Vendor fair: promoting businesses, building relationships

by Staff Sgt. Jessica H. Smith
18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- After four months of planning and organization, Kadena Air Base welcomed representatives for 22 local businesses into the Schilling Center, May 18, 2018, for a vendor’s fair open to the entirety of the base.

The vendor showcase provides an opportunity for Department of Defense personnel on the island of Okinawa to meet local vendors and learn more about the small businesses within the community while allowing community relations to be strengthened.

Contractors are used for a multitude of purposes throughout the base, explained Senior Airman Aurora Salazar-Alas, 18th Contracting Squadron contract specialist.

From office furniture to specialized gear, the contractors provide many important – and possibly unknown – goods and services to the base.

“We use contractors for goods and services all over the base; we contract them for services such as trash disposal, medical translators [and] dead animal disposal,” Salazar-Alas listed. “Without the services and goods provided by contractors, our local Airman would either go without or have to provide it, which would take them away from the critical mission essential roles.”

The support and partnership between the base and local community are a key factor in the success of both parties. Without the tools and resources provided by the local businesses, Airmen would lack the resources to do their job efficiently.

“Establishing professional business relationships benefits us all,” said Paul Keenan, 18th Mission Support Group, deputy director. “The U.S. military is present here in Okinawa to honor the United States’ commitment to Japan under our security treaty. In order to carry out our mission – to defend Japan and maintain peace and stability within the region -- the U.S. government requires locally procured supplies, services and construction.”

By coming together for the vendor fair, military members and locals alike show their dedication and support not only to the mission, but also to the relationship that has been built throughout the decades.

“Our gracious hosts and excellent business partners ensure the joint success of a variety of missions,” Keenan said. “Together, we can build a strong partnership to support the U.S.’ mission and the Okinawan economy.”

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