T-Minus Huntsville | Federal Compass

T-Minus Huntsville

01/15/2021


Huntsville, Alabama, has long represented a tantalizing market that always felt out of reach for many contractors. Over the last decade, this zip code has been a focal point of growing interest as it became home for many organizations that, on an annual basis, manage billions in contract spending. Based on the latest news, Huntsville's influence over the aviation, space, and missile enterprise will grow significantly in 2021.

Space Command moves to Huntsville

Space Command Arriving at Huntsville... maybe?

Before we get into the excitement of this news, it is essential to understand the economic impact of Space Command. We will have a new administration in a few days, don't expect Denver to accept this decision without a fight. Starting with state and local governments and quickly escalating into Congress, the war is on to reverse this decision. While the chance of success is relatively low, it will likely create a significant distraction and leave the final decision in doubt.

Huntsville's Control of Spending to Expand Significantly

If we assume that the protests fail and Space Command will soon call Huntsville home, what does that mean? Admittedly, Patrick, Peterson, and Schriever, and other Air Force Bases will still represent the Space Force's critical gravity centers. Nevertheless, decision-makers for Space Command, AMC, NASA, and many other agencies will promote Huntsville to a powerhouse in the contracting world.

With Space Command's move, "Rocket City" will attract greater interest from those who have yet to establish themselves in Huntsville.

The Frustrating Reality of Huntsville

There are few markets or customers that exist within GovCon that are easy to breach. However, Huntsville has proven to be more complicated than most; many see the difficulty of gaining traction there to be on par with the challenges found at Fort Meade, MD, or Springfield, Chantilly, and Langley in Virginia. This tight-knit community runs the spectrum from the small business with niche offerings to systems integrators, with the common thread being strong relationships with their customers. Due to Huntsville's localized environment, there is no shortage of former government personnel who have established companies or joined existing contractors, strengthening their connection with the mission and requirements.

In summary, relationships matter in Huntsville. You are either in the club or struggling to get noticed.

The Crowded Streets

Once all the dust settles, if Space Command ends up relocating to Huntsville, a migration of contractors will follow. This shift in location will impact contractors in various ways, and those ripples could impact customer relationships. While the move will take time, head hunters and recruitment activities will likely increase as established Huntsville contractors look to court the new game in town. Leidos recently purchased Dynetics to increase their exposure to Huntsville customers, increased M&A activity in the region is likely to follow Space Command's arrival.

What About Space Force?

Space Command is an attractive customer, and the continued consolidation of the space enterprise in a central location increases the relevance of Huntsville. However, Space Force is not relocating, and as with any unified command, it is the service branch elements that execute on strategy and doctrine. Will Space Force contractors who have enjoyed their proximity to Space Command in Colorado decide to follow the herd, perhaps. It is important to remember that the Space Force and its various bases represent a significant majority of space enterprise spending. Yes, the move changes the landscape, but most spending for DoD space efforts is staying put.

Decisions in Huntsville will impact Space Force spending, and that may make getting to know your way around Huntsville a priority for anyone dedicated to supporting Space Force.

A big part of success is building the right process on the right platform. Federal Compass offers a comprehensive suite of solutions for any sized federal contractor. Learn more about Federal Compass

The Author

Jim Sherwood Federal Compass
Jim Sherwood
Leading the revolution in federal market intelligence.

Recent Posts

Learn What's on the BIC MAC Menu

Learn why everyone is talking about BIC MAC. It's more than just an OASIS 2 recomplete, it's a one-stop shop for solution-centric professional services. BIC MAC is positioned to significantly disrupt the market. We've seen from OASIS trends that contractors can expect widespread adoption across federal agencies. During this webinar we'll explore the broad range of services that can be expected on BIC MAC and the large number of contractors that are sure to participate. We'll also investigate why certain contractors have more post-award success that others, and some of the techniques to finding the right teaming partners.


written by Jim Sherwood, published 06/28/2021


Polaris Recap: We'll Explore What's Changed with Polaris

With other big-ticket vehicles already competed, Polaris offers another onramp for contractors to get in on the action. We'll explore historic Alliant spending and discuss strategies for Polaris.


written by Jim Sherwood, published 05/18/2021


The March Toward GWACS: CIO-SP4, POLARIS, 8(a) STARS III

Is your company prepared for the shifting landscape within Federal IT procurement? For nearly twenty years, GSA Schedules and agency-IDIQs paved the way for the evolution of second-tier competitions. In 2019, GWACs outpaced IDIQs, for the first time, to become the Government's preferred pathway. Every Federal customer interacts with GWACs, and these vehicles continue to lure in new adopters. From the broad range of services to the number of contractors vying for work, the loyalty to IDIQs is waning as customers begin their march towards GWACs. For many, this statement makes sense; however, getting on a GWAC, let alone finding success, creates a challenge unique to these types of vehicles. It isn't enough to know POLARIS, CIO-SP4, and 8(a) STARS III; a clear vision and strategy are critical to determining the right team, surviving the scorecard, and moving into post-award with a proactive plan to capture business, rather than hopelessly reacting.


written by Jim Sherwood, published 03/09/2021


The Small Business Catch-22: Available Resources Limit Critical Processes

Revenue growth is the primary focus of every small business, but in a market as complex and fluid as the federal contracting market, growth can often stall due to the lack of the right resources. And when effectively managing expenditures puts the right resources out of reach, small businesses often get caught in a growth Catch-22.


written by Jim Sherwood, published 01/25/2021