Survey: Federal procurement culture impedes innovation

January 29, 2015 by

Signs of technology malaise can be seen across the federal government. The Pentagon has warned that it is losing its military technological superiority as other countries rush to develop advanced conventional and cyber weapons to counter U.S. armaments and satellites. The U.S. intelligence community worries that technologies it used to own almost exclusively — like high-resolution satellite imagery, encryption and biometrics — are progressing far more rapidly in the civilian world.

These appear to be symptoms of a widespread ailment that affects government contracting, say procurement experts. “Agency acquisition professionals are not focused on innovation,” says a new report by the consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP and the Professional Services Council, a trade group that represents government contractors.

The report is based on a survey of 51 acquisition executives. Asked to rank issues based on their importance, innovation placed low. It was rated as the fifth of six objectives of a “sound acquisition process” even though senior administration officials have been emphatic about the need for agencies to become more innovative.

“Innovation is the word of the day,” and yet the bulk of the federal acquisition community has neither the incentives nor the skills to change the status quo and attract innovative vendors, says Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1719

First-ever ‘state of the region’ address planned Feb. 2nd by SBA regional director

January 28, 2015 by

Cassius F. Butts, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s southeast region, plans to deliver an inaugural “State of the Region” address on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Georgia Tech Research Institute auditorium located at 250 – 14th Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30318.

The public is invited but advance registration is required not later than noon Friday, Jan. 30th.  Register here: http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=a7cd8351-179c-e411-87bc-02bfa56e2a24.

During this address, regional administrator Butts will highlight the achievements and success of the SBA and its resource partners over the past year, and will highlight the innovations planned by the SBA.

Welcoming remarks are scheduled to be delivered by the president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, G.P. “Bud” Peterson.

Interested parties also can stream this presentation live by using this link at the time of the event: http://live.media.gatech.edu/ei2

 

Small companies to take on bigger contracts under SBA proposed rule

January 28, 2015 by

A new rule proposed by the Small Business Administration could help small companies team up to go after larger government contracts.

“Projects in the federal procurement arena have gotten larger, more complex, and it’s become more difficult for individual small businesses to pursue these types of projects,” John Shoraka, associate administrator of government contracting and business at SBA, said on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin Tuesday.

SBA issued the proposed rule on Dec. 29, nearly a year after Congress passed the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization bill changing certain provisions in the Small Business Act.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/522/3784191/Small-companies-to-take-on-bigger-contracts-under-SBA-proposed-rule

Small businesses gain ground in contracting — here’s why

January 23, 2015 by

At the end of the year, Federal News Radio’s “Off the Shelf” explored “What’s it like in the GWAC world?” Featuring Rob Coen, acting director of NIH’s GWAC program, and Joyce Woytek, NASA’s SEWP program manager, the interview covered the current and future state of GWACs.

As they shared the increased success of small businesses, three approaches stood out: more stringent requirements for vetting small businesses up front; inclusion of all five socio-economic categories in the contracts; and the use of on-ramps. At Deltek we are seeing – or expect to see – these approaches incorporated as part of several highly anticipated programs to be solicited this year.

Increased Vetting

Asked what’s driving the success of small business awards on his programs, Mr. Coen explained that spending more time upfront vetting small businesses – which must meet more stringent requirements – has resulted in increased comfort for government buyers. In turn, they have seen more high-dollar value/complex procurements for set-asides.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/01/16/small-business-success/21859669/

About the author: Jennifer Sakole is the principal analyst for Federal Information Solutions at Deltek.

Small business contracting opportunities continue to expand

January 22, 2015 by

New and exciting small business contracting opportunities are out there – if you know where to look.

Under Federal Acquisition Subpart 19.5 (Set-Asides for Small Businesses), government purchases with an anticipated dollar value exceeding $3,000 (but not over $150,000) are automatically reserved for performance by qualifying small businesses.  For procurements over $150,000, the contract must be set-aside for exclusive small business performance when there is a reasonable expectation that offers will be received from at least two reasonable small business concerns at a fair market price.

Among these regulations is a little known stipulation that the set-aside requirements apply “only in the United States or its outlying areas.”  The extent of this limitation was recently put to the test in connection with a procurement involving both foreign and domestic chartering services that was set-aside for small business performance by the Department of the Navy, Military Sealift Command (MSC).

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=365930

FedBizOpps searches: Be thorough (or be out of luck)

January 21, 2015 by

If one type of FedBizOpps search does not turn up a solicitation, try a different search – or run the risk of missing the solicitation.

That is the message to contractors from a recent GAO bid protest decision, in which an offeror was unable to discover a VA opportunity by searching the “Place of Performance” field on FedBizOpps.  As it turned out, the solicitation would have popped up if the offeror had tried other types of FedBizOpps searches, and the GAO held that it was the offeror’s responsibility to more thoroughly attempt to locate the solicitation.

In The Creative Mobility Group, LLC, B-410380.2 (Dec. 19, 2014), the VA issued a request for quotations for home medical equipment services for patients of Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 medical facilities in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.  The VA posted the opportunity on the FedBizOpps website.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/fedbizopps-searches-be-thorough-or-be-out-of-luck/

Checklist for government contractors merging with or acquiring other contractors

January 20, 2015 by

Click here to download a checklist for government contractors merging with or acquiring other contractors.

Beware of Affordable Care Act phishing campaign

January 20, 2015 by

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued an alert about a phishing campaign purporting to come from a federal government agency. The phishing emails reference the Affordable Care Act in the subject line and claim to direct users to health coverage information, but instead direct them to sites which attempt to elicit private information or install malicious code.

US-CERT encourages users to take the following measures to protect themselves:

  • Do not follow links or download attachments in unsolicited email messages.
  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks Security Tip for additional information on social engineering attacks.

If affected by the campaign, users should report the incident to appropriate parties within their organization and notify US-CERT.

Vet admits fraud ‘in spades’ prompted $1.5M TX hospital contract

January 16, 2015 by

A Navy veteran has pleaded guilty to charges that he lied about his company’s qualifications to the Veterans Affairs Department to get $1.5 million in contracts for work at one of its hospitals.

Colorado resident Jonathan Patrick Saunders is president and co-owner of Saunders MEP Inc., which has been awarded government contracts around the country — including one for building construction projects at the VA Hospital in Kerrville, TX, which is at the center of his criminal case.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2013 on six counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. To avoid trial, he pleaded guilty Jan. 6th to one count of wire fraud.

The indictment said that when Saunders applied in March 2008 for the Kerrville contract, he claimed that his company qualified as a “service disabled veteran-owned small business,” that certain people with engineering or architectural qualifications worked for the company and that the company had done work on a previous project. In reality, his plea deal said, none of that was true, and Saunders now acknowledges pumping up the credentials of his company.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/article/Vet-admits-fraud-in-spades-prompted-1-5M-6000085.php

Announcing the first ‘Face of Manufacturing’ in Georgia

January 16, 2015 by

In November of 2014, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech announced a program to honor the hard-working, dedicated people throughout the state who work within or are affected by manufacturing companies. Today (Jan. 16, 2015), we are proud to reveal the first Face of Manufacturing.

Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia

She was taught to believe from a young age that if you work hard, you can do anything. From a welder on third shift to managing the human resources department for a company of 1,600, she has built a career in manufacturing.

Rhonda Beasley of Roper Corporation is the first Face of Manufacturing in Georgia. Click here for her story and a link to her video.