During GovConWire’s Winning Business and FY21 Opportunities Virtual Forum, notable panelists discussed small to midsize GovCon professionals on how to win business, FY21 opportunities to look out for, navigating the GSA schedule, and what industry can do to help.
The Panel featured Dwight Deneal, Director of the Office of Small Business Programs with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Glenn Delgado, Associate Administrator of the Office of Small Business Programs with NASA and Sharon Ridley, Executive Director for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Darlene Bullock, Executive Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization within the Department of Homeland Security, was also featured on the panel, and Rich Wilkinson, director of Sales Engineering & Enablement with Unanet, moderated the discussion. The distinguished panel provided first hand insight from the government agencies with upcoming contracting opportunities.
Bullock began the panel discussion by providing a background of how the DHS promotes small businesses. “Small business is vital to our leadership team,” she said. DHS has procured a variety of services; however, the largest spending is in IT and professional services.
“For small businesses, navigating agencies like DHS can be daunting. We take great pride in our support of small businesses. This is the fourth year we’ve achieved an A+ rating for our support and will continue to help those businesses navigate the market and through these unprecedented times with COVID-19,” Bullock said.
She mentioned that vendors should utilize the department’s Acquisition Planning Forecast System. The system will enable small businesses to find information based on what the company needs. “It is important to respond to requests for information (RFI) and request for proposals (RFP) because it will support your market research,” Bullock added.
After Bullock’s comments, Wilkinson introduced Deneal, who then followed with a background on DLA’s services and mission. The agency has procured consumables and commodities in support of the nation’s warfighter and defense needs through six mission topics, including Troop Support, Land and Marines, Aviation, Energy, Distribution and Disposition Services.
“DLA averages roughly $40+ billion in annual contracts, and a lot of those funds are awarded to small businesses. We want to ensure that our small business efforts align across four strategic actions that support the national defense strategy and agency missions,” Deneal said.
Deneal added that DLA’s COVID-19 contracts have enabled the agency to exceed small business goals, where an overwhelming majority of contracts were awarded to small businesses. “We have seen resiliency in small businesses to get engaged and provide the necessary consumables and wearables that are needed to support front line operations,” he stated.
He concluded his discussion stating that there are six main takeaways for small businesses that operate within the federal marketplace. Deneal stated that small businesses looking to compete should take advantage of contacts at the DLA small business offices, visit the agencies Bid Board Systems (DIBBS) and attend DLA’s Small Business monthly outreach events.”
Following Deneal’s comments, Delgado took the stage to address how NASA has supported small businesses and how organizations can compete within the field. “At NASA it is very important that small businesses understand our mission. There are no other agencies that operate under our requirements. Subcontracting is very important to us as well,” Delgado said.
Delgado noted that subcontracting will enable businesses to gain past performance, build relationships and gather technical skills. NASA’s centers will watch business performance on subcontracts to understand a business and know when they are ready for a prime.
“You have to do your homework when you come into an agency. Start with Small Business Specialists (SBS) to develop your relationships. Learn about the mission. Respond to RFIs and use our resources to advance your network,” Delgado added.
Ridley followed Delgado’s notes, adding to his commentary about understanding mission requirements and expanding networks. She noted that OSDBUs priorities are to provide customer service, outreach, verification and engagement.
“We want to develop a strategy to include small businesses and connect you with small business opportunities. We provide access to potential business partners,” Ridley said.
Mark your calendars for November 12th, 2020, when GovConWire will host it’s next event, FY21 Acquisition Forum. During the forum, notable federal and industry leaders will discuss the Defense Budget Reform, annual financial audit schedule adherence, Defense Acquisition System and implementation of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework.
Join us for the FY21 Acquisition Forum, featuring LTG David Bassett, director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), who will serve as the keynote speaker to address the latest initiatives and goals for the federal acquisition process, the technology procurement programs offered at DCMA, as well as how the marketplace will change moving forward.