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On The Road With ChallengeHER: Lessons Learned

posted May 23, 2014, 12:47 PM by Ann Sullivan   [ updated May 23, 2014, 12:54 PM ]
New York City Edition
By Ann Sullivan

May 21, 2014 – Wow. This event was really well organized largely due to the fact that the entire SBA NYC office helped. They were there early in the morning -- going way above their call of duty. The event was full of women who were interested in federal contracting and a whole room of experts from the SBA and its resource partners were present as well. Certainly not lost on me is that John Shoraka, who heads all of the government contracting programs at SBA, came to address the group. Now that’s support.

My panel was also full of information and the hour flew by. My panelists were:

Dr. Linda Williams, Small Business Liaison with the VA; Janice Bracey, Director of the Regional Office of Small Business Utilization with the GSA; Gregory Cuyjet, Deputy for Small Business at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Isaac Roper Charles, Procurement Center Representative with the Small Business Administration.

Lessons Learned

  1. Contracts under $150,000 are reserved for small business. If the agency uses the GSA to buy this good/service, it is done through GSA’s eBuy website. The solicitations are done as Request for Quotes rather than an RFP.
  2. All opportunities above $25,000 have to be posted on www.FBO.gov. 
  3. The Procurement Center Representative (PCR) can help set- aside opportunities for the WOSB program. Do you know who the PCR is in your area? Contact the SBA in your area and they can give you the contact information for the PCR. 
  4. The Army Corp of Engineers is really geared toward working with mature businesses, not startups.
  5. The VA procures in the following order of preference: SDVOB, VOB and then the rest of the small business designations.
People you need to know

Janice Bracey, General Services Administration: Janice.bracey@gsa.gov
Gregory Cuyjet, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District: Gregory.g.cuyjet@usace.army.mil
Linda Williams, James J. Peters VA Hospital: Linda.Williams11@va.gov
Isaac Roper Charles, Small Business Administration, New York District: Isaac.RoperCharles@sba.gov

The attendees got to see policy in action. During the meeting, the House of Representatives was considering whether to give sole source authority to the WOSB procurement program (amendment offered by Rep. Speier). So, everyone got on their phones and responded to WIPP’s action alert right there and then. It was a heady moment.

P.S. the House passed Rep. Speier’s amendment. Well done NYC women!