If you’re interested in learning about what and how the Marine Corps Logistics Command buys, then you ought to consider being at the Albany Civic Center on Aug. 4 and 5, 2011.
The Albany Marine Corps base is hosting a two-day trade show specifically focused on procurement and acquisition that support of Warfighter requirements.
The Command is looking for exhibitors and attendees specializing in:
- Industrial Electronics
- Information Technology
- Parts Obsolescence
- Warehousing (including Supplies)
- Material Handling
- Green Initiatives
- Structure Ventilation/Controlled Environments for Workers
On Thursday, Aug. 4th, an anticipated 100 exhibitors — representing both small business and large business as well as local, state, and federal government agencies – are expected to be on hand at the Albany Civic Center. Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:00 a.m.
Mid-day on Thursday, attendees will gather for lunch across the street from the Civic Center at the Albany Hilton Garden Inn to hear featured keynote speaker, Lieutenant General Frank A. Panter, Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps.
Following lunch, activities will resume in the exhibit hall at the Civic Center from 1:30 until 4:00 p.m.
On Friday, Aug. 5th at the Albany Civic Center there will be eight (8) workshops running concurrently, each repeated on the hour at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m. Workshop topics include: The Mission and Function of the Marine Corps Logistics Command Centers (including Distribution Management, Maintenance Center, and Supply Management); Expert Services for Entrepreneurs; Acquisition Courses for Contractors; the Federal Logistics Information System and the Internet Bid Board System; Construction Requirements of the Marine Corps Logistics Base; Small Business Program Updates; Getting on GSA Schedules; and Doing Business with the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM).
There is a registration fee of $100 to attend this two-day event. The registration fee includes access to all events both days, including one lunch ticket for Aug. 4th.
Companies wishing to exhibit at the event must make arrangements and pay a fee in advance. The exhibition fee for large businesses is $550, and the exhibition fee for small businesses is $450. Each of these exhibitor registration packages covers two attendees and two lunch tickets. (Exhibitors must set-up at the Civic Center on Wed., Aug. 3rd, between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Exhibit teardown takes place on Thurs., Aug. 4th between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.)
Pre-registration is required to attend this event. The deadline for registration is Thursday, June 16, 2011. Complete details may be found at: http://www.logcom.usmc.mil/sbpo/files/trade-show/2011/Key-Information.pdf.
We’re very excited about the Small Business Speed Partnering event in Albany on Tuesday, and we hope you’re excited, too!
As a reminder, the event is being held at the Albany Civic Center and begins with coffee and informal networking at 8:00 am. The program begins at 9:00 am sharp.
If you haven’t already pre-registered, please do by going to http://tinyurl.com/4dvxlxj and then hitting the “Sign Up” button.
You can see an advance copy of the agenda at:
When you look at the agenda, you’ll see that there are two blocks of time during which you will be able to meet one-on-one with buyers representing any of 11 different government agencies. (Marine Corps Logistics Command (MCLC) Albany; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (GSA); US Treasury Department, IRS; US Department of Interior, National Park Service; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS); University System of Georgia; Georgia Department of Corrections; Dougherty County; SW Georgia Regional Airport; City of Albany Procurement Division; and Sumter Youth Juvenile Justice.) The “speed partnering” times are at 10:00 to 11:00 and 1:45 to 2:45. You’ll have 15-minutes to have these meetings, so give some thought now to which agencies you’d liek to meet with.
To prepare for a speed partnering session, we recommend two things: 1) Bring copies of a short “capabilities statement” with you to hand-out, and 2) Be prepared to state exactly what you do and why you’re an expert at it (this is known as an “elevator speech.”
To help you prepare to do these two things, here are two short articles you can read:
We’re also conducting great workshops during the event. Plan to attend these during the course of the day:
- Business Communications, Elevator Pitches and Capability Statements
- Reading and Responding to Bid Solicitations
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting
- Conducting Government Market Research
- SBA’s New Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program
And, of course, you won’t want to miss addresses by Meredith Lilly, a Presidential-appointee and special assistant to the GSA regional administrator, as well as Patricia Hanes, Regional Director of the Atlanta National Enterprise Center, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Department of Commerce. They will be providing tips for greater success in both the government and commercial markets.
We think you’ll agree — the Albany Civic Center is THE PLACE TO BE on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Plan to arrive at 8:00 am if you can to receive all the benefits of the day!
There is hickory bacon. There is turkey bacon. And then there is Davis Bacon.
The first two can be found in the meat department of your local supermarket.
The last one — Davis Bacon — is found in federally-funded construction contracts. If you’re bidding on a federal contract or subcontract, you’d better educate yourself about this requirement.
The federal Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) applies minimum prevailing wage classifications for all federally-funded or assisted construction projects. The U.S. Department of Labor creates wage classifications by the type of project for a specific type of worker. (Although not the case in Georgia, also be aware of the fact that some state governments have adopted “little DBAs” requiring prevailing wages on state funded works.)
The worker classifications are crafted with broad job scopes, in order to be over-inclusive. These classifications have drawn the ire of many private construction firms, who complain about what they consider over-payment for non-specialized labor (i.e., paying a wire runner as a journeyman electrician). So, as many favor the DBA’s heavy wages – it can be crippling to an unprepared private firm’s profit margin.
To prepare, a construction professional must read and absorb the federal wage classifications that apply on their project – before bidding. Wage classifications are prepared by state and by project, and are included in all federally-funded construction work.
If you are bidding a contract in the State of Georgia, you’ll need to check out the Georgia classifications. For example, if you were building a non-residential structure, such as a government building, in Bibb County, you can see the applicable wage rates here.
If your Bibb County bid needs to include ironworkers to install your structural steel, you would need to bid them per hour at $24.04, plus $9.86 in fringe benefits (insurance, fringe, or even cash). There are no real boundaries here – if a worker is involved in structural steel work, that worker is to be paid as an ironworker. If a contractor does not plan for this broad application, you’ll be facing penalties that are spelled-out under the Wage & Hour Act or Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. The penalties are stiff, providing for up to two times the amount of the unpaid or underpaid wages, plus interest.
The lesson here? Like with all things involving government contracting, do your homework before jumping in with both feet. To obtain assistance, check with a representative of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) nearest you. With proper preparation, you’ll be able to bid correctly, win a contract or subcontract, and then be able to bring home the real bacon.
© 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
The Small Business Administration finally has started to implement a contracting program for women who own small firms, one decade after Congress first authorized it.
On Monday, SBA filed a final rule creating the long-awaited procurement program, which focuses on 83 industries in which women are underrepresented in the federal contracting marketplace. Program participants will be eligible for set-aside deals of less than $3 million for most contracts and $5 million for manufacturing. The rule will appear in the Federal Register on Thursday.
“Despite their growth and the fact that women lead some of the strongest and most innovative companies, women-owned firms continue to be underrepresented in the federal contracting marketplace,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “This rule will be a platform for changing that by providing greater opportunities for women-owned small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.”
The final rule closely mirrors a proposal the Obama administration first floated in March. SBA received more than 1,000 comments on the proposed rule, but ultimately made mostly minor changes.
To be eligible for the program, a firm must be 51 percent owned, controlled and primarily managed by one or more women who are U.S. citizens. The firm also must qualify as “small” in its primary industry.
SBA officials identified the 83 eligible industries based on a combination of the share of contracting dollars awarded to women-owned firms and the share of contracts awarded. This is a departure from the previous rule by the George W. Bush administration, which identified only four industries in which women-owned small businesses were underrepresented, based solely on the share of contracting dollars.
Women-owned small businesses will be allowed to self-certify for the program, or be certified by a third party, such as an industry association. Companies will be required to submit proof of eligibility to an online document repository that SBA will maintain.
To avoid the fraud that has plagued many of the other small business socioeconomic programs, the agency will examine firms’ documentation and seek punitive actions against ineligible businesses that improperly attempt to participate.
Advocates expect the program will help the government reach, for the first time, the federal statutory goal of awarding 5 percent of all contract dollars to women-owned small businesses.
“The shortfall between the contracting dollars awarded to women and the paltry 5 percent goal has been in the range of $5 [billion] to $8 billion annually,” said Margot Dorfman, chief executive officer of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “We are confident that, with this program, the federal government will finally have the tool necessary to bring fair access to contracts for women-owned firms. We look forward to reviewing the final rule — and hopefully, to seeing an end to our legal claim against the SBA.”
The women-owned small business program has gone through a host of delays, rewrites and litigation during the past 10 years.
In 2000, President Clinton signed the Equity in Contracting for Women Act, allowing the government to reserve contracts for women-owned small businesses in industries where females historically were underrepresented.
