Photo of participants and panelists at the Small Business Showcase at SAS 2024.

Expanding Your Horizons to the B2G Market: RDA Representatives Excel at Sea-Air-Space 2024

News, Announcements
Defense Industry Trends, warfighter, government contractor, small business, industry event, Sea Air Space 2024, Sea-Air-Space Exposition, US Navy

The B2G market is one of the largest business prospects around, with the federal demographic offering an extremely wide range of opportunities. With required services ranging from office landscaping to manufacturing key technology components, B2G or business-to-government can become a lucrative and dependable market for any small business. As such, attending federal trade shows and conferences can open a new world of possibilities for small businesses and government contractors alike.

Recently, RDA, a subsidiary of Sentient Digital, participated in the 2024 Sea-Air-Space Exposition hosted by the Navy League of the United States. The event featured defense industry leaders and military decision makers as they shared the latest news, updates, and trends surrounding the maritime domain. Event attendees included Jon Dionne, General Manager and Director of Mission Software Solutions, Ronald Hidde, Project Engineer and Manager for Aircraft Testing and Integration, and Gregory Niehaus, Engineering Development Manager. They presented LCAP and SeaSight to a series of panelists and audience in the Small Business Showcase during the second day of the event. In doing so, they forged connections with interested personnel to establish new points of interest in promoting innovative naval solutions.

Employee presenting in front of panelists.
Jon Dionne, General Manager & Director of MSS, presenting at the Small Business Showcase.

Elevating Your Business in the Federal Marketplace

Commercial transaction is what drives the world of business. Almost all transactions can be sorted into three categories: business to customer (B2C), business to business, (B2B), and business to government (B2G). Each of these categories require marketing strategies catered to their unique customer base, with the products and services easily becoming more specialized and technical.

A unique characteristic of the B2G market is the supporting efforts of government programs designed to encourage small businesses to succeed. As the largest customer in the world, the U.S. government actively seeks to buy from small businesses for several reasons, including:

  • Preventing large businesses from monopolizing markets and stifling small enterprises
  • Accessing innovative ideas and solutions typically offered by small businesses
  • Promoting economic growth and job creation by supporting small enterprises
  • Providing opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

The Office of Small Business Programs offers assistance as a starting point to understand the variety of resources available. One of these resources includes the STTR/SBBR program, which encourages research and development among domestic small businesses.

Expanding upon such resources leads to additional opportunities in the form of industry events. Trade shows and conferences can bolster awareness of your company brand, learn more about the latest industry trends, and, in the case of governmental work, educate participants of recent changes or implementations in industry laws and regulations. There also remains the added benefit of networking with industry leaders and key decision makers. The Sea-Air-Space Exposition stands as one such event, held annually in the heart of Washington D.C. and bringing together leaders from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corp, and other governmental and industry agencies invested in collaborating for maritime innovation.

The 2024 Sea-Air-Space Exposition

Established in 1965, the Sea-Air-Space Exposition serves as a vital platform for connecting the U.S. defense industrial base, private sector American companies, and key military decision-makers from the sea services. It has evolved into an annual gathering renowned for its innovation, education, and professionalism.

Over the years, Sea-Air-Space has become the largest maritime exposition in the United States. It embodies the Navy League’s commitment to maritime policy education and unwavering support for our warfighters and sea services.

The 2024 Sea-Air-Space Exposition opened on April 7 with a STEM expo, bringing grade school students face-to-face with exciting scientific and interactive STEM concepts. The following days brought in a diverse array of policy education, discussion panels and keynote speakers covering significant topics, and engaging demonstrations – including the second occurrence for the Center for Maritime Strategy “Gaming to Win” event that included a live wargaming demonstration. Featured speakers of this event included the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, the Honorable Erik Raven, ADM Lisa Franchetti, USN, and ADM Linda Fagan, USCG, among others. Special areas of focus included empowering the next generation of leaders, overcoming shipbuilding challenges, and supporting the maritime warfighter.

On April 9, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro encouraged industry and government leaders alike to modernize their current methodologies to overcome current shipbuilding challenges, and that may include working with shipbuilding partners overseas. Citing a recent visit to South Korea, Del Toros said that modernizing and expanding the shipbuilding industrial capacity will allow for a healthier and more competitive shipbuilding workforce. “I want American industry to thrive, as a business owner for almost two decades,” Del Toro said. “Just as our country needs you and industry to be at the top of your game, I’m determined to ensure that we and the Department of the Navy are also on the top of our game. We must meet industry in a common place of excellence.”

Sea-Air-Space is designed to provide an opportunity for U.S. defense industrial base, private sector American companies, and key military decision-makers to convene and explore innovative ways to bolster support for both the warfighter and small businesses. Attendees, panelists, and exhibit managers participated in a dynamic event that featured networking opportunities, professional development opportunities, and keynote speakers covering relevant topics.

Presenting at the Small Business Showcase

In any setting, it can be daunting to compete with larger companies who have more resources available and are thus able to focus on large-scale projects. Being a small business, however, offers the competitive edge of retaining specialized industry and technical knowledge. As a small business that was acquired by SDi in 2019, RDA specializes in systems engineering and digital signal processing (DSP) for sonar systems. This expert knowledge allows our engineers to create innovative products that support and address critical Naval needs. Former and current SBIR projects have bolstered both RDA and naval efforts.

RDA manager presenting in front of panelists.
Gregory Niehaus, Engineering Development Manager, presenting at the Small Business Showcase.

The Small Business Showcase, sponsored by the Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs (DoN OSBP), offers a platform for small businesses to present innovative ideas to a panel of experts and a public audience. RDA applied to one of three challenges as outlined by DoN OSBP and initially secured a runner-up position. However, before the showcase was scheduled to begin, an unexpected opportunity arose when a scheduled presenter cancelled last minute.

As runners-up, Jon Dionne, Ronald Hidde, and Gregory Niehaus were given the chance to present LCAP (RDA’s Low-Cost Advanced Processor) and SeaSight, an upcoming advanced ASW solution designed to bolster the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms in dynamic and contested environments. Their participation provided numerous opportunities to engage with panelists and audience members, sparking post-presentation discussions. This impromptu networking opportunity enabled the team to display RDA’s innovative solutions and expand their connections within the defense and maritime industry.

RDA Director and Project Engineer at the Small Business Showcase.
Jon Dionne (left), General Manager & Director of MSS, and Ronald Hidde (right), Project Engineer and Manager for Aircraft Testing & Integration, answering questions.

Engaging in industry events enables active involvement in ongoing conversations. Proactively embracing B2G marketing and networking not only unlocks business prospects but also builds meaningful connections with other industry or event participants. These professional connections point the way to new programs or contracts that may serve as strategic business opportunities.


B2G marketing can be a great option for businesses looking to tap into the vast opportunities offered by government contracts. By participating in events such as Sea-Air-Space, staying informed of industry trends, and cultivating strong relationships, Sentient Digital and RDA continue to embrace innovation to support our warfighters.

Contact us if you are interested in partnering with us and check out our blog for more information about contracting for the government and military!