News 12 at 6 o' clock/ June 23, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's no secret that our area is in for big growth with the addition of the Cyber Command Center to Fort Gordon. Monday, the Fort Gordon contracting office helped prepare small businesses for that growth at an open house on post.
Small businesses got an inside look at how to win bids for work.
Hundreds of small business reps gathered in Alexander Hall, taking notes and soaking in some valuable information.
"Today is all about open communication. We want to be more transparent with our local businesses, and provide them with a little update with what we have coming up," said Lt. Colonel Silvia Farmer, the director of Mission and Installation Contracting Command of Ft. Gordon.
With Cyber Command already starting to transition to Ft. Gordon, there's a lot coming up, everything from construction needs to I.T., housing and beyond.
Lawrence Wingfield is the General Manager of Chenega Decision Sciences, an I.T. business out of Virginia. They're interested in opening a branch in Augusta.
"Without question, we believe there is enough opportunity here with the growth of Cyber Com to Ft. Gordon, the growth that is expected here, we certainly want to be a part of it," Wingfield said.
If they get a bid for work, that could mean dozens of I.T. workers moving to the area with their families, and the possibility of new jobs too.
Local businesses are also excited because the growth with Cyber Command isn't just going to happen on post, it's also going to happen in the small communities surrounding Fort Gordon.
Ruth Blackburn is the CEO of a Lucky Lady Pecans, a small business that operates out of Harlem, GA. She says, "I think it's going to be great for the overall economy of Harlem."
Lucky Lady Pecans has a huge internet presence, but their storefront in Harlem could always use more foot traffic.
"As you can see, there are a lot of vacant buildings in Harlem, and that is really sad because it's such a neat little town," Blackburn said.
She's hoping it will translate to more people and more businesses heading here too.
"The more businesses that come here saves us from driving to another town, and keeps all the money here in our little town," she explains.
There are essentially three phases for bringing Cyber Command to Augusta. We're in phase one now, which has brought about 50 soldiers to the area this summer to begin the Cyber Joint Force headquarters, e first in a long line of new faces. We'll be in phase two at the end of the year, and the final phase will begin in 2015 or 2016.