The program sputtered, however, during the Bush administration. A 2004 Women’s Chamber of Commerce lawsuit forced Bush officials to draft a proposal. But the 2008 plan set off a firestorm of complaints from lawmakers and women’s advocates, who accused SBA of choosing the narrowest methodology for determining underrepresentation. The Obama administration decided last year to scrap existing proposals and draft a new, comprehensive rule.
SBA now has 120 days to implement the program. The agency plans to use that time to educate and train federal contracting officers on the new requirements and to finalize a database of eligible companies. The program should be officially up and running by early February 2011, according to SBA spokeswoman Hayley Matz.
- by Robert Brodsky – GovExec.com – October 5, 2010
The Office of Small Business Utilization of the General Services Administration (GSA) is conducting a free one-hour webinar on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 to explain the agency’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
The webinar provides both potential mentors and protégés with a general overview of GSA’s Mentor-Protégé Program as well as a review of the policies and procedures for participation.
You must REGISTER for this webinar in advance. If you have questions regarding this webinar, please contact Anthony “Tony” Eiland by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (202) 208-0257.
The Georgia Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is hosting a tour of the US Marine Corp Logistics Base (MCLB) Logistics Command and Defense Maintenance Center (DMC) in Albany, GA on October 14, 2010.
The Marine Corp base in Albany is one of the larger and more diverse military logistics and maintenance centers in the United States with a global presence supporting Marines from the Americas to the Middle East. The Oct. 14th event will provide an insider’s view with briefings and tour on defense logistics and maintenance on a grand scale and how-to-do-business-there info for small businesses. The tour has been described as an excellent way to develop new business leads.
The tour size is limited to the first 50 to sign up, and it is open to NDIA and non-NDIA members alike.
Complete details on the agenda and cost can be found at http://www.ndia-georgia.org.
When Clint Boulton wrote about the competition for the cloud services proposals that have gone to the General Services Administration, he correctly pointed out that Google, IBM and Microsoft all have products that are essentially similar.
The three companies are proposing to provide Web mail and other office applications in a cloud-based environment. All of them will cost about the same, and all will provide federal workers pretty much the same thing. But that doesn’t mean that these companies have an equal chance of winning. It doesn’t even mean that any of them will win.
The GSA has great latitude in awarding contracts, and the companies have great latitude in what they propose to deliver. In addition, it’s a certainty that whoever eventually does win the contract award will find the decision being appealed. So any move to cloud services will happen only when something final comes out of the process. But there’s no guarantee that the end result will resemble the initial proposals.
First, it’s important to remember that federal government contracting is rife with rules that attempt to make sure that the government gets the best overall deal, that no unfair practices are taking place and that a number of Congressionally mandated requirements are met. Second, it’s not unusual for the GSA to ask for modifications to a proposal to reflect changes in technology, the products in question or to meet emerging requirements that weren’t in the original RFP.
It’s also not unusual for one-time competitors to decide to team up to win a contract so they can provide a capability at a price that no one else can offer. And, of course, it’s possible that the GSA will decide that all of the proposals are deficient, and not award the contract to anyone. All of these things happen routinely in government contracting.
In the case of IT contracts, there’s a big advantage in being the incumbent contractor providing a service. You already know exactly what’s going on; you already know the people awarding the contract; and you know exactly how you’ll do the migration. Because of this, you might be able to propose a solution that has the best credibility. It also helps a lot if you have long experience in crafting winning proposals. You know exactly how to present your products and solutions so that they meet the requirements, stated and implied, of the procurement.
If there’s one company that leads in this group, it’s IBM. Despite the fact that IBM is primarily a computer hardware, software and services vendor, this company is good enough at federal contracting that it’s won systems integration contracts for everything from helicopters to spacecraft. The fact that IBM is also the incumbent, that federal employees are already used to IBM’s Lotus product line, and that IBM should have the easiest time in migrating existing Lotus users to Lotus-in-the-cloud won’t be lost on the people evaluating the proposal.
But that doesn’t mean that IBM will have an automatic win. The GSA does pay attention to the proposed cost, and if a company proposes a credible solution that’s significantly more cost effective than the company with what might be seen as the best technical solution, they might win anyway. As unlikely as it may seem, the GSA really does try to keep a tight hand on the purse strings, and has been known to be flexible about technical requirements if it will substantially lower the price.
But to win, the proposed solution will have to be credible. IBM probably can demonstrate that it can meet the government’s needs in terms of responsiveness, security (even if this product isn’t yet FISMA certified) and the ability to meet the needs of very large organizations. Microsoft, which has a long history in government contracting, although not as long as IBM which won its first government contract in the 19th century, can point to vast installations of desktop, server and Web software throughout the government. But Google might have problems in this area. In addition, all of those Gmail outages, the occasional security breach and the Google cloud’s growing pains could give the government evaluators pause.
