October 5, 2010 by ei2admin
In the next few weeks and months there are many government-sponsored conferences being held to attract small businesses to, and inform small businesses of, government agencies’ upcoming contracting opportunities.
Toward the end of this article, you’ll see a list of many government-related vendor conferences coming up, along with details on how to register.
But before jumping right into that list, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) suggests you take a few preparatory steps. After all, it’s important that you make a sound decision about whether it’s worth the time, effort, and expense to attend a particular vendor conference.
First of all, small businesses should make no mistake about it: government agencies may need you more than you need them. Federal agencies are under the gun to ensure that small businesses — including 8(a) firms, companies in HUBZones, service disabled veteran owned small businesses, and others such as women-owned businesses at the subcontract level — get their share of the “contract spend.” Keep in mind that the federal government is nearing the end of its fiscal year (Sept. 30th), so there is money to be spent before then, and small business goals to be met. That’s why agencies host conferences — to demonstrate that they are reaching out to the small business community — and that may be why there are always so many government events scheduled toward the end of each year.
Does that mean that you should attend as many governmental vendor conferences as you can, and that by attending, contracts will begin to fall in your lap? Hardly.
From GTPAC’s perspective, government-sponsored vendor conferences run the gamut in value. Some are well-organized, featuring details on specific, upcoming opportunities as well as access to the decision-makers. Other conferences, however, can be disappointing, consisting of little more than “a dog and pony show.”
So how do you select a good conference to attend? How do you reduce the risk that you’ll be attending a conference that has little value to you?
There are several things you should do before deciding to go to a government-sponsored vendor event. Here is a checklist:
1. Research the conference sponsoring agency’ s forecasted contract opportunities. Look for the sponsoring agency’s annual procurement forecast on that agency’s website. Use www.google.com/unclesam and type in the name of the federal agency and “procurement forecast.” (If that search fails to produce the results you need, check https://www.acquisition.gov/comp/procurement_forecasts/index.html.) One thing for sure, before you attend an event, you want to make sure the sponsoring agency buys what you sell.
2. Find out what contract opportunities will be the subject of the conference. Even if an agency buys what you sell, you’ll want to make sure that will be the focus of the conference. Look in the conference announcement — see if the agency identifies specific goods and services that will be the focus of the conference. Are the NAICS codes for future contracts identified, and do they match-up with yours?
3. Determine whether you’ll get access to decision-makers. Look for opportunities to meet one-on-one with the people who make the buying decisions. Good vendor conferences will provide you with the opportunity to meet, on an appointment basis during the event, with agency contracting officials. See if you can make appointments as a part of the registration process or whether such opportunities exist on-site at the event. Think outside the box: If you arrive early — or stay late — will you be able to spend time with the people who award contracts?
4. Once you select a conference, prepare yourself. Remember, only one-third of the “action” occurs at the event itself. You should spend the first third of your time preparing to attend. And another third should be spent in follow-up, after the event. If you are not prepared to make this much of an investment of your time, maybe you shouldn’t attend. To help you prepare, attend, and follow-up, we recommend you read our detailed article at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/05/14-tips-for-attending-a-government-expo-or-trade-show. 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.
Now, what you have been waiting for: The information about upcoming government vendor shows. Here they are:
- Public Health Preparedness Summit – February 22-25, 2011 – Atlanta, GA – Details at; http://www.phprep.org/2011.
- National Recreation and Park Association Congress & Exposition – November 1 – 4, 2011 – Atlanta, GA – Details to be announced.
2010 Conferences (Upcoming)
- GSA Schedules Contract Training- December 13 and November 15, 2010 – On-Line Webinar - Register for the Nov. 15 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/670264562; Register for the Dec. 13 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/913141458.
- Aerospace Industry Committee (AIC) 8th Annual Requirements Symposium – November 16 – 18, 2010 – Perry, GA – Details at: http://www.wrcoc-aic.org/Page8.aspx.
