Learn Something New Every Day

Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Program (APTAC) 2019 Spring Conference

Learn Something New Every Day 

It was such an honor to be selected as a presenter for the APTAC 2019 Spring Conference, especially as it was my first. I had the opportunity to meet Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) counselors and expert speakers from across the country and had the opportunity to learn and train with bothAs the saying goes, “you should learn something new every day” and this week was no exception. 

 

Learning 

Sadly, one of the first things I learned at the conference was the APTAC and its PTAC counselors, along with those who support small business growth in the federal space, are under appreciated. One of the first speakers, Brigadier General Mike Hoskin, US Army Director of Contracting and a Commissioner on the Section 809 Panel, began and ended his discussion with a hearty, “thank you.”  BG Hoskin described the group as, “part of the total force” by “supporting the warfighter through their support of the small business federal contractor.”   

BG Hoskin also discussed one of the more controversial recommendations made by the Section 809 Panel, namely, the recommendation to eliminate small business set-asides.  As he explained, “The goal is not to remove small business, we expect ALL small business goals to remain or improve; however, creating small business set-asides add an additional layer of bureaucracy to an already complicated process. BG Hoskin went on to explain, “set-asides significantly and unnecessarily increase the acquisition timeline which becomes a barrier to getting products and services to our warfighters when they need them most.”   

Steven Koprince, of Koprince Law, provided the latest legal updates with his “Big Changes for Small Contractors” discussion. Specifically, the impact of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on small businesses. These changes include an increase to the micro-purchase and simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) along with the Government-wide move away from the lowest-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) in favor of best value acquisitions. The mandate also includes guidance to avoid LPTA for all knowledge-based professional services.  

Mr. Koprince also discussed the current issues with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Veteran’s Administration (VA) and the requirement for Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certification and explained, “Congress will have to take the next step to consolidate the SBA and VA programs in order for a Government-wide certification (as opposed to self-certification) program to take effect.” Mr. Koprince explained that a bill to make this change, dubbed the “VA-SBA Act” was recently introduced in Congress. 

 

Training  

There was a lot of training provided over the course of this four-day event, to include updates on beta.SAM, Capture Planning, HUBZone updates, Development of Indirect Rates for Contract Cost and Pricing, and much more. The two sessions I was privileged to present were: 

  • How should a company respond to the Solicitation or Request for Proposal (RFP)?”  
  • “CPARS and Open Ratings:  How do they impact a company’s bid?”  

Both were intended for the new PTAC counselor; however, many experienced Program Managers attended and expressed their appreciationthe perspective, and new insight. As I mentioned to the audience, “I’ve been where your clients are and the processes I’ve explained aren’t merely theoretical concepts, rather, these are the actions I’ve taken to realize the success your clients seek.” As was clear from their questions and comments, these counselors’ thirst for the knowledge they need to best equip their clients 

 

For more information on getting started in the federal market, please visit www.aptac-us.org to locate your local PTAC office. If you’re already working in the federal market and would like to experience accelerated growth, contact Targetgov at 800.579.1346 x320 to schedule an appointment today.  

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