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  • 17 Feb 2017 3:04 PM | Deleted user

    A few weeks ago I began a series addressing each of the 15 Departments of the Federal Executive Branch of the government.  The goal is to give you the information you need to begin identifying departments who may be buying your products and services. 

    This department is one we are all familiar with.  The Department of Education is charged with establishing the policies for the nation’s schools and it coordinates most federal education assistance.  There are a dozen key agencies that support the Department of Education; some of which are familiar to us as well.  They include the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Federal Student Aid.  

    The aforementioned agencies are the ones that we think of when we think of the public school systems.  Curriculum, assistive technology, textbooks, testing, accreditations and more, from Pre-K - Graduate levels, are all handled by these agencies.  If your business supports educating Americans, it’s likely to fall under the Department of Education.  

    With the Department of Education - and all of the departments, for that matter - I encourage you to think vertically.  Vertical integration is a big issue in corporate strategy, especially with firms reevaluating what parts of their value chain they want to keep and which parts to outsource.  For example, your company may perform binding services including spiral binding for workbooks.  A textbook publisher may outsource the binding portion of their business because it isn’t cost effective to have the equipment needed when that is such a small part of their overall business.  Your firm could be the partner to whom they outsource.  

    Continue thinking “outside the box” and look at grant opportunities for your business. We don’t often think about grants when we think of government contracts but those options are readily available as well.  The Office of Innovation and Improvement, for instance, makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and they administer more than 25 grant programs, i.e. Charter schools.  In this agency, in particular, and the Department of Education in general, you’ll find a lot of grant opportunities.

    The last few agencies that complete the 12 key agencies of the Department of Education are the Office for Civil Rights, the Institute for Education Sciences, the Office of English Language Acquisition, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics.  

    The Institute for Education Sciences provides the evidence on which education policies and practices are based via four centers; the evaluation center, research center, statistics center and the special education research center.  If your company conducts research or develops analytical software or manufactures assistive technology for special needs kids, then there may be contracting opportunities in the Institute of Education Sciences for you to consider.

    As I mentioned earlier, this series is to move you beyond the obvious needs you may think of when you consider some of these departments and see what actual niches may exist for your business.  The goal is to get you started down the right path so that you can truly see what opportunities await.  

    Good Luck.

  • 10 Feb 2017 3:02 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the principal agency for protecting the health and providing essential human services for all Americans, especially those least able to help themselves.  HHS represents one fourth of all federal expenditures and administers more grant dollars than all other agencies combined.  HHS’ Medicare program alone if the largest health insurer in the nation and administers more than $1 Billion in claims per year.

    The programs and services of the department are administered by 11 operating divisions.  The divisions include: 1. Administration for Children and Families, 2. Administration on Aging, 3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 4. Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry, 5. The CDC, 6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 7. The FDA, 8. Health Resources and Services Administration, 9. Indian Health Service, 10. National Institutes of Health, 11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    In addition to the aforementioned operating divisions, there are additional key agencies and organizations that make up this large and intricate department.  The Program Support Center is one such agency.  The Program Support Center is a federal entity that provides support services to all of the agencies in HHS and other federal government agencies the world over.  The services of the Program Support center include administrative operations, information technology support, financial management and strategic acquisitions.  The job of this agency is basically to ensure that all of the other agencies have the support they need to achieve their objectives.   

    Because this department is so large and intricately woven into pretty much every facet of our lives, the contracting and grant opportunities here are legion.  The HHS website does a great job (one of the best of the agencies I’ve discussed thus far) of educating businesses on how to best conduct business with HHS.  The HHS also has its own Mentor-Protégé Program for small businesses who wish to work with or team with large companies for contracts.

    With just a few clicks, you can get to the Forecast of HHS Contracting Opportunities for Small Business and have projections by quarter for all the money to be spent per agency, you can even drill down to find out specific bid descriptions, set asides (i.e. 8(a), Small business, GSA), and dollar amounts.  Scrolling through a few I saw bid amounts ranging from $100,000 to $5 Million for services including fingerprinting, security, landscaping and translation services.

    If you’d like to know more about this department that is responsible for about ¼ of all federal outlays, then attend the National Small Business Federal Contracting Summit in Washington, DC next Spring.

