All business: Small Business Program director acts as liaison

Courtesy photo Cherri Duval is getting the word out about contracts for Air Force Special Operations Command at both Hurlburt, Fla., and Cannon Air Force Base.

Liliana Castillo

Air Force Special Operations Command has a new face for small businesses to meet and discuss prime and subcontracting opportunities.

Cherri Duval, who works out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the AFSOC Small Business Program coordinator. She has been on the job two months and has about eight years of experience working with contracts.

Duval said her position is as liaison between the government and small businesses when there are contracting opportunities available.

Duval was in the area recently and met with chambers of Commerce in Clovis, Portales, Amarillo and Lubbock and small businesses development centers. Each indicated to her that local businesses in both New Mexico and Florida are looking to find out about military contracts.

New on the block: This is a brand new full-time position. We want to get the word out to small businesses when we have contracting opportunities, where to find them and to organize training on how to submit proposals. There are a lot of local small businesses that are interested in doing business at Cannon but they don’t know who to turn to or where to go to find the information. I provide that information.

Contract finder: Contracts range in different categories. There is construction-type work, support services, commodities or supplies. It’s a long list. There’s so much. The Air Force is just like any other business. They have to have supplies, they have to have personnel. If there’s not enough active duty then they’ll contract out positions. There is always building, especially at Cannon. They’ve been working under AFSOC for about two years. They’re building up and renovating and refurbishing and of course doing new building. Dollar wise, the majority of contracts are construction.

Win-win: I want to get the word out. We find that our small businesses are the backbone of our economy. The majority of the time, they do provide the same quality of service or product as a larger business. Then the government can get a better price because they don’t have to put as much overhead into it. We want to help their businesses as much as we want the contract done. We’re looking for a win-win. The government gets their requirements filled and the local businesses grow also.

Number time: The number of contracts changes on a quarterly basis. They are based on the funding that comes down. Dollar wise contracts could range anywhere from $3,000 into the millions each contract. It depends on what the requirements are.

Cannon counterpart: Horace Bates, 27th Special Operations Contracting Squadron, small business specialist at (575) 784-2322 or via email at To contact Duval, call 850-884-2376 or email

On a personal note: I enjoy outdoor activities. Florida is a good place for that. I was born in Maine. I was in the Air Force for 20 years and traveled all over the world and back. I worked as a paralegal. Of all the places I’ve been, I would have to say Germany was my favorite place overseas. Stateside, I would have to say Florida. I enjoyed Germany’s site seeing, the landscape, the scenery. The winters were kind of cold. Other than that I enjoyed the atmosphere. You felt like it was home. The people made you feel like you were among family.