April 24, 2014 by cs
Five California-based masonry subcontractors and two individuals paid the government nearly $1.9 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting their disadvantaged small business status in connection with military construction contracts, the Department of Justice announced on April 9, 2014. The defendants are Frazier Masonry Corp., F-Y Inc., CTI Concrete & Masonry Inc., Masonry Technology Inc., Masonry Works Inc., Russell Frazier and Robert Yowell.
“This settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the military do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “Among the rules that military contractors and subcontractors must follow are those relating to the use and hiring of small businesses.”
The case involved contracts to construct facilities at Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif. Under the rules of the Small Business Administration, the contracts required that a certain percentage of the work be performed by disadvantaged small businesses. This contract requirement was intended to benefit small firms owned by women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups.
The government alleged that the defendant masonry subcontractors and their principals misrepresented to the prime contractors that they were small businesses, and that these misrepresentations caused the prime contractors to falsely certify that they had complied with the small business provisions of the contracts in claiming payment. Russell Frazier previously pleaded guilty in related criminal proceedings to causing false statements.
The settlement resolves allegations filed in two lawsuits by Rickey Howard, a former employee of Frazier Masonry Corp., in federal court in Raleigh, N.C. The lawsuits were filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case. Howard will receive $393,383.
The cases are captioned United States ex rel. Howard v. Harper Construction Co., et al., Case No. 7:12-CV-215-D (E.D.N.C.) and United States ex rel. Howard v. RQ Construction LLC, et al., Case No. 7:13-CV-48-D (E.D.N.C.). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. More details at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/April/14-civ-357.html.
April 17, 2014 by cs
The General Services Administration (GSA) failed to assess the negative impact that the Office Supplies 3 (OS3) strategic sourcing contract would have on small businesses, a Small Business Administration (SBA) analysis says.
Under the Small Business Act, agencies must determine whether new consolidated contracts would negatively affect small businesses, and the SBA is tasked with making sure the agencies execute the determination properly.
SBA undertook the analysis at the Government Accountability Office’s request after several small businesses protested to the OS3 request for proposals, saying GSA failed to look into the economic consequences of the businesses who don’t receive an OS3 award. FedNewsRadio posted a copy (pdf) April 7.
In response to the protests, GSA argued that the OS3 contract is a follow-on contract to the OS2 and not a consolidated contract. GSA also said it’s “contrary to law” to provide an economic analysis on the negative impacts a consolidate contract would have on small businesses.
SBA disagrees on both points.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/sba-says-gsa-failed-assess-negative-impact-os3-small-businesses/2014-04-08
April 14, 2014 by cs
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Shoultz, president of Florida-based Frazier Engineering.]
For more than 20 years, Frazier Engineering had a strong commercial and municipal/county government customer base that comfortably sustained our small business.
But as the economy changed, we knew we had to change.
We decided to pursue unique certifications that would enable us to compete for federal work in a smaller competitive pool certifications such as 8(a), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/DBE and Minority Business Enterprise/MBE).
Through the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, we were given opportunities that we would not have had before. However, if we did not already have the knowledge and manpower to support the requirements of those opportunities, our certification would only have been as good as the paper it was printed on. Our success to date has been the result of a solid team, being financially and technically sound, having a strong work history, and being actively responsive.
I’d like to share some lessons we’ve learned over time.
As a small-to-midsize, growing business leader, I would definitely recommend the time and effort involved in pursuing government contracts.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/04/01/business-money-edge-chamber/7146529/
April 1, 2014 by cs
Members of the House Small Business Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of several revisions to the Small Business Administration’s new budget proposal, with several lawmakers criticizing the agency for committing too much money to new, unproven programs and too little to fulfilling its underlying responsibilities to small employers.
“By necessity, budgets require hard choices,” Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during a brief markup of the budget on Tuesday. “To the extent that the SBA… budget request makes hard choices, they ultimately make them in the wrong place.”
Democrats and Republicans on the panel agreed on revisions that would trim $50 million from the agency’s $710 million budget proposal that was published earlier this month as part of the president’s broader spending blueprint. The committee’s recommendations now move to the House Budget Committee for review.
SBA officials maintain that the proposal would ensure that employers have the resources they need to start and grow their businesses, and it would give the department the resources it needs to expand important exporting, capital access and other educational programs. On the agency’s blog earlier this month, Marianne Markowitz, the agency’s acting administrator, said the plan “builds on SBA’s proven track record of assisting America’s small businesses.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/house-committee-rips-sba-for-unauthorized-pilot-programs-contracting-woes/2014/03/26/15f84f80-b433-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html
March 19, 2014 by cs
On April 14, small and mid-sized manufacturers across Central Georgia will have the opportunity to grow their business.