  • 03 Feb 2017 3:00 PM | Deleted user

    You are probably familiar with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more commonly known as HUD.  This department is oversees homes owned by the government and ensures that renters and tenants are treated fairly under the law.  The mission of HUD is to provide quality affordable housing for all and to create strong inclusive and sustainable communities.

    There are nine key organizations and several other organizations that support the department.  One of which is Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae).  You may be familiar with Fannie Mae as a national mortgage finance company, but Ginnie Mae has the only mortgage-backed security that enjoys the full faith and credit of the US Government.   FHA and VA loans are two of the most common loans that are backed by Ginnie Mae.

    The Office of Public and Indian Housing ensures safe, affordable housing and creates opportunities for self-sufficiency and economic independence.  The Office of Multi-Family Housing is responsible for the overall management, development and direction of HUD’s multi-family housing programs; and the Office of Housing oversees the largest mortgage insurer in the world, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  The Office of Housing also regulates the housing industry business.    

    The Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard control is responsible for eliminating the lead-based paint hazard in private homes and low income housing in America.  This organization also leads the nation in addressing and education vulnerable residents about housing-related health hazards.

    The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administers and enforces federal laws to ensure Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.   The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is now the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  This agency was born out in the wake of the mortgage collapse out of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The mission of the organization is to provide effective supervision, regulation and housing mission oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and 12 Home Loan Banks to promote their safety and soundness.  The organization also supports housing finance, affordable housing and a stable and liquid mortgage market.

    The last two key organizations of HUD are the Office of Policy Development and Research and the Community Planning and Development.   Both have end goals of improving the lives of Americans and the communities in which they live, work and play.  The mission of Policy Development & Research is to move policy and improve American communities and lives by being the preeminent housing and research organization.  The Office of Community Planning and Development works toward that end by forming partnerships with all levels of government and private sector including both for profit and not-for-profit agencies.

    In the Department of Housing and Urban Development, contract opportunities abound.  Any contractors can find opportunities a plethora of opportunities among the five agencies focused of fair/safe housing.  In the Fair housing and Equal Opportunity section of the HUD site, www.hud.gov , there is a section devoted to Section 3 Economic Opportunities.  For those non-profits, HUD provides grant opportunities as well via the research and development organizations of the department.   Just remember that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has opportunities for more than just housing, so happy hunting.

  • 27 Jan 2017 2:55 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Labor supports the work force by improving working conditions and protecting employee benefits.  Business owners often look upon this department with the same distain that police officers regard Internal Affairs.  They are the administrator and enforcer of employment policies and their interest is, in fact, to the wage-earner, retiree and job seeker (the employee) and not the employer.

    That doesn’t mean that the Department of Labor offers neither grant nor contracting opportunities for your business, however.  Two of the nine key agencies that support the department, the Employment and Training Administration and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), are focused on today’s hot topic: Getting Americans back to work.  Because this is such a pressing issue, contracts and grants abound for those companies who train or retrain employees.  In 2013 alone, the US Department of Labor allocated 6% of its total spend of $1,622,141,239 on Vocational/Technical training and another 1% on Other Education & Training Services

    Two other agencies are focused on safety.  The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA as it’s commonly called, is charged with assuring a safe and healthy working environment by setting and enforcing safety standards.  The Mine Safety & Health Administration is charged with the same tasks as OSHA but specifically relating to prevention of death, disease and injury in the Nation’s mines.  An integral component required for each of these agencies to meet their objectives is training and education.

    Another two agencies are dedicated to employment issues relating to specific groups of individuals.  The Women’s Bureau develops policies and standards to protect the interests of women in the workforce.  The agency advocates for women’s equality and the economic security of women and their families.  The Office of Disability Employment Services’ mission is to develop disability employment-related policies and practices with the goal of affecting an increase in the employment of individuals with disabilities.

    The Employee Benefits Security Administration is charged with the daunting task of educating and assisting the 150 million Americans covered by over 718,000 private retirement plans, 2.6 million health plans and other plans totaling over$6.5 Trillion in assets.  And the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and publishes all of the data and statistics about the labor force and makes that information available to the general public.

