Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, left, meets with business and industry representatives to discuss needs and opportunities for partnerships during the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Industry Day participants March 6, 2018. (U.S. Navy/released)

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – It was a Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Industry Day like no other before. More than 75 representatives from 40 companies attended the event hosted by FRC Southwest at Naval Air Station North Island, California, on March 6-7. In addition to the industry representatives, there were more than 20 government attendees.

Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, kicked off the Industry Day and welcomed the attendees.

“This is a very exciting time for us at Fleet Readiness Centers,” he said.  We are looking for Enterprise solutions. Recently Congress approved Defense spending that will enable us to invest in some very much needed capability for the Fleet Readiness Centers.”

Zarkowski set the scene for the two-day event by describing the current world environment.

“You only have to listen to the news to realize that at any moment, tensions with near peer competitors could result in the need for more presence from the Navy and Marine Corps team – more specifically, from Naval Aviation,” he said. “Those threats also come from non-state actors and violent extremism. This is our daily reality.

“Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and assets are strategically positioned throughout the world to meet the threats head-on, Zarkowski said. “They rely on Ready and Capable aircraft – aircraft that can perform the missions and provide the winning advantage over the adversaries. That is where the Fleet Readiness Centers come in.  We ensure aircraft are ready when they are required.  Any day and on a moment’s notice.”

This Industry Day had a broad objective: to look for innovative solutions for commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance for the three industrial Fleet Readiness Centers: FRC Southwest, FRC East and FRC Southeast. The intent was to engage with potential partners who can provide innovative solutions to address these specific and collective requirements of these FRCs.

“This industry day was different than others I have been involved with,” said COMFRC Director of Business Development, Adrienne Somerville. “Normally, the focus is very specific – either a specific type of equipment or just one location. With this event, we are looking to address our needs from an Enterprise perspective.”

Comments from industry representatives reflected an appreciation for the opportunity to actually see the facilities and an interest in partnering with the FRCs.  “It was great to see what you do at Southwest, Southeast and East FRCs.  Your openness to ask industry to help was fantastic and I think will bode well for all the FRCs in the near future,” one attendee said.

Another industry attendee said the value of the industry day was the opportunity to better understand the needs at the different FRC depots and the purchasing requirements.

At the culmination of the formal briefings and question and answer session, the Industry participants toured facilities at FRC Southwest. Based on discussions with the attendees, there will be other site visits to the FRC East at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, April 17; and FRC Southeast at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, April 19.

There is still time for those interested in visiting these sites as part of the Industry Day event. For more information, go to FedBizOpps.