“The Federal Government wants to do business with people they can trust and rely on to provide the products and services they need,” stated Curt Smith, Manager of Government Contractor Services at Cherry Bekaert.
The Hampton Roads Chamber kicked off the 2021 year with the Virtual Government Contractors Forum. The Chamber was pleased to welcome an excellent moderator, panel, and Keynote Speaker who specialize in Government Contