firm is still benefiting from the event, and is sponsoring this year's expo, said the executive.

"Just last week, we were still in contact with one of the companies we met a year ago, and we're still making an effort with one another to get federal business," said Milliken. "(The expo) is excellent for establishing long-term, strategic, team partnerships and providing them an opportunity to grow their business."

Although Carr said he expected fewer people to attend this year's expo than last year's - due in part to Defense Department budget constraints that have diminished Fort Hood's cash-cow status in the eyes of some - there are still many opportunities in the area. Some of Fort Hood's largest construction and other projects already have been approved for funding for the next several years, he said.

Additionally, Carr said, "A lot of veterans are transitioning out and staying here and spending their money here."

Contact Colleen Flaherty at colleenf@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHFortHood.

If you go

The Fort Hood Region Government Vendor Expo is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Entrance to the event costs $100 in advance and $125 at the door. Military personnel in uniform get in free.

For more information on the event, go to www.centexgovexpo.org or call (254) 200-2001.

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