Industry group wants President to rescind contractor crackdown order

March 6, 2015 by

President Obama should rescind an executive order that attempts to crack down on federal contractors who violate labor laws, according to a contracting group,

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, called The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order “unworkable” and detrimental to law-abiding companies while requiring contractors to fulfill an expensive and burdensome new regulatory requirement.

“Companies with pervasive, willful, and repeated violations of law should not be awarded federal contracts,” said Soloway. “However, as constructed, this E.O. is fundamentally unfair, vague, complex and in-executable. It will be costly, burdensome and is simply unnecessary.”

President Obama signed the executive order July 31, which requires federal contractors to disclose any labor law violations made over the last three years and for agencies to take that into account when awarding contracts.

Keep reading this article at: 

Georgia Tech launches financial technology accelerator

March 6, 2015 by

Worldpay will expand its commitment to accelerating payments technology innovation with a $1 million gift and mentorship commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), company and university officials announced Tuesday.

Worldpay will fully fund a new Financial Technology accelerator at ATDC for the next three years, which will include hiring a FinTech expert to serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor startups. Worldpay executives are also mentoring entrepreneurs at the center, providing both payments expertise and Worldpay’s global resources to support companies within the new program.

“As the leaders in modern money, Worldpay is creating new payments experiences for software and applications that business owners use to run their businesses smarter across all channels,” said Worldpay US President and CEO Tony Catalfano. “To sustain our competitive advantage, we must continue to innovate and attract top talent, both key drivers behind this groundbreaking partnership.”

“The ATDC has empowered scores of entrepreneurs to grow their ideas into successful companies,” added Catalfano, who also serves as the board chairman of the American Transaction Processors Coalition. “Our commitment is about investing in the smartest, most-creative innovators so the next generation of financial technology will be built right here in Georgia.”

“We are always focused on bringing businesses to our state, but we also want to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs to build their businesses right here in Georgia,” said Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. “This is a groundbreaking public-private partnership that will create jobs and help secure Georgia’s place as the country’s leader in financial technology for another generation. I congratulate Georgia Tech and Worldpay on this collaboration and look forward to seeing the results.”

The announced partnership underscores Georgia Tech’s statewide economic development mission.

“This gift from Worldpay will enhance the innovation ecosystem that is rapidly developing in Tech Square,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “We are fulfilling our mission to create new products that will foster new companies and job opportunities for all of Georgia.”

As a statewide startup incubator, ATDC is always looking at the technologies that are of interest to entrepreneurs in Georgia, said ATDC Director Stephen Fleming.

“Financial technology is important for us and the state because it’s a sector where Georgia is a leader,” added Fleming. “ATDC will use Worldpay’s gift and executive mentorship to ensure that Georgia stays at the cutting edge of FinTech.”

More than 70 percent of all U.S. payments are processed in Georgia’s “Transaction Alley,” according to the American Transaction Processors Coalition. More than 60 percent of the industry’s companies are based in metro Atlanta, supporting more than 40,000 jobs in the state.

Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of Worldpay’s announced relocation of its U.S. headquarters to Midtown Atlanta this year. The company will invest more than $10 million to move more than 600 employees to the city and add an additional 600 workers over the next four years.

About Worldpay

Worldpay is a leading global payments technology and services company, which allows merchants to accept payments anywhere in the world, across any channel. Headquartered in London and operating in over 30 countries, the company offers services across the entire payments value chain, including transaction capturing, merchant acquiring and transaction processing.

In 2014, the business processed a total of 10.7 billion transactions with a value of more than half a trillion dollars, making it one of the largest payments companies in the world. The company employs over 4,700 people in markets throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Worldpay US is headquartered in Georgia, and recently announced it will move its headquarters to Midtown Atlanta this year.

Worldpay is owned by private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital alongside management and employees. For additional information, visit Worldpay.com.

About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 23,000 students within its six colleges. For additional information, visit www.gatech.edu.

About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is one of the oldest and largest university-based startup incubators in the country. ATDC, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, has graduated about 150 companies from its program. ATDC is a unit of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm. For additional information, visit www.atdc.org.