- Department of Defense “Industry Day” focusing on the shipbuilding industry along the Gulf Coast - November 9, 2010 – Biloxi, MS – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/3rd-Annual-DoD-Shipbuilding-Industry-Day-Nov-9-2010.pdf
- The Governmental Purchasing Association of Georgia’s annual Georgia Vendor Exhibitor Fair - November 2-3, 2010 – Perry, GA – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/GPAG-Vendor-Fair-Nov-2-3-2010-Perry-GA.pdf
- 4th Annual SDVOSB/VOSB/SB Conference & Match Making Expo – October 28 – 29, 2010 – Tampa, FL – Details at: http://www.dm.usda.gov/osdbu/FBOAnnouncement_13Aug2010.pdf.
- Small Biz Contractors’ Forum Presents: Contacts & Contracts – October 27, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at: http://www.nasbc.org/contacts-contracts-georgia.
- City of Albany Small Business Procurement Program Kick-Off & Orientation – October 18, 2010 – Albany, GA – Details at: http://gtpac.org/2010/10/city-of-albanys-small-business-program-kick-off-set-for-oct-18.
- University System of Georgia – South Georgia Regional Procurement Expo 2010 – October 15, 2010 – Savannah, GA – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Univ.-System-of-GA-Procurement-Expo-Oct.-15-2010.pdf.
2010 Conferences (Previously Held – Resources Posted)
- National SBIR Beyond Phase II Conference & Technology Showcase - September 13 – 17, 2010 – San Antonio, TX – Details at: https://www.beyondphaseii.com/index.aspx.
- Effective Problem Solving – Life’s Most Important Skill - September 9, 2010 – On-Line Webinar - details at: https://mep-nist-events.webex.com/mep-nist-events/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=997194952
- Annual U.S. Army Infantry Warfighting Conference – September 13 – 16, 2010 – Columbus, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/09/army-vendor-showcase-in-columbus-ga-in-sept.
- GSA’s Public Buildings Service Educational and Matchmaking Conference – August 31, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/08/gsa-to-host-public-buildings-service-vendor-conference-aug-31st - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/training/training-video.
- Air Force Information Technology Conference - August 30-31, 2010 – Montgomery, AL – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/07/air-force-to-host-it-vendors-in-montgomery-al.
- Clayton County (GA) Business Community Meeting- August 26, 2010 – Jonesboro, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Clayton-County-Business-Community-Meeting-Aug.-26-2010.pdf.
- Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference – August 25-27, 2010 – Washington, DC – Details at MEDWeek flyer - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.medweek.gov/conference-presentation.
- SBA Veterans Export Business Symposium - August 24, 2010 – Lawrenceville, GA – Details at Veterans Export Symposium 08 24 2010.
- USWCC Women-Led Economy Launch Meeting - August 17, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at: http://www.uswcc360members.org/memberarea/EventList.aspx - Post-conference details now available at: http://www.uswcc.org.
- Georgia Small Business Summit – August 17, 2010 – Macon, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/07/sen-isakson-to-host-small-business-summit-in-macon.
- Marine Corps Logistics Command’s Annual Vendor Event – August 12, 2010 - Albany, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/06/albany-marine-corps-base-hosting-vendor-event-aug-12th - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.logcom.usmc.mil/sbpo.
- Emergency Response Contracting Conference - June 21, 2010 – Atlanta, GA - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/training/training-video.
Interior Dept. Small Business Boot Camp - August 31, 2010 – Washington, DC – http://www.doi.gov/osdbu/registration_aug31.html
- © 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
September 7, 2010 by ei2admin
Some agency officials say they are following a well thought-out approach to spending what’s left in their fiscal-year information technology budgets — a game plan that defies the myth that departments rush to spend funds before they become unavailable after Sept. 30.
The phenomenon of the year-end spending sprees first came to light in 1980, when the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management issued a report that found the hurry to obligate expiring funds before the end of the fiscal year often led to a lack of competition, inadequately negotiated contracts and the purchase of low-priority items.
In a 1998 follow-up to that study, the Government Accountability Office concluded agencies’ spending patterns were hard to assess because quarterly budget data, which could show a spike in fourth-quarter spending, was unreliable. Since then, federal auditors haven’t evaluated the issue much, and information on last-minute expenditures can be hard to obtain, according to some academic researchers.
Ramji Balakrishnan, an accounting professor at the University of Iowa who co-wrote a 2007 report on the subject, recently told Federal News Radio that he was able to access figures on year-end spending at U.S. Army hospitals largely because his co-author, a veteran, had contacts inside the military. According to the paper, which was published in the Journal of Management Accounting Research, administrators stockpiled supplies toward the end of a fiscal year, but then saved more money than they spent during the year-end splurge at the start of the next fiscal year.