    The last key agency in the US Department of Labor is the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.  This agency is tasked with ensuring workers around the globe are treated fairly and can share in the benefit of the global economy.  By using all available international channels, this agency improves working conditions, raises living standards and addresses the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations.

    There is a common thread that links almost every agency in this department together; and that commonality is training & education.  Whether that’s actual job training for those individuals who wish to get back into the workforce, benefits training and education for the active and retired workforce, safety training to make for a safer work environment or workplace training to expand opportunities for equality in the workforce for women and the disabled; companies who are in the training sector or are vertically aligned with this industry can benefit from the grant and contacting opportunities in the Department of Labor.

  • 20 Jan 2017 2:53 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Transportation is another familiar department.  It establishes the nation’s transportation policy.  The Department of Transportation oversees aviation, highways, mass transit, railroads, ports, pipelines and more.  

    There are 12 key agencies that support the DOT in its mission to oversee the movement of products and people across the United States. There is a separate agency that handles each of the modes of transportation.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handles aviation; the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for highways; the Federal Transit Administration monitors all public transit systems; the Federal Railroad Administration is in charge of railroads; the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for pipelines; and the Maritime Administration promotes the seamless integration of waterborne transportation with other segments of the transportation system.

    Although the responsibilities of the aforementioned agencies appear obvious, some agencies are charged with much broader tasks.  The Maritime Administration for example works in a wide array of areas involving ships, shipping, shipbuilding, ship disposal, port and vessel operations, and national security.  The agency maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve in cases of war and national emergencies and also maintains the viability of the U.S merchant marine.  The Maritime Administration also administers the America’s Marine Highway program and is responsible for the 25,000+ miles of coastal, intercostal and inland waterways.  If you are in the transportation industry and can make use of these underutilized Marine Highways, there may be federal grant money available for you.  Check out this link http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20013.pdf  for details on the America’s Marine Highway Grant Notice of Funds Availability.

    Other key agencies of the Department of Transportation are the Bureau of Transportation Statistics - a statistical agency that administers data collection, analysis and reporting and ensures the most cost effective use of transportation monitoring resources; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - that directs highway safety programs; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - who’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries;  the Research and Innovative Technology Administration - charged with deploying cutting edge technologies to improve the nation’s transportation systems; the Surface Transportation Board - an economic regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes; and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation - that operates constructs and maintains that part of the St Lawrence  Seaway between Port of Montreal, Canada and Lake Erie that lies within the US.  

    Most people only of the usual planes, trains and automobiles when they think of DOT contracting opportunities.  They don’t realize that research companies that are pioneering cars that drive themselves or cars that hover and fly have a place in the DOT in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.  Nor do they think about the arbitrators and mediators who settle disputes in the Surface Transportation Board.

    So whether you are a trucker, a pilot, a merchant marine or a railway engineer, the Department of Transportation has got you covered.  And if your business supports these folks or the adjacent industries, there are probably contracting opportunities awaiting you at the DOT.

  • 13 Jan 2017 2:51 PM | Deleted user

    Most of you know of my banking background so today’s topic - Department of Treasury - was rather exciting for me to delve into.  The Department of Treasury is responsible for economic, financial, tax, and fiscal policies.  The main thing I think of when it comes to this department is the manufacture of coins and currency, but they do a lot more than print money.  Nine key agencies make up the Department of Treasury and these agencies support various functions of the Treasury.  

    The US Mint, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Bureau of the Public Debt deal with the money in production and circulation and the debt instruments.  The US Mint was created on April 2, 1792, when the new Congress passed The Coinage Act.  The Mint was the first federal building erected under the Constitution and their job today remains the same, to coin money.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has the daunting task of producing Federal Reserve Notes.  They print billions of dollars each year for delivery into the Federal Reserve System.  The purpose of the Bureau of Public Debt is to borrow money to operate the federal government, account for the debt and provide reimbursable support to other federal agencies.  They borrow by selling Treasury bills, notes, bonds and US Savings Bonds

    The Internal Revenue Services is the nation’s tax collection agency.  The IRS’s mission is to help the compliant taxpayers understand the tax law while ensuring the noncompliant few pay their fair share (remember this is information I am gathering from public sources and presenting to you.  In short, don’t shoot the messenger, lol).  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the IRS is one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators.  In the fiscal year 2010 they collected $2.3 trillion in revenue and processed 230 million returns.  In the same year, they spent just 53 cents for each $100 collected.  Evil genius or efficiency, you decide

    The 1800 employees in the Financial Management Service provide central payment services to Federal Program Agencies operate the government’s collection and deposit system and oversee daily cash flow of $89 Billion.  This agency provides accounting and reporting services and collects delinquent debt owed to the government.

