The Northwest Pennsylvania Defense Advisory Council will conduct its first quarterly meeting for the new year on March 7, 2024, in Erie, PA.

This newly formed advisory council is in response to the increasingly large number of challenges that contractors face when trying to do business with the Department of Defense (DoD). According to the 2023 DoD Office of Small Business Strategic Plan, there has been a large decrease in the number of companies participating in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) throughout the country to the point that it has become vital for the U.S. Government to strategize their efforts to support small businesses, who make up 70% of the companies that do business with DoD.

The Northwest Commission APEX Accelerator’s Government Contracting Manager, Robyn Rowan, along with several clients of the program have been discussing the concept of an advisory group for years. The focus of the group is to bring together seasoned and new defense contractors to join forces in order to share resources, provide best practices, guidance, and networking opportunities in the area of defense contracting.

Rowan explained during the kickoff meeting in September 2023, that the Defense Advisory Council in the Northwest PA region will focus its strategies to align with the DoD’s strategy to increase the DIB by providing opportunities for contractors to work together to resolve common barriers to entry, discuss challenges and bring in experts to help with those challenges. Rowan is hoping that this initiative will help build a strong foundation of defense contractors within the region for years to come; one that the U.S. Government will recognize and turn to for supporting their mission. One of the keys to success is the support of regional business resources, stakeholders, and small, medium, and large contractors – well-established and new.

For additional information and details of the upcoming March 7th meeting, contact the Northwest Commission APEX Accelerator’s Government Contracting Manager, Robyn Rowan at