How one Navy contractor navigated Washington’s choppy waters

June 12, 2014 by

Raymond Lopez Jr. spent three decades in the Navy, starting out as a seaman apprentice and retiring with the rank of commander. When Lopez and his wife Carol started Engineering Services Network, a defense services company, in 1997, they built their business on Navy contracts, growing from a small start-up into a $38 million-a-year enterprise. Lopez felt like he had never really retired from the Navy.

But when the clouds of budget cuts gathered in Washington a few years ago, he realized it was time to move out of his comfort zone. The Crystal City company decided to diversify its business — a hot button word in defense contracting circles.

Back in 2004, ESN had worked on a $551,000 Air Force contract. Seven years later, when Lopez was looking to expand outside of Navy work, the connections established on that job helped the company win a crucial five-year, $38 million IT services contract with the Air Force.

The experience cemented Lopez’s decision to enter information technology. More than half of ESN’s business is still generated from providing engineering, operations and technical support services for the Navy, but federal IT jobs — managing tasks in cybersecurity and software development — now account for nearly 30 percent of its revenue. The company has worked with the Air Force, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/how-one-navy-contractor-navigated-washingtons-choppy-waters/2014/05/30/4cc6d0e6-e5c9-11e3-a86b-362fd5443d19_story.html

Limitations on subcontracting: 1099 contractor’s work didn’t count

June 11, 2014 by

Under the FAR’s limitations on subcontracting clause, the work to be performed by a 1099 independent contractor did not count toward the prime contractor’s performance.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a procuring agency properly rejected an offeror’s proposal because the offeror was relying, in part, on an independent contractor to meet its obligations under the limitations on subcontracting clause.

The GAO’s decision in MindPoint Group, LLC, B-409562 (May 8, 2014) involved a Department of Justice solicitation for information technology infrastructure support.  The proposal was issued as a set-aside for Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs), and incorporated FAR 52.219-14, the standard limitation on subcontracting clause.  For a services contract, FAR 52.219-14 requires the EDWOSB to perform at least 50 percent of the cost of contract performance incurred for personnel with its own employees.

MindPoint Group, LLC submitted a proposal.  MindPoint’s proposal stated that MindPoint would self-perform 53.3 percent of the contract effort using seven individuals, including an individual designated as the “Systems Administrator MS.”  However, MindPoint’s proposal included a letter of commitment stating that the Systems Administrator MS would be an “independent consultant,” and MindPoint’s price proposal referred to the individual as a “1099 Consultant.”

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/limitations-on-subcontracting-1099-contractors-work-didnt-count/

GAO: Emailed proposal in agency’s possession was not “late”

June 5, 2014 by

In a victory for common sense, the GAO has held that a proposal that was in the agency’s possession before the due date was not “late,” even though the offeror emailed the proposal to the agency instead of submitting it through an online portal.

The agency’s attempt to reject the proposal was particularly egregious because the agency told the protester that the proposal could be submitted by email — then rejected the proposal when the protester did just that.

The GAO’s decision in ICI Services, Inc., B-409231.2 (Apr. 23, 2014) involved a Navy task order solicitation for engineering support services.  The solicitation stated that offerors were required to submit their proposals through the Navy’s online Seaport-e portal.  However, the solicitation stated that if the Seaport-e portal was inaccessible, offerors were to immediately notify the agency.

After receipt of initial proposals, the agency opened discussions and asked offerors to submit final proposal revisions.  Because the Navy was having difficulty with its own Seaport-e portal, its email notice to offerors stated “[i]f you have any difficulties uploading your response in the Seaport-e portal, please email me the documentation.”

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/gao-emailed-proposal-in-agencys-possession-was-not-late/

 

These are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in May 2014

June 2, 2014 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?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) 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 the award winners for May 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – MAY 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

Companies seeking government contracts may turn attention to state and local markets

May 20, 2014 by

As competition for contracts with U.S. federal government agencies increases, companies that seek to maintain or increase their government sales may set their sights on states instead.

Indeed, this may already be happening: for one thing, more than 500 people attended the “How to Market to State Governments” conference held in March by the National Association of State Procurement Officials (“NASPO”), a record for the event.

While seeking new business opportunities is generally a good thing, contractors accustomed to the way things work at the federal level should understand that state-level procurements can be a very different game. Bid protests at the state level can be especially tricky, not only for disappointed bidders, but for awardees as well. Contractors should take certain proactive measures when participating in state-level procurements to secure their chances for award.

According to a 2012 NASPO survey, only six states had at that time completely adopted the Model Procurement Code developed by the American Bar Association.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/310810/Government+Contracts+Procurement+PPP/StateLevel+Procurements+Youre+Not+In+Kansas+Any+More+Unless+You+Happen+To+Be+Selling+To+Kansas&email_access=on

President’s budget request yields clues for contractors to follow

May 14, 2014 by

Analysis of the president’s budget request typically yields some interesting clues for anyone willing to go deep enough into the data to reveal them. The numbers reveal shifting agency priorities as well as hints to the sea changes that could affect the potential $608 billion in fiscal 2015 contract spending.

There are a number of areas that contractors should consider as they navigate the remainder of fiscal 2014 and plan for 2015:

1. Put on your game face for recompetes.

2. Keep an eye on the shelf life on IT funding.

3. Take advantage of 2014 to gain footing for 2015.

4. Expect more contractor scrutiny.

5. Follow the (Defense) money.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/deltek-budget-request-yields-clues-for-contractors-to-follow/2014/05/09/e249e1a0-d479-11e3-95d3-3bcd77cd4e11_story.html

The government’s duty of good faith and fair dealing

May 8, 2014 by

The long-standing principle that the federal government had the same implied duty of good faith and fair dealing as any commercial buyer was put in jeopardy by a 2010 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Precision Pine & Timber, Inc. v. U.S., 596 F.3d 817 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

There a panel of the court adopted a narrow rule seemingly limiting application of the principle to situations where a government action was “specifically targeted” at the contractor or had the effect of taking away one of the benefits that had been promised to the contractor.

Although the decision concerned a timber sales contract not a procurement contract, when I wrote it up in the May 2010 Nash & Cibinic Report (24 N&CR ¶ 22), I expressed the fear that the reasoning would be subsequently applied to procurement contracts.

My fear was realized in a construction contract case, Metcalf Construction Co. v. U. S., 102 Fed. Cl. 334 (2011). In that decision, the judge described eggregious conduct on the part of the government officials that would have been held to be a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing under many earlier cases.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/blog/47/entry-3042-the-governments-duty-of-good-faith-and-fair-dealing/ 

SBA: Women 8(a) applicants don’t need “smoking gun” bias evidence

May 6, 2014 by

A woman does not need to provide the SBA with “smoking gun” evidence of bias in order to be considered socially disadvantaged for purposes of her company’s application to the 8(a) program.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) sharply criticized the SBA’s evaluation of a woman-owned small business’s 8(a) application, holding that the SBA had improperly discounted evidence of bias, needlessly demanded that the woman provide irrelevant details, and made several other errors.

SBA OHA’s decision in Matter of Bartkowski Life Safety Corp., SBA No. BDPE-516 (2014) involved Bartkowski Life Safety Corporation’s 8(a) application.  Bartkowski initially applied to the program in January 2012.  Bartkowski asserted that its owner, Lauren Sustek, was socially disadvantaged on the basis of gender.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/8a-program/women-8a-applicants-dont-need-smoking-gun-evidence-of-bias-says-sba-oha/

These are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in April 2014

May 1, 2014 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?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) 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 the award winners for April 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – APRIL 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

Civil litigation can sink contractors

April 22, 2014 by

Most people picture high stakes civil litigation taking place in a courtroom where a party has the chance to persuade a judge or jury to validate or reject huge claims for damages.

But envision a different picture, one that takes place in a United States attorney’s office, where only an investigator is running the show, along with a prosecutor, a court reporter and a company’s ex-employee who was “in the know.”

Law enforcement is questioning this former worker under oath, on the record, about claims against a company in a sealed complaint. And this testimony could lead to treble damages. The company doesn’t know about this meeting or even that there is a complaint against it.

Welcome to the new front in high stakes False Claims Act litigation: civil investigative demands, or CIDs.

While the second scenario is not necessarily common place — usually companies eventually learn about an investigation or a whistleblower lawsuit — it can, and does, happen. Use of CIDs in False Claims Act investigations is increasing and defense contractors need to recognize the risks and implement best practices in the event a CID is served on one of its employees.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/April/Pages/CivilLitigationCanSinkContractors.aspx