May 18, 2013 by cs
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.
Presentations from Apr. 8th US Fish & Wildlife’s small business conference now available for download
May 17, 2013 by cs
On April 8, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsored a small business outreach event at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
A total of 209 business people from 30 counties across the state of Georgia registered for the event, hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). 188 of the 209 registrants are active GTPAC clients.
This day-long event began with presentations by officials from the Fish & Wildlife Service as well as representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, USDA’s Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
Federal officials briefed the businesses in attendance on their upcoming contracting opportunities, small business initiatives, and available resources.
The event’s afternoon activities consisted of one-on-one appointments between the attendees and contracting representatives from the federal agencies. Because each appointment consisted of 15 minutes, this activity was referred to as “speed partnering.” In all, 144 apppointments were conducted in a three-hour period.
Conducted concurrently with the speed partnering activity was a GTPAC workshop on the topic of “Preparing Succesful Bids and Proposals.”
Copies of all presentations are now posted on the GTPAC website. You can download and view them at: http://gtpac.org/training/training-video.
May 14, 2013 by cs
Federal, state and local government agencies frequently host trade shows or expos to publicize their contract opportunities and attract new vendors. Wonder whether you should attend a government-sponsored business expo? What should you expect if you go? How should you prepare? Are you disappointed in the last trade show you attended?
These are the kinds of questions often posed by clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Fundamentally, businesses want to know how they can gain a competitive advantage by attending an event sponsored by a government agency. The answer lies as much in preparation and follow-up as it does in actual attendance.
GTPAC Counselors believe these kinds of events are what you make them. If you go to just listen, you may come away disappointed. If, on the other hand, you go to make something happen, you can come away with some good contacts,valuable insights, and solid business leads.
Here are a few tips …
- Establish some objectives for yourself – what do you hope to accomplish by attending? State this in concrete, quantifiable terms.
- Think about the specific kinds of opportunities you want to go after and be prepared to explain how you represent the solution to the government’s contracting objectives.
- Identify who is going to be in attendance and research in advance as much as you can about who will be there and those persons you want to meet. Think about why they are going to the show and what they want to accomplish there – align yourself with their objectives.
- Familiarize yourself with all details of the show so that you can envision how you are going to use the structure of the show to accomplish your objectives.
- Be prepared with marketing materials, including business cards, brochures and/or product/service fact sheets, product samples/portfolio, and a detailed capabilities statement. (Don’t have a capabilities statement? See our article on this subject here.) Tailor at least one of your handouts to the expo or show itself.
- Be prepared to talk about pricing. You may not need to, but be prepared just in case someone asks.
- Begin to envision how your competitors at the show can be potential partners as a result of the show.
- Develop and be prepared to deliver a 30-second “elevator speech” which explains in layman’s terms exactly what you are an expert at doing. Don’t be shy to explain what’s special about your company and why your products/services are the best. (If you need help constructing an elevator speech, see our article at http://gtpac.org/2010/07/whats-an-elevator-pitch-and-why-you-need-one.)
- Remember that buyers don’t have time to waste. Buyers want specific information, and buyers want to know what’s special about you (that’s your competitive advantage).
- Preparation is essential. It’s better not to go than to go unprepared – you never have a second chance to make a good first impression.
- Dress to impress. And wear comfortable shoes!
- At the show, listen to how your competitors are selling themselves and learn as much about their marketing as possible. Also learn from their mistakes.
- Understand that follow-up after the show is critical. Gather all the business cards you collected, write follow-up notes or emails – promptly. Set-up follow-up meetings/conference calls, if possible and appropriate. Send more marketing materials.
- Write yourself a report on lessons-learned. Review this report before planning to participate in another event.
Your GTPAC Counselor will be glad to elaborate on this topic and provide you with additional advice. You can find our contact information right here.
© 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
May 13, 2013 by cs
The U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Small Utilization invites you to attend an informative, two-hour webinar on May 22, 2013 on the topic of “Doing Business with GSA.”
