Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center opens office in Northeast Arkansas

by George Jared ([email protected]) 405 views 

The Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will soon have an additional home in Northeast Arkansas.

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening are set for June 2 at the Newport Economic Development Commission building. Area business owners are invited to attend and learn about free services available.

“We are excited to welcome the Procurement Technical Assistance Center,” Jon Chadwell, executive director of the Newport Economic Development Commission, said in a statement. “This center will provide assistance to our local and regional companies that are trying to expand their businesses by obtaining federal, state and local government contracts.”

PTAC is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. It offers free services to Arkansas business owners interested in expanding their respective businesses through government contracts. In 2020, PTAC’s clients received more than $204 million in federal, state and local government contracts. Of that amount, $9.4 million were from state and local contracts.

“Sometimes the most difficult part of selling to the government is understanding what each government agency’s preferred process is for vendors,” PTAC director Melanie Berman said. “We help connect our small business clients to purchasing officials within the federal, state and local government and support business through the entire process.”

PTAC program associate Debra Garcia will work in the Newport office, assisting small business owners in Jackson County and surrounding counties. She already has several clients in northeast Arkansas who can be served closer to home by using the Newport office.

“We’re grateful to the Newport Economic Development Commissions for partnering with us,” Garcia said. “This site enables us to serve more clients, particularly in Northeast Arkansas.”

The Newport site is PTAC’s third location, serving businesses in all 75 Arkansas counties. The other sites are in Little Rock and Bentonville. County extension agents in each county help to connect the program to the local communities.

PTAC is part of the Community, Professional and Economic Development Department of the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture. The center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency.