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On the Road with ChallengeHER: Lessons Learned

posted Apr 23, 2014, 7:51 AM by Ann Sullivan   [ updated Apr 30, 2014, 12:16 PM ]
Tacoma/Seattle Edition
By Ann Sullivan

April 22, 2014 -- The women in Tacoma/Seattle were fired up.  Sixty percent of them are registered on SAM, 32 percent are registered as WOSB/EDWOSB and another 31 percent have been awarded at least one federal contract.

Lessons learned

My panel consisted of two government agencies and two prime contractors.  Here are the top five things I learned from the panel:

1.    Simplified acquisition is big for the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  For dollar amounts under $150,000, the Army buys goods and services almost exclusively from small businesses.  Looking for a quick way to get past performance--take a look at simplified acquisition. 

2.    The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Seattle District does not only fund large projects, they do pretty well with small businesses.  The USACE buys by Districts--there are five Districts in the western US, for example.  Each District does its own buys and has a code that you can search opportunities by District.  Don't know the code?  Ask the small business advocate.

3.    You can respond to sources sought and requests for information in a NAICS code you may not have listed in your WOSB/EDWOSB registration. 

4.    Small businesses interested in working with Boeing should register in their database first.  That's the case with many large prime contractors--do the paperwork first before you start to reach out to them.

5.    Be patient and persistent. Small business advocates in federal installations want to hear from women owned businesses.  But they are interested in your business capabilities more than your gender.

People you need to know

The panelists gave excellent insight and offered to be a reference point for interested women-owned businesses.

Victoria Ghent, Joint Base Lewis-McChord WA: victoria.d.ghent.civ@mail.mil
Veronica Kammler, US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle: veronica.a.kammler@usace.army.mil
Brenda C. Fitch, Boeing: brenda.c.fitch@boeing.com
Stephanie Caldwell, Absher Construction: stephanie.caldwell@absherco.com

Next Stop: ChallengeHER Boise, Idaho on April 23, 2014.