Here’s your chance to learn the “federal business ropes” – from marketing to promoting sustainability!
GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization advocates on behalf of small, minority, veteran, HUBZone, and women business owners. This webinar will focus on the steps to “Doing Business with GSA” through contracting options, sustainability, and more:
- GSA’s procurement policies and methods
- Accessing government solicitations
- Marketing your products/services
- GSA Schedules Program Pros and Cons
- GSA Mentor Protege Program
- GSA and Sustainability
The webinar will be held Wednesday, May 22, from 9:30 to 11:30 am EST.
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/951699663
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the webinar.
For additional information, please contact Janice Bracey at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 1, 2013 by cs
The National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) is holding its annual Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) for the 3rd consecutive year at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno, Nevada, on June 10-13, 2013.
VETS2013 will assemble more than 500 stakeholders to discuss how to take full advantage of federally-mandated contracting opportunities specifically for veteran-owned small businesses. The event includes representatives from the veteran small business community, federal agencies, and prime contractors who exchange knowledge and business opportunities in the classroom, the exhibit hall, and in the one-on-one business sessions.
Complete conference details, including registration information, can be found at http://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com.
You also can follow conference and sponsor developments at:
April 15, 2013 by cs
NOTE: This event is now full and no further registrations are being taken. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a unit of the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), is holding a small business outreach event in Atlanta on May 3, 2013. The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center is acting as the host for this event.
This will be a day-long event, beginning with presentations by officials from Health and Human Services, the CDC and other agencies regarding their upcoming contracting opportunities, small business initiatives, and available resources. The afternoon will consist of appointments between attendees and representatives of the following agencies: CDC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
Registration for this event is now open. Due to space limitations, YOU MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE IN ORDER TO ATTEND. Click here to register: http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/ConferenceDetail.action?ID=7550.
This small business outreach event is being held by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and features participation by several additional federal agencies. This is a day-long event, begins with presentations by officials from Health and Human Services, the CDC and other agencies regarding their upcoming contracting opportunities, small business initiatives, and available resources.
The afternoon consists of 20-minute appointments between attendees and representatives of the following agencies: CDC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration. Appointment-setting with individual agencies will be done in advance, but only after initial registration (using the link above). On or about April 24, 2013, each registrant will be emailed another link to accomplish the appointment-setting.
There will be a limit to the number of appointments each person may set. In addition to the appointments, training sessions will be going on throughout the afternoon.
Networking begins at 8:00 am. Presentations begin at 8:30 am and last until noon. Lunch on your own; box lunches will be available for purchase.
This event is being held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Conference Center, located at 250 – 14th St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. There is free parking in the deck adjacent to the GTRI Conference Center.
April 2, 2013 by cs
On March 29, 2013, the Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech wrapped up a highly successful four-week course for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, La.
Entitled “FAR Fundamentals,” the course covers all 53 chapters and 2,000 pages of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR is the federal government’s contracting rule book.
The Corps of Engineers contracted with the Academy to train 12 of its project and office engineers who are in charge of managing construction contractors in the New Orleans district. The engineers engaged the Academy because they want to become more adept at correctly interpreting and applying federal contracting rules.
“Construction engineers play an important role by interfacing with both the contracting office and individual contractors,” explained Donna Bertrand, the Academy’s program manager. “In addition to making sure that the work is being performed correctly, they act as the contracting office’s eyes and ears in the field.” Bertrand managed the course implementation during the entire four weeks, including the administration of 12 quizzes and four exams.
The Academy, an official equivalency training provider for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), adapted the FAR Fundamentals course to the Corps’ needs by developing training exercises and materials around real-life scenarios.
“The FAR is an extremely detailed and complicated subject matter,” said Chuck Schadl, group manager for government contracting services. “In presenting this course, we used every creative approach we could think of to hold the students’ interest and enable learning.”
Some of the teaching techniques utilized included:
- Creation of a deck of 53 playing cards, corresponding with each of the FAR’s 53 chapters, enabling students to use them as flash cards to learn the FAR’s structure and parts.
