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  • CRDG

NSWC Crane and Industry Partners Greet Small Businesses for Networking Event

WESTGATE@CRANE Technology Park, (Odon) Indiana (Oct. 20, 2022) - The Crane Regional Defense Group (CRDG), a subcommittee of the White River Military Coordination Alliance, hosted the second-annual Connect to Crane networking event October 12 at WestGate Academy to provide small business owners the opportunity to connect with government and industry leaders supporting Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

Intimate, one-on-one sessions offer small business attendees the opportunity to network and learn best practices for gaining contracts, showcase their products and services, and increase their understanding of the federal procurement process.

“The Connect to Crane event was established to afford small and non-traditional businesses an opportunity to directly communicate and possibly partner with Crane and industry partners,” said Matt Burkett, deputy director of small business at NSWC Crane. “Now two years in we’ve seen continued interest, great attendance and active participation from both sides. This is really encouraging in terms of fostering lasting and beneficial relationships for all involved, which was our hope from the beginning.”

The event creates a space for small businesses that are developing cutting-edge innovations to network with strategists, contracting officials, policymakers, and local defense and business leaders. The event is the only one of its kind in the region and saw an increased interest due to the success of the inaugural event in October 2021. Small business representatives traveled as far as Seattle, Washington, to participate in the event.

“It was a unique opportunity to get one-on-one time with leaders in the industry and learn more about the contracting process” said Tom Budd, solution center support manager with Manufacturing Technology, Inc. “We look forward to participating again in the future and continuing to build on these relationships.”

In addition to NSWC Crane representatives and engineers, WestGate Technology Park tenants and defense contractors Amentum, Booz Allen Hamilton, ManTech International, Peerless Technologies, Science Application International Corporation and Tristar were all in attendance as “Team Crane” partners to offer advice and share opportunities for collaboration. Many of these organizations are members of CRDG and participate in other events throughout the year.

“Today provided the ability to interact with niche small businesses that we may not have met otherwise, and we are looking forward to following up with the connections made,” said Kristian Willetts, director enterprise and cyber with Peerless Technologies. “Our conversations were insightful and productive, allowing us to explore areas of mutual benefit for both the small businesses and prime contractors such as Peerless in the defense industry.”

The Crane Regional Defense Group will host additional Connect to Crane events as a pillar of the organization’s focus on leveraging Crane’s potential to bring economic growth to Southern Indiana. Small businesses and local industries are vital to mission success and CRDG has committed to providing opportunities for collaboration and partnership. The event will continue to grow, with the goal of attracting more large defense industry partners and small businesses to participate.


The mission of Crane Regional Defense Group is to preserve the strategic value of Crane by supporting local outreach and legislative initiatives that protect military installations in the region and state, and leverage the installation’s potential to bring economic growth to Southern Indiana.

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