Source: http://www.news.gatech.edu/2015/03/02/georgia-tech-launches-financial-technology-accelerator-atdc

Approximately 600 small contractors will lose their set-aside status in 2015 — and might not know it

March 5, 2015 by

Nearly 600 small businesses will lose a set-aside status in 2015 — and the Small Business Administration isn’t so sure they even realize it yet.

That was among the findings from a report released by the Government Accountability Office Feb. 13 assessing the SBA’s contracting program for small businesses located in designated, highly underutilized business zones, or HUBZones.

Areas are designated as HUBZones based on demographic data including unemployment and poverty rates. The problem, according to the GAO, is the SBA lacks an effective way to communicate program changes to small businesses that participate in the program, which allows them to bid on contracts set aside for small businesses located in HUBZones. And because areas can lose their qualifying status due to changes in economic conditions, resulting in a three-year transition period before the status is stripped entirely, communication with participating small businesses is crucial.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2015/02/approximately-600-small-contractors-will-lose.html?ana=lnk&page=all

Contracting success in a changing government environment

March 4, 2015 by

Behind many contracting issues today is the implied topic of who is or isn’t winning contract awards. In the private sector, it’s rare to attribute lack of business success to the customer. Certainly in a commercial market, industry success and failure is usually laid at the feet of company management and its ability to understand and meet market needs. Not so in government contracting.

Along with well-structured protest procedures, industry can and does appeal to government legislative representatives, investigatory bodies, contracting managers, trade groups, and agency leaders concerning any real or perceived unfair treatment before, during, or after contract performance. One regularly hears rationale that the buyer, not the seller, was at fault for lost business and revenue. It’s common practice, if not encouraged by government, for industry to openly critique customer policy, processes, strategy, requirements, and staff. These critiques include time of awards; market conditions; workforce training; communication; sensitivity to private sector concerns; selection methodology; risk mitigation; receipt of external advice (program, technical, incumbents, business, legal, trade groups, etc.); past performance criteria; and more. That’s the nature of an open and fair process.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/02/25/contracting-success-changing-government-environment/23993719/

Reforms to IGs, acquisition, FOIA included in POGO’s ‘Baker’s Dozen’ of congressional priorities

March 3, 2015 by

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) outlined 13 congressional priorities that would make the federal government more transparent, accountable and ethical in a new report.

POGO’s 2015 “Baker’s Dozen” includes areas for legislative reform as well as issues that would benefit from improved oversight, according to the Feb. 11 report.

Near the top of the group’s list is a call to make agency inspectors general more independent and accountable. POGO asks Congress to use legislation to clarify IG authorities and access to agency records, quickly fill IG vacancies and require more thorough responses from agencies on reports. The organization also calls out the Justice Department in particular, asking that the DOJ IG be given more authority to investigate misconduct by DOJ attorneys.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/reforms-igs-acquisition-foia-included-pogos-bakers-dozen-congressional-prio/2015-02-17

 

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in Feb. 2015

March 2, 2015 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) compiles and publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on Georgia federal contract award winners for February 2015 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – FEB. 2015

Georgia contract award winners last month are here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JANUARY 2015

To see award winners in calendar year 2014, see: http://gtpac.org/2015/01/here-are-the-georgia-companies-who-won-federal-contracts-in-2014 

GAO: ‘Mechanical’ cost realism evaluation was improper

February 27, 2015 by

An agency’s cost realism evaluation was improper because the agency “mechanically” compared an offeror’s proposed staffing to an undisclosed government estimate.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it was improper for the agency to apply its own estimates for labor hours and costs without considering the protester’s unique technical approach.

The GAO’s decision in CFS-KBR Marianas Support Services, LLC; Fluor Federal Solutions LLC, B-410586 et al. (Jan. 2, 2015) involved a Navy procurement for base operations support services.  The solicitation contemplated the award of a cost-reimbursement contract, which was to be awarded on a “best value” basis.  Among the evaluation factors, the Navy was to consider offerors’ proposed staffing and resources.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/gao-mechanical-cost-realism-evaluation-was-improper/

San Antonio businessman sentenced in VA contract fraud

February 26, 2015 by

San Antonio 71-year-old Jonathan Patrick Saunders, president of Saunders MEP, Inc., was sentenced last week to one year and one day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,494,000 restitution for defrauding the Department of Veterans Administration (VA) in connection with architectural and engineering contracts.

