6th CONS small business specialist wins 2018 SAF award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

For the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, the small business program has a dedicated department led by the 6th Contracting Squadron small business specialist, Lilliam Maldonado-Gutierrez.

To recognize her outstanding work between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018, she was awarded the Secretary of the Air Force 2018 Special Achievement Award.

“This isn’t about just me,” said Maldonado-Gutierrez. “We work as a group here and we are all on the same team that puts small businesses first.”

During that time, her team awarded more than $158 million in contracts to small businesses in the local area in support of the 6th AMW, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and 31 other mission partners.  

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses help sustain the U.S. economy and comprise 99.9 percent of approximately 28 million U.S. businesses, which contributes approximately 50 percent to the gross domestic product.

“Lilliam replaced the last small business specialist who had been managing the program for more than 10 years,” said Marc Duval, the 6th CONS operations director. “But she filled those big shoes the first day with a plan based in innovation, which greatly increased efficiency.”

With twenty-one years of contracting experience, Maldonado-Gutierrez executed her vision and plan with her team to award more than 92 percent of all available dollars to small businesses. 

She took paper legacy products and automated all of them to be more easily accessible while developing partnerships with other champions of small businesses such as USSOCOM, the local Chamber of Commerce, University of South Florida and many more.

“I think the thing that is most impressive is the number of phone calls we get requesting her to come and talk to segment and industry groups in the local area to explain how to do business with the federal government,” said Duval. “She gets information out quickly on what MacDill does as well as the goods and services that the installation needs.” 

Duval further explained that Maldonado-Gutierrez’s focused strategy last year led to the award of more than $48 million to woman-owned small businesses, $24 million to service-disabled small businesses and $29 million to historically under-utilized business zone small businesses. These accomplishments led the unit in exceeding its assigned goals in these categories for the fiscal year of 2018. 

“Based on our performance last year, Air Mobility Command has increased almost all of our goals this year,” Maldonado-Gutierrez said. “Which we are exceeding in almost every category so far this year.”

According to Duval, she also directed Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in 2017 through 2018 by approving 14 projects worth $7 million, which supported 141 humanitarian missions affecting numerous recipients.

“I really love my job and what I am able to do,” said Maldonado-Gutierrez. “I hope we get more opportunity and chances to build upon our local area small business partnerships in the years to come.”