Or they might not. Google might be able to convince the GSA that it can deliver everything the federal government wants, and the GSA might be in a mood to take a break from IBM and Microsoft. But whatever solution gets chosen will have to be justified, and that’s where we’ll see exactly what made the difference. And then if anyone is still paying attention, we’ll learn more during the appeals. Or we might not.
The only thing you can really count on with the GSA cloud services contract is that it won’t really be over at the end of September. There’s no assurance that whatever company gets the win will really be the winner. There may not even be one winner or even a winner at all. The arbiter of what’s best for the government is the GSA, and ultimately they’ll decide using their own criteria what’s best for the federal government. Unless, of course, Congress gets involved.
– by Wayne Rash – eWeek – Sept. 23, 2010
In the span of just two days last week, three government offices issued advice about improving the $550 billion per year federal procurement system long plagued by waste and inefficiency.
On Sept. 14, the Office of Management and Budget outlined in a memo ideas about how to “save money, reduce risk and get better results” from government contracts. On the same day, the Defense Department released guidance for “obtaining greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending.” On Sept. 15, a presidential task force published its recommendations for improving federal contracting opportunities for small businesses.
The flurry of top-level attention is a welcome sign that the Obama administration is serious about reforming procurement at a time of fiscal constraint and budget deficits.
But the recent directives also unintentionally underscore the immediate need for better coordination among agencies and a more coherent reform agenda. Examined side by side, they reveal conflicting guidance that could sow even more confusion in a world so complex it vexes the most sophisticated lawyers and accountants. “The rule set becomes further confusing through these many efforts, and makes me worry what exactly will be the ‘real’ rules as those leading these initiatives depart and new ones arrive,” former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said in an interview.
Consider, for example, last week’s guidance about how the government should go about finding the best vendors and suppliers. The OMB memo recommended “pooling the federal government’s buying power” in pursuit of strategic sourcing. The president’s small business task force, on the other hand, urged “strategies to prevent unjustified contract bundling,” or aggregating in one contract supplies or services “previously provided or performed under separate smaller contracts.”
So what should a procurement official do? Create efficiencies and drive cost savings through pooling, or create more opportunities for small business by eschewing bundling?
To be sure, there could be scenarios in which these two policies actually can complement each other, but that’s not necessarily self-evident to procurement officers and others involved in government contracts on a day-to-day basis.
There are other potential conflicts in the directives. All three documents urge data standardization, for example. But the small business task force focuses on a coding system called the North American Industry Classification System while the Defense memo prefers the Product Service Code. And there are other standards out there, such as the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code used in two governmentwide systems. The documents’ diverging guidance on competition and contract types also could confound government contracting officers.
To avoid such confusion there must be better coordination among the offices entrusted with the important work of reducing costs and eliminating waste in federal acquisitions. Here are some suggestions:
- Governmentwide procurement reform should be centrally coordinated, preferably at OMB. That doesn’t mean every initiative must be run from the White House, but there should be enough central oversight to identify and address potential conflicts.
- The implementation of reform initiatives should be formally designed with other efforts in mind. “With the plethora of rules that govern the procurement system, it is important that we provide adequate implementation guidance to avoid creating more confusion on the part of the workforce,” says Steven Kelman, a public policy professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
- The reform must speak in a unified voice. Ultimately, the success of these initiatives rests in the hands of thousands of government professionals, as well as the vendor community. Leadership across all agencies must commit to and deliver the same message with as little ambiguity as possible.
These communication problems are not insoluble, but left unaddressed they could hamper the administration’s admirable and intense focus on improving procurement. The stars do seem to be aligned, for the first time in years, in support of meaningful reform. We must not miss this opportunity.
By Raj Sharma – GovernmentExecutive.com – September 24, 2010 – Raj Sharma is a visiting fellow at the Center for American Progress who focuses on improving government procurement and supply chain management practices.
The Pentagon’s top acquisition executive told an Air Force audience Wednesday that implementing the set of sweeping acquisition reforms was essential because without them, the nation could not give the troops the capabilities they need as defense budgets get tighter.
And to the Air Force officers and industry representatives in the audience, Ashton Carter said those who hope the department will be unable to achieve the proposed reforms, “you have to consider the alternatives.”
