This article is part of a series featuring Utah-based companies and what they’re doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

As the United States continues its battle with the invisible COVID-19 enemy, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is filling a vital role as it ensures an uninterrupted chain of critical supplies during the pandemic.

The Defense Department’s designation of the Procurement Technical Assistance Program as an essential infrastructure proved the program’s vital role in ensuring small businesses continue meeting routine contract requirements and provide critical supplies needed for the coronavirus pandemic.

Managed by the Defense Logistics Agency’s Office of Small Business Programs, PTAC has over 300 centers nationwide that provide contracting-related assistance to businesses, helping them navigate the government procurement process.

“Many small business owners are eager to contribute to the pandemic response and want to know how they can sell personal protective equipment like masks, gowns and gloves to state and federal governments,” said PTAC Manager Sherry Savage. “PTACs serve a critical role in helping small businesses connect with DLA and other government agencies during routine operations and the pandemic.”

Locally, HHI Corporation continues to produce Mobile Triage Units and Portable Test Labs to provide patient care for COVID-19. The Ogden-based company produces prefabricated systems installed inside or outside a variety of facilities where patients are treated for the coronavirus, such as hospitals, hotels or convention centers. The units are transportable and modular for quick installation.

“HHI is committed to bettering the lives of those close to home and around the world. We will use innovative measures like the Mobile Triage Units and Portable Test Labs to combat COVID-19,” said Regina Hokanson, president of HHI Corporation. “We are proud to be a part of the dynamic and specialized team helping provide solutions in this time of need.”

The services PTAC centers provide range from identification of contracting opportunities and guidance on the bidding process to detailed instruction on registering in federal procurement systems such as the System for Award Management and DLA’s Internet Bid Board System. Counselors also help small-business owners apply for socio-economic programs and certifications.

“If the businesses don’t have any help from the PTACs, the bidders can’t bid on our contracts, DLA can’t issue an award, and we can’t serve the warfighters,” Savage said.

The pandemic shifted her role from routine administrative oversight of her employees and the awards they issue to constant communication with the PTACs, the Small Business Administration and agencies that want to leverage the PTACs, added Savage.

The PTAC was authorized by Congress in 1985 to help expand the number of businesses participating in government contracts. DLA administers the program in cooperation with states and local governments, Native American tribes, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities. In fiscal year 2019, PTACs provided 169,000 hours of one-on-one counseling and assisted 54,000 businesses.