Georgia Tech, the Georgia Small Business Development Center, and the Center of Innovation are sponsoring an all-day conference in Macon to enable manufacturers and suppliers:
- Meet with large manufacturers that have an interest in expanding their supplier network.
- Have discussions around sub-contract opportunities, diversifying your business, exporting, and more.
This event is free and will take place on April 14, 2014 (from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at Middle Georgia State College in Macon.
For more information, please click here: Supplier Development Conference April 14 2014 Middle Georgia State College Macon
Advance registration is required. Register at http://tinyurl.com/p9ftj9z
March 19, 2014 by cs
The Gwinnett County Purchasing Division will host the 8th Annual Supplier Symposium on April 30, 2014, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet buyers and contracting officers from the County’s Purchasing Division and other metro Atlanta agencies and take advantage of networking opportunities designed to create relationships. This year the Symposium will be interactive with Department and Purchasing staff and will provide the opportunity to acquaint potential suppliers with the County’s procurement procedures.
For more information about the event and to register, visit the following link and register to “Save the Date April 30, 2014” for the Gwinnett County Purchasing Symposium:
March 18, 2014 by cs
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program helps small business get bonded. If you wish to learn about this program, you are invited to participate in a free, live webinar on Thursday, April 17, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:00 am EDT.
This webinar is ideal for small businesses with:
- Limited financial resources
- No prior bonded work experience
- Been in business less than three years
- Desire to increase your current bonding capacity
The webinar will cover Contract Bonds, including:
- What they are and why they are required
- How to get pre-qualified
- Working capital and bank support
The webinar also will provide complete information about SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program, including:
- Program eligibility
- Required information
- Application process and fees
Advance registration is required. Please register online at http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=9a6d088f-24b1-e311-abc5-02bfa56e2a24
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – 11 am
Internet: https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/meet/?ExEventID=87462470 (copy the link into your browser to attend).
Phone: 888-858-2144 and then enter meeting code 7462470# to connect by phone.
Prepare in advance for the conference at: https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/Prepare
For more information please contact Ms. Melanie Bryant at 404-331-0100, ext. 603 or email@example.com.
March 17, 2014 by cs
You probably thought it was tough being a small contractor before lowest price contracting, strategic sourcing, and the budget crunch, right?
Well, add on to those conditions that primes are giving less business to subs and that fewer contracts overall are being awarded.
What’s a small contractor to do?
Here are a few things you need to do, and some things you need to consider.
First, differentiate or die. Understand what your core strength is (preferably one the market wants) and lead with it. HingeMarketing.com has some really good information on differentiation and I will produce a seminar on differentiation in June. Understand how it is done and how it is communicated.
Second, understand how the government buys what you sell. Many assume a GSA schedule is the gateway, but this is not always the case, and is becoming less so. The schedules are not growing, and GSA is restricting the number of vendors on several schedules. Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition has been pushing simplified acquisitions (SAP) for a couple years. Maybe it’s time to take a good look at other contractual vehicles.
Third, determine the path of least resistance for growth. If you have a foothold in one agency, it is always better to grow your business where they know you rather than to chase the rainbow of other agencies. It is always easier to sell where you and your company are known, and most federal agencies are large enough for you to expand your foothold into a strong base.
Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2014/03/14/insights-amtower-small-biz.aspx
March 10, 2014 by cs
The House Small Business Committee has marked up and approved a six-pack of contracting reform bills, including legislation that would raise the current agency goals for steering work to small businesses.
The package approved Wednesday would particularly affect the construction industry, women, and disabled veterans. It includes a plan to raise agencies’ small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent goal for small-business subcontractors.
“Greater small business involvement in federal contracting benefits companies and taxpayers alike,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., who sponsored the bill outlining the new contracting goals. “Small firms are innovative, and increased competition often leads to savings for the taxpayers.”
A second Grave bill would “improve transparency and accountability” by discouraging bundling of contracts to give an advantage to large companies over small businesses. Bills sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., would restrict the government’s use of reverse auctions in awarding construction contracts and increase construction companies’ access to surety bonds for use in federal procurement work.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/03/committee-approves-bill-increase-agencies-small-biz-contracting-goals/80023
March 3, 2014 by cs
Agencies have not met the governmentwide goal of awarding at least 23 percent of all prime contracts to small businesses since 2006.
Despite that, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, believes it’s time to raise the goal.
Graves introduced legislation last Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2014) to increase the percentage of contracts that are mandated to go to small firms to 25 percent, which equates to about $10 billion more a year for these companies.
The Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2014 would create a goal for agencies to ensure 40 percent of all subcontract awards go to small businesses, increasing from 35.9 percent. The bill also would require that only prime contract awards can count toward the prime contract goal.
Graves introduced the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act of 2014 last week.
This bill will try to bring more data and transparency to how agencies bundle contracts.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/65/3570622/Rep-Graves-tries-again-to-increase-small-business-contracting-goals