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau is charged with collecting excise tax on alcohol, tobacco, firearms and ammunition.  They also ensure compliance with tobacco and alcohol permitting, labeling and marketing requirements to protect consumers.  This agency is the newest in the Department of Treasury and was formed in January 2003 when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was reorganized under the provisions of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is designed to make the consumer financial products and services work best for you.  They educate consumers about predatory or abusive practices, they enforce consumer protection laws and they analyze data to better understand consumer, financial service providers and the market.

    The last two we should all remember well from 2008.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) both handle the supervision and regulation of banks, savings and loans, thrifts, etc.  The OTS is the agency that shut down Washington Mutual bank, the largest thrift in the nation.  Supervisory responsibility for federal savings associations transferred from the OTS to the OCC on July 21, 2011.  The OCC is the watchdog for banks and has the power to examine national banks and federal thrifts, approve or deny applications for new charters, take supervisory action against noncompliant banks or thrifts and issue rules and regulations governing investments, lending and other practices.

    The Treasury Department, as you can see, packs quite a punch.  They print, coin and borrow money, control financial institutions, enforce taxation, provide central payment solutions, and protect our consumer rights regarding financial products.  Look further into each of these agencies to uncover contracting opportunities that may exist for you.  Keep in mind that certain functions, like printing money, will never be outsourced.

  • 11 Jan 2017 2:56 PM | Deleted user

    You may be familiar with several different agencies within the government like the Department of Education, Department of Justice and Department of Defense; but what about those departments that are not so commonplace, like the Department of Interior.  I mean, what the heck do they do anyway?  By the way, it has nothing to do with interior design.  Not that I thought that or anything.

    That got me thinking.  If I’m in this stuff every day and I am not familiar with some of it, surely you may have some questions.  I discovered there are 15 Executive Departments under the Federal Executive Branch of the government and a host of Independent Agencies and Government Corporations.[1]  I have decided to address one department every week for the next several weeks.  This way, you’ll learn about what the department does, what agencies provide support to that department and, most importantly, how you can position your company to the department and related agencies.  This should be able to shed some light on the recurring question, “What Agency is buying what I do/make/sell?”   

    The first one up for discussion - in no particular order - is the Department of Interior.  This department is responsible for managing and conserving most federally owned land.  As an aside, I wonder why they don’t call themselves the department of exterior, wouldn’t that make more sense?  Come on, the Department of Education is about education, the Department of Labor is about the work force, but the Department of Interior preserves exterior spaces?  Really?  I can’t have been the only one confused, but I digress.

    There are several key agencies that are associated with the Department of Interior.  They include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Geological Survey (USGS), Mineral Management Service, National Interagency Fire Center, National Park Service and Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation & Enforcement[2].  Although some of the agency names are self-explanatory; others, not so much.  The Bureau of Land Management, for example, not only manages recreation and conservation of federally owned lands, but also wild horses and burros - crazy right?  The Bureau of Reclamation manages water in the West and is the second largest producers of hydroelectric power.  The Mineral Management Service is charged with environmentally and economically responsible development of our offshore resources.

    So let’s think of the possibilities.  Veterinarians, Firefighters, Drilling experts (both offshore and surface), Engineers, Geological experts, Landscape Design firms, and any company that provides the equipment needed in any of these fields.  These are all needs that the aforementioned agencies and this department would have, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

    I know you’ve heard it before and you’ve probably read it from me a few times in the past.  The federal government buys EVERYTHING!  Peering into this one department and its nine key agencies has proven how true that statement is.  Tune in next week as we dive into another department and see what contracting opportunities may be waiting for you.

