48th CONS goes local, works smarter

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. Setting local businesses up with work on RAF Lakenheath has opened up local vendors’ options to work with U.S. agencies all across Europe. (Courtesy Photo)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. Setting local businesses up with work on RAF Lakenheath has opened up local vendors’ options to work with U.S. agencies all across Europe. (Courtesy Photo)

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. The 48th Contracting Squadron has been working to educate as many local vendors as they can reach about the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up with vendors face-to-face at vendor fairs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. The 48th Contracting Squadron has been working to educate as many local vendors as they can reach about the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up with vendors face-to-face at vendor fairs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing. (Courtesy Photo)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing. (Courtesy Photo)

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. Setting local businesses up with work on RAF Lakenheath has opened up local vendors’ options to work with U.S. agencies all across Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Fangeos Painting and Decorating Contractors in Essex pressure wash the static displays before repainting them at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, July 22, 2015. Setting local businesses up with work on RAF Lakenheath has opened up local vendors’ options to work with U.S. agencies all across Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. The 48th Contracting Squadron has been working to educate as many local vendors as they can reach about the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up with vendors face-to-face at vendor fairs. (Courtesy Photo)

Workers from Arrowdene Moving & Storage in Thetford deliver new appliances at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 13, 2016. The 48th Contracting Squadron has been working to educate as many local vendors as they can reach about the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up with vendors face-to-face at vendor fairs. (Courtesy Photo)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing.

Case in point, the 48th Contracting Squadron saved $150,000 with just one transaction by contracting a local vendor.

"Our efforts to source contracts locally significantly improve our relationship with the U.K. and our local community," said Maj. Robert Yates, 48th CONS commander. "For starters, there's the economic impact of injecting over £16 million into the U.K. last year alone. However, it's not only the local business owners that benefit from money being spent locally; many people in the local community are contract employees that drive through the gates of RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall every morning to work.  These individuals are vested in what U.S. visiting forces do because they help contribute to our mission day in and day out."

The contracting squadron has been working to educate local vendors about the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up with them face-to-face at vendor fairs.

Setting local businesses up with the capabilities to work with RAF Lakenheath has opened up local vendors' options to work with U.S. agencies all across Europe.

Claire Hammond, 48th CONS contracting officer, experienced meeting, several years ago, with local vendors who had small companies that she has seen thrive from the business they were able to generate with the U.S. government, starting with RAF Lakenheath.

"They are not just getting business from us, they are sending orders out to Aviano [Air Base, Italy] and Ramstein [Air Base, Germany], but they are vendors who are 15 miles from the base here," Hammond explained.

"It's nice seeing these companies start from not much and then flourish because we have a lot of business we'd like to give them and they are willing to take it on," said Esther Hamilton, 48th CONS contract specialist.

In return for the benefits local companies have experienced, they have extended themselves to help the U.S. Air Force accomplish its mission at any hour.

"We've built such good relationships with local companies that they are willing to keep their doors open late," Hamilton said. "They're willing to stay till midnight in case we have any last minute things that we need to buy."