We’re still reeling from the incredible time our PVM team had at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), from May 16-19. After two years of a virtual event, thousands of people descended on Tampa’s Convention Center to attend SOFIC for its first in-person conference since the beginning of the pandemic. Our CEO and Founder, Pat Mack, and our Director of Talent and Acquisition, Sam Sams were in attendance. SOFIC is a great opportunity for those in the Special Operations Forces community, or those wanting to join it, to share knowledge, learn about new tech and innovation from other businesses, and just generally talk shop. As proud members of the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub, PVM also participated in and led a few events in our hometown of St. Petersburg during SOFIC as well. The Hub is unique for the area in that it has possible SCIF space, currently undergoing certification, and PVM holds a facilities clearance for one of those SCIFs. To work with SOCOM, or others in the federal government, having this access to a SCIF is vital for certain projects.
Collaboration is vital to our work at PVM—both internally and externally. As members of the Hub, we are always looking for new ways to work with the other companies that share Hub space with us. We kicked off the week by joining up with other Hub companies—Pole Star, Virtru, Applied Technology Solutions,Dark Star,Aurora Borealis Networks, and Airbox— as sponsors for a charity event that night. Like most conferences, SOFIC also hosts multiple charity events associated with the main event; in this case, many of them support veterans or families/children of fallen soldiers. As a company built by a service-disabled veteran that employs many veterans, PVM is very committed to supporting causes that benefit those that gave their time, energy, and lives to serve our country.
During the week, many federal leaders came to visit the Hub and our team at PVM. One of those leaders was the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), Heidi Shyu. Ms. Shyu and Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg toured the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub and spoke to many of the tenants, hearing about the new and innovative work that is being done right here in St. Pete. The Under Secretary met many members of the Hub to discuss their current projects, viewed the PVM and shared SCIF spaces, and was pleased to see such a collaborative space for new tech. We were honored to be part of her tour and grateful for this opportunity to share more about our work.
Additionally, PVM CEO Pat Mack and Pole Star Defense President Ben Minichino hosted Navy SBIR/STTR Director Robert Smith at the Hub. Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Pinellas County Economic Development President, and Yolanda Goodloe Cowart, the Procurement Technical Assistance Director, helped to facilitate this important opportunity and immediately reached out to Pat and Ben when they learned of the Director’s interest. Director Smith spoke to about 30 small businesses about the Navy SBIR program and stressed the importance of communication and relationships with the office. For companies looking to do business with the Navy, this presentation and access to Director Smith was invaluable and we were happy to help host him. PVM CEO and Founder Pat Mack is a Navy veteran and some of our first contracts as a small business are with the Navy.
Throughout the week of SOFIC, PVM team members made connections with others in our field and talked with other conference attendees on possibilities for collaboration. PVM continues to be proud of our membership at the St. Petersburg Maritime and Defense Hub and will always take the opportunity to make connections with others in our field. We loved attending SOFIC this year and are already looking forward to the event next year in Tampa!