- Using games – adapted from the board game “Scattergories” and the TV show “Jeopardy”— to stimulate student participation in the classroom, encourage competition, and help students prepare for testing.
- Introduction of special web page of contracting resources – consisting of templates, case studies, and other electronic tools – created exclusively for the Corps’ students.
- Providing small prizes –Georgia Tech memorabilia — to reward student accomplishments at key points in the course.
- Daily review of contracting news items to illustrate the importance of the acquisition profession and why it’s necessary to stay current.
The Academy’s lead instructor for this course was Clarence Roberts, a retired DAU professor and former federal contracting officer. Clarence’s instructional style is lively and engaging, and students frequently stated their appreciation for his willingness to listen to different approaches to contracting. “We try to instill in students the fact that, while the FAR may have a rule for everything, there frequently is more than one correct way to handle contracting situations,” Roberts pointed out.
Students of the FAR Fundamentals course earn 13.3 Continuing Education Units, or 133 Continuous Learning Points, that can be used to satisfy federal training requirements.
“We hope that this will be only the first of many more on-site engagements where we bring the Academy’s coursework to government agencies,” Bertrand concluded. “In this time of budget austerity, agencies are looking for ways to trim travel budgets, especially.”
For more details on the Academy, including the courses and services offered, please see www.ContractingAcademy.gatech.edu.
Shown below: The Academy’s instructors and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ officials celebrate completion of the four-week FAR Fundamentals class.
February 13, 2013 by cs
Starting in May 2013, The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech will offer a new course focusing on the Fundamentals of Cost & Price Analysis in government contracting.
This comprehensive, two-week course begins with an in-depth review of the market research process, and provides instruction to help students understand and analyze contractor pricing strategies.
Attendees will learn to accomplish cost-volume-profit analysis, calculate contribution margin estimates, and develop cost estimating relationships in order to accomplish an effective price analysis pursuant to FAR Subpart 15.4.
After learning the basic elements of price and cost analysis, students will build and defend a pre-negotiation objective, including a minimum and maximum pricing objective with a weighted guidelines assessment. After successfully defending their pricing objectives, the students will practice face-to-face negotiations.
This course is targeted toward new hires to the contracting career field. For government contractors, this course also provides valuable insights into the government contracting decision-making process.
Student performance is assessed by graded exams on math fundamentals and applied course material as well as an exercise for student participation and completion of negotiations.
CON 170 – Fundamentals of Cost & Price Analyis is Defense Acquisition University-equivalent training that satisfies the FAC-C and DAWIA certification programs.
For more information or to register, please visit: http://www.pe.gatech.edu/courses/con-170-fundamentals-cost-and-price-analysis
January 30, 2013 by cs
The 2013 edition of Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide, An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling to Governments and Corporations, is now available to GTPAC clients at no charge!
Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is a primer designed to help small business owners and decision makers understand the government procurement and private sector procurement spaces. The Guide provides an overview of government and corporate markets with an emphasis on who buys and how buying decisions are made. The Guide also presents “next step” resources for federal and state governments and the private sector.
Topics covered by the Guide include:
- Selling to the federal government/state governments
- Selling to large corporations
- Selling to foreign governments and international organizations
- “Green” procurement
- Special resources for Women-, Minority, and Veteran-owned businesses
- A glossary of procurement related terms, a procurement preparation checklist, information about teaming agreements and joint ventures, and more.
Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is published and copyrighted by Braddock Communications, Inc. This special PDF edition of Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is available at no charge to you thanks to the generous support of Microsoft Corporation.
Download the Guide here: https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=PUBPOG
January 29, 2013 by cs
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center provides help to businesses located in Georgia. But what if your business is loacted in another state — is there help available for you, too?
The answer is yes! There are what are known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) located in all 50 states, and each one is in business to provide assistance to businesses on how to identify, compete for, and win government contracts.
You can find the complete list of PTACs nationwide at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php. On this web site, just select a state or click on the map to find complete details on the PTAC nearest you.