RCBI has launched a new effort to increase the number of state small businesses securing federal contracts, particularly in the Defense sector. The initiative is an extension of AIM Higher, a regional consortium working to strengthen Defense manufacturing capabilities in West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania.
James Westbrook joined RCBI in late June in the newly created position of government contracting specialist. His job is to assess the capability and capacity of individual small businesses and search for specific contracting opportunities that align with those businesses. Westbrook will then assist in submitting proposals.
“There are some great resources to help business with contracting applications, but they don’t actually scour RFPs (requests for proposals) and alert businesses who should be submitting bids,” said Derek Scarbro, RCBI deputy director. “In addition, most small manufacturers don’t have the time or resources to search regularly for contracting opportunities. Our mission is to fill that void.”
Scarbro said that RCBI already has a good understanding of the capabilities of many small manufacturers and has experience helping a number pivot to Defense contracting, particularly those affected by the downturn in coal mining.
“James’s understanding of the federal contracting process and his military experience position him well to lead our efforts to bring more federal contracting dollars to West Virginia,” Scarbro said.
Westbrook has extensive experience in economic development. Most recently, he served as business research manager for Advantage Valley and previously worked in business development for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Westbrook attended the University of Charleston and earned his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in public administration from Marshall University. The Boone County native is a graduate of Sherman High School.