Carter listed as potential consequences: broken or canceled programs, “uncertainty and turbulence in the budget, market uncertainty, difficulty for industry, erosion in the confidence of the taxpayer that they are getting value for their dollars … and foregone military capabilities.”
But on the positive side, Carter said part of the acquisition improvement effort was to “incentivize productivity and innovation in industry” and that “profit is a perfectly appropriate topic” for the defense acquisition executives.
The day after he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined the 23 changes to the contracting process at a Pentagon news briefing, Carter, the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Air Force Association conference at the National Harbor convention center that the challenge would be implementation.
The acquisition reforms had received a generally favorable review earlier in the day from Aerospace Industry Association President Marion Blakey, who told the AFA audience that many of the initiatives matched the industry’s recommendations.
And as Carter was speaking, the two leaders of the House Armed Services Committee’s acquisition reform panel issued a statement endorsing the new effort.
“We applaud Secretary Gates and Dr. Carter for tackling acquisition reform and for embracing many of the reforms identified in our panel’s report and in the House-passed IMPROVE Acquisition Act to meet this end,” said Reps. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas. They said the Pentagon initiatives made it even more important that the Senate pass the House-approved bill.
Carter told the AFA audience that an improved acquisition was necessary because the defense budget was expected to rise only slightly in real terms in future years.
With an end to the double-digit annual increases of the last nine years, he said, the Pentagon leaders concluded “we can’t support the troops with the capabilities they need unless we learn to deliver better value for the defense dollars and thereby achieve the programs we need with the dollars that the taxpayers can afford to give us.”
Carter expressed confidence they could achieve their objectives to save $100 billion over five years from “low value-added activities” so the funds could be shifted to the needs of the warfighters.
He said he was confident of success because they are “reasonable objectives, come at end of a decade of very rapid growth” and have the support of the president, the secretary and Congress.
Carter praised the Air Force secretary, chief of staff and acquisition executive for leading the way on procurement reform, citing their improvements in maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons system and the effort to build a long-range strike capability at an affordable price.
Addressing a program of high interest for the Air Force, Carter said he could not tell them when officials would announce a winner of the competition to build a new refueling tanker.
“It’s not a secret; it’s unknown. It will be done when it’s done. We’re working very hard to get it right,” he said, reflecting a decade of mistakes and scandal surrounding the program.
– by Otto Kreisher – Congress Daily – September 16, 2010
Ignoring calls to scrutinize troubled contractors, the U.S. military has awarded a portion of a $490 million contract to an American corporation that’s under investigation for possible fraud.
The Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract to Louis Berger Group, a New Jersey-based company that federal prosecutors have acknowledged is being investigated for allegedly overbilling the U.S. government.
The contract will be shared with Cummins Power Generation and is for providing generators, building power plants and installing high-voltage transmission systems in “conflict and disaster response locations worldwide,” according to a news release posted last week on Louis Berger’s website.
The decision to continue doing business with Louis Berger has fueled criticism that the Obama administration is willing to overlook criminal allegations in its zeal to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq. Louis Berger is handling some of the most important U.S. projects in Afghanistan, and it and Cummins also have a seven-year contract with the Army to provide emergency power operations and maintenance in Iraq.
Cummins isn’t under scrutiny in the investigation of Louis Berger.
The overbilling allegations arise from a 2006 whistleblower lawsuit that accused Louis Berger of manipulating overhead cost data and overhead rate proposals submitted to the U.S. government and several states, including Massachusetts, Nevada and Virginia, McClatchy reported Sunday.
Two months after the government learned of the employee’s allegations, the U.S. Agency for International Development tapped Louis Berger to oversee another $1.4 billion in reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan.
Court documents reveal that the Justice Department is negotiating a deal that could “aid in preserving the company’s continuing eligibility to participate” in federal contracting in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Louis Berger officials have declined to respond to questions about the investigation, but they say it shouldn’t taint their work for the government.
A power plant project in Kabul overseen by Louis Berger and another U.S. firm, Black & Veatch, is $40 million over budget and a year behind schedule because of missteps by the American contractors and the U.S. government, according to an audit by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
The special inspector general’s office questioned the wisdom of building a diesel and heavy fuel plant that the Afghan government may not have the capacity to sustain.
Officials with the Army confirmed the award of the latest contract but didn’t immediately respond to questions about the investigation or the rationale for granting the contract to Louis Berger.
– McClatchy Newspapers – Sept. 20, 2010