A trend of precalculated buying seems to be occurring at several agencies with large IT budgets, including the General Services Administration and Veterans Affairs Administration, according to government officials.
In April, Administrator Martha Johnson directed GSA’s chief information officer, Casey Coleman, to complete five high-priority IT projects within 18 months — a feat that Coleman said the agency finished in 10 weeks. The agency’s IT budget for fiscal 2010 is $605.9 million. By quickly wrapping up the projects, which included boosting the capacity of GSA’s networks and adding remote private networks for teleworkers, Coleman was able to focus late-year spending on supplemental purchases for the agency’s increasingly mobile workforce, she said.
“By doing that we really set the foundation for IT modernization for the agency,” Coleman said in an interview with Nextgov. “Now we are in Phase 2 of our modernization program.”
Phase 2 involves purchasing green products. Johnson this summer challenged GSA to eliminate the federal government’s adverse effects on the environment, what’s known as creating “a zero environmental footprint.”
The agency plans to spend its IT money in September on products and services that support the zero e-emissions goal, Coleman said. GSA will invest in videoconferencing equipment; shared printing workstations to replace individual desktop printers, which are rarely used; and a cloud computing tool for e-mail, scheduling and other interoffice communications. Cloud computing is an arrangement that provides online access to hardware and software, eliminating the need to rely on energy-hungry, in-house data centers for IT services.
A contract for cloud services is expected to be awarded in October using fiscal 2010 money earmarked for spending in September.
GSA was unable to provide information on remaining money the agency returned to the treasury at the end of the last fiscal year.
The thinking is that GSA, as the nation’s biggest storefront, can expand the green IT market governmentwide — and perhaps nationwide — by purchasing environmentally responsible goods. Experimenting at the departmental level also might enable GSA to eventually offer governmentwide, eco-friendly IT contracting vehicles, agency officials said.
Veterans Affairs, which has a $3.3 billion IT budget, will spend its remaining fiscal 2011 funds on rolling out systems that can quickly exchange patient records via the Web, VA officials said. Such expenditures should increase access to health care, including mental health services, they added. September money also will support upgrades to benefits delivery systems and the department’s IT infrastructure.
At the end of fiscal 2009, Veterans Affairs let $462,000 in IT-related funding lapse, or become unavailable for new purchases.
In the past, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency spent all of their IT money by the end of the year, but only after careful planning, they said. Last year, EPA did not return any IT-related funding to the treasury. The agency’s enacted IT budget for fiscal 2010 is $465 million.
A significant portion of EPA’s technology infrastructure spending is managed under a business model that quantifies IT needs at the beginning of each fiscal year, officials said. “This process promotes spending that is thought-out and forecasted, and minimizes a potential end-of year spending surge,” EPA spokeswoman Latisha Petteway said.
– By Aliya Sternstein – NextGov.com - 08/26/2010
September 4, 2010 by ei2admin
The Federal Business Council is announcing an opportunity for vendors to exhibit at the Annual U.S. Army Infantry Warfighting Conference, Sept. 14 and 15, 2010. This year’s event will be held at the Iron Works Convention and Trade Center. The conference itself runs Sept. 13 through 16.
The conference represents an opportunity to showcase products to an expected 4,000 key officials, including senior level officers, end-users, and procurement officials throughout U.S. Army Warfighting branches. The complete agenda and registration details may be found at https://www.benning.army.mil/iwc/2010/index.html.
The conference’s major goal is to provide specialized and refresher training to key U.S. Army personnel and bring together the Warfighter community to receive top-notch training and exposure. In previous years, there have been globally recognized vendors taking up more than 400 conference spaces (80,000 sq ft) representing the spectrum of Warfighting technologies. Many companies exhibit year after year.
The Infantry Warfighting Conference is hosted by the U.S. Infantry Center with input from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which has played a large part in our nation’s Warfighting efforts.
You can call (800) 878-2940 for available marketing opportunities.
Here are a few tips from GTPAC. If you decide to attend this event, you’ll want to prepare. To assist you in this process, be sure to read our articles on attending a government trade show, how to prepare an “elevator speech,” and the need for a Capabilities Statement.