    [1] http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/Executive.shtml - Federal Executive Branch

    [2] http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/Executive/Interior.shtml# - Department of Interior information with link to the 9 associated agencies

  • 16 Nov 2016 7:11 PM | Abraham Xiong (Administrator)


    We've all been waiting for this. For the longest time, the SBA's Mentor Protege Program was only available to 8(a) Certified companies. Even though multiple legislations were passed for the expansion to include other certified companies years ago, it's finally here. 

    Not only can 8(a) companies, but now, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), and Hubzone companies all have the same opportunities to utilize the Mentor Protege Program.

    So what does this mean for your company? If you're a small business, then you have an opportunity to set up a formal MP Agreement with large companies to assist your company. If you're a large company, then you now have access to more contracts normally reserved for set-aside programs. In a MP Joint Venture, both the large and small companies can now pursue more projects together. Large companies can better meet their subcontracting goals and small companies can go after bigger sized projects.

    GCA is hosting a FREE webinar on the expansion of the Mentor Protege Program.  Register to attend one of the upcoming webinar here: 


  • 16 Nov 2016 10:58 AM | Abraham Xiong (Administrator)

    GCA Leads Trade Delegation of USA Government Contractors to South Korea

    To grow your business, sometimes you must think out of the box. Out of the box may mean taking your business out of the USA market. This is exactly what 10 companies are doing as they join the Government Contractors Association (GCA) on a trade delegation from the United States to Seoul, South Korea.

    On December 4th – 9th, GCA will lead a Trade Delegation from the USA to the Global Public Procurement Marketplace Event in South Korea (GPPM). This delegation of US companies will be on the grounds in South Korea to engage and explore the possibilities of collaborating with Korean companies. This is an initiative set up by Sungshin Women’s University, GCA, G-PASS members, and the Korean government’s Public Procurement Service, similar to the General Service Administration, here in the USA.

    In a competitive global market, you need an edge over your competitors. One way to do that is to source out potential partners domestically. Most government contractors understand that teaming and joint venture partnerships are essential to the long-term success in the government market. No one company has the bench or resources to not utilize a cooperative teaming approach. Based on our research, we estimate that over 70% of all government related projects require some type of partnership efforts. Whether it is a large prime working with subcontractors or two small businesses teaming together to provide the best solution to the government.

    As such, since most businesses are already sourcing teaming arrangements domestically, why not explore the international market. And if you’re considering international trade, why not do it with a collaborative effort with the University and the Government of the country which you’re sourcing from. You may think, why should I consider this? Well, some possible advantages are:

    • Better Pricing: You might get better pricing sourcing directly from the international manufacturer than through a 3rd party distributor.
    • Minimized Risk: There will always be risks in doing business, especially internationally. In this situation, it is better to work through a University and through the Korean Public Procurement Service agency than to go directly to international companies. An element of trust and more transparency will have been already established by the organizers to engage the trade delegation.
    • New Technologies/New Products: When you’re meeting with and exploring new partners, you’ll be in a position to better source out new technologies and new products. New ideas and improved technologies can come from anywhere in the world.
    • Gained Knowledge/New Relationships: At a minimal, a well-traveled business owner will always have better perspective in a competitive landscape. In a trade delegation, like this one, entrepreneurs will gain valuable insights and new relationships which can lead to future growth opportunities.

    Abraham Xiong, President of Government Contractors Association says, “We’re deeply honored to be working with our international partners, the Korean Public Procurement Service and Dr. Mankin Kim of Sungshin Women’s Univerity. We hope that this trade delegation will add value to our members, the 10 trade delegation companies, the Korean companies, and our partners with the Global Public Procurement Marketplace.”

    This trade delegation is the first one with another trade delegation which will take place in 2017. The goal of this trade delegation and future trade delegation is to explore the possibilities of finding synergies between international companies as they seek to grow and expand internationally.

    If you or someone you know is interested in being part of a future trade delegation, you may reach out to Myra Cisse at 404-955-8080 or by email at: myra@govcontractors.org.

    About the Author: Abraham Xiong serves are President of Government Contractors Association. He is a small business advocate, utilizing his entrepreneurial experiences to help small businesses to learn, access and grow their companies in the government market.

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