Over 300 business counselors, representing programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico traveled to Atlanta last week (April 21-25, 2013) to participate in a comprehensive training conference hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC).
The conference was held by the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) which is the trade association representing the 90+ PTACs across the country. GTPAC is one of the original PTACs, having been established in 1985 and operating continuously ever since. PTACs are funded by the Defense Logistics Agency, supplemented by funding matches from local sponsors such as Georgia Tech, to assist businesses identify, compete for, and win government contracts at the federal, state and local government levels.
“Holding the annual training meeting in Atlanta enabled us to showcase the nation’s best practices in procurement counseling, and highlight the innovative efforts we’re spearheading right here in Georgia,” pointed out Chuck Schadl, group manager for government contracting services within Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Schadl also serves as APTAC’s vice president for education and was responsible for vetting the 30 speakers at the conference. “The conference was the result of a year-long effort to identify experts across the country, from both public and private sectors, who were willing to share techniques that have proven to be successful in helping businesses grow through government contracts.”
Joe Beaulieu, GTPAC’s program manager, oversaw many of the conference’s details and personally moderated a session on the inner-workings of the System for Award Management (SAM), the federal database launched last fall that contains vendor registration, payment, and performance information. “There have been many problems with the implementation of SAM, and we took this opportunity to provide instruction on the ‘work-arounds’ we’ve developed that would benefit our colleagues and their clients,” commented Beaulieu.
Another highlight of the conference stemmed from a special four-hour educational workshop on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) conducted by The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy). More than half of the conference’s total attendees signed-up for this pre-conference workshop, held on Sunday afternoon, April 21, at the downtown Hyatt. The Academy’s program manager, Donna Bertrand, worked with Schadl to develop the workshop which was entitled “The Complete FAR Guide for PTAC Counselors.”
In a special presentation at APTAC’s awards dinner, GTPAC’s statewide staff was formally recognized for their educational efforts in support of PTACs nationwide.