Justice Dept. sealOn January 6, 2015, Saunders pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.  By pleading guilty, Saunders admitted that over a period of five years beginning in March 2008, he knowingly provided fraudulent information to the VA in order to obtain up to $2 million in task orders from the VA for projects to be performed in and around San Antonio.

On Feb. 19, 2015, United States District Judge Orlando Garcia found that Saunders made false representations to the VA.  In his SF-330 “Architect-Engineer Qualifications” package, Saunders falsely represented that his business qualified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, that certain persons with particular qualifications worked for his firm, and that certain projects were completed by his firm.  Saunders used interstate wires to execute his fraud scheme.

This case was investigated by agents with the Office of Inspector Generals from the VA and the Small Business Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Thomas P. Moore prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Source: http://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx/pr/san-antonio-businessman-sentenced-va-fraud-scheme

America’s ‘largest seed fund’ is coming to Atlanta on Mar. 26th

February 25, 2015 by

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the “non-dilutive technology” funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Over the course of this year individual program managers from the 11 participating agencies representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding will embark on a 20-state road tour, participating in a series of events alongside technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the United States.

The SBIR Road Tour is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta on Thursday, March 26, 2015.

SBIR Road TourIf you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, researcher, or small technology firm, don’t miss this opportunity. Every SBIR Road Tour stop provides an in-depth understanding of agency technology funding priorities, and one-on-one meetings with high level decision makers.

The Atlanta event will be hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, located at 235 Andrew Young International Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

A featured speaker at the Atlanta event will be Connie Casteel of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).  Here’s what the Atlanta agenda looks like:

Atlanta SBIR Agenda 03.26.2015

To register for the Atlanta event, go to: http://www.metroatlantachamber.com/event-detail/event/2ff06708-2722-4062-bd4c-1de9e076376d

Other stops on the tour include:

  • Louisville, KY – Tuesday, March 24, 2015
  • Nashville, TN – Wednesday, March 25, 2015
  • Atlanta, GA – Thursday, March 26, 2015
  • Columbia, SC – Friday, March 27, 2015
  • Long Beach, MS – Monday, April 27, 2015
  • Ruston, LA -Tuesday, April 28, 2015
  • Oklahoma City, OK – Wednesday, April 29, 2015
  • Wichita, KS – Thursday, April 30, 2015
  • Columbia, MO – Friday, May 1, 2015
  • North Central Tour – the week of July 13th
    • Indianapolis, IN
    • Chicago, IL
    • Iowa City, IA
    • Omaha, NE
    • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Pacific Northwest – the week of August 17th
    • Seattle, WA
    • Portland, OR
    • Boise, ID
    • Missoula, MT

For more information, visit: http://www.sbirroadtour.com.

VA holding webinars on VOSB verification process

February 24, 2015 by

The Veterans Administration’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) is hosting training for interested Service-Disabled Veteran Owned and Veteran Owned Small Businesses on different aspects of the verification process.

VA sealAt the conclusion of these training sessions, CVE will host a Town Hall on the Verification Program to solicit feedback from participants.

The two featured webinars are:

  • Pre-Application Brief Webinar: Designed for firms interested in knowing more about CVE’s Veteran’s First Program and the Verification Process.   Dates Conducted: Last Tuesday of the month (starting March 2015).
  • Reverification Training Webinars: Designed for firms whose verification status is set to expire.  CVE encourages firms to participate in BOTH training sessions for the most comprehensive re-verification overview. Dates Conducted: Part 1: Re-verification Overview – 1st Tuesday of the month; Part 2: Uploading Documents – 3rd Tuesday of the month.

The times and schedule for the next webinars are:

CVE Schedule

Participation in all webinar/town hall online events is voluntary. If you would like more information, would like to register, or are unable to attend during your firm’s scheduled expiration month, please contact CVE via email at vog.avnull@sfeirBPPA-ERPEVC.UBDSOAV.  In your correspondence, please include your business name, DUNS number, your firm’s expiration date (if you have it), and what month you are interested in attending.