What I heard at the Procurement Academy

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority

Falls Church, Virginia – The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is holding a series of free seminars around the subject of Procurement and Marketing to federal, state, and local government agencies.  The title of this particularly procurement academy workshop was called, “Marketing and Selling to the Federal Government”.  These are my notes:

Speakers:

  • Sharon Jones, Director of Small Business Programs for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
  • Lisa Grant, Chief Procurement Officer for the U.S. House of Representatives (House.gov)
  • Gerald Gordon, PhD, CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
  • Ken Deutsch, Executive Vice President of CSRA’s Defense Group
  • Diane Dempsey, Director of Socio-Economic Business programs at BAE Systems Intelligence & Security Sector
  • Wayne Pizer, Executive Director of Small Business as CACI
  • Michael Townsend, Senior Director for Small Business Development and Utilization at SAIC
  • Carla Undurraga, Manager of Global Supplier Diversity Program for Northrop Grumman Technology Services Sector

Noteworthy:

Lisa Grant, House of Representatives

  • IT solutions are the largest line item on their budget
  • The CIO is the primary customer for IT for House of Representatives
  • Second largest line item is temporary support – subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • Also large on their budget is training
  • The House doesn’t comply, necessarily, with the FAR. Not bound by the FAR.
  • Although, the FAR did form the basis of their procurement regulations
  • They put announcements on FBO but direct vendors to eBuy
  • Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) 70 is a primary vehicle for them
  • For contracts under $70,000, they only need one quote from GSA FSS Schedule 70
  • For contracts over $70,000, they need 3 quotes from the GSA FSS Schedule 70
  • The House no longer has an approved vendor list like they used to have 10 years ago
  • They review your CPARs and D&B for past performance and financial security
  • Know your local Representative – they often require contracts in their districts
  • Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is a separate, sister organization with own procurement

Sharon Jones, DISA

  • They are not meeting their HUB zone goals. But they want to divert contract in this direction
  • Great opportunities for woman-owned and service disabled veteran businesses
  • Actively seeking innovative companies on cutting edge that perform R&D
  • Innovation is the theme of DISA’s 2017 initiatives
  • You must be “procurement ready”
  • Know the FAR
  • Have your capability statements
  • Have your staffing and staffing strategy in place
  • Vendors should research agencies and know their total budgets, not just percentages
  • DISA frequently buys for NAICS codes 51 and 54
  • Get and read the DISA Office of Small Business Programs Guide to Marketing to DISA
  • Attend the DISA orientation
  • Security clearances take about 10 days, so start early if you want to meet with DISA
  • You will need a cat card, pink contractor ID, or military ID to get onto DISA without prior clearance
  • Attend AFCEA conferences and luncheons

Diane Dempsey, BAE

  • Do your homework on agencies, bureaus, contracts, and opportunities
  • When you go to a prime to talk about teaming, have a specific opportunity in mind
  • Knowledge is power, provide relevant information to potential teaming partners that they didn’t know
  • You should have intimate knowledge of an opportunity to be taken seriously
  • Your website should feature your capabilities, customers, case studies, past performance
  • Less is more, keep the content down
  • Nobody cares about your mission, don’t blab about it, don’t waste time or space on your mission
  • When networking, if somebody asks you for something, be responsive, speed is important
  • When networking, be honest – if you can’t deliver, let them know.
  • Your financial health is very important to clients, customers, and teaming partners
  • You need a 5 year strategy, particularly if you plan to do cleared work requiring clearances
  • Use tools like GovWin, FBDS, and DACIS to get market intelligence
  • Leverage the George Mason University PTAC – they are here to help you
  • You need an electronic capabilities statement that you can email and can be forwarded
  • Ensure your rates are competitive – look around and do your homework
  • There is a 15 day requirement to pay small business prime contractors
  • Submit your invoices correctly and on time if you want to get paid on time
  • Following billing processes to the letter and in accordance with their instructions
  • Get a good accountant, have your financial statements in order
  • Have a good banking relationship, get a line of credit
  • Get a good attorney, because you will have problems.  Also, read contracts before you sign them.
  • Have a good contracts professional who knows the FAR
  • Study your teaming agreements, particularly the terms and conditions non payments

Gerald Gordon, FCEDA

  • Fairfax County contributes approximately 24% of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s total budget
  • Northern Virginia contributes approximately 44$ of Virginia’s total budget
  • The Fairfax County Economic Development authority has a vested interest in our success because businesses and the commercial real estate that businesses use are a significant contributor to the budget – hence the free procurement and marketing workshops
  • The purpose of the seminar it so help local businesses grow, hire, rent, and buy commercial real estate – and pay taxes 🙂
  • Jobs are plentiful in Fairfax County – it is a great place to be if you are looking for work

Upcoming workshops in the Procurement Academy series include:

  • March – Women-Owned Businesses
  • April – Global Markets
  • May – Fairfax County Government opportunities
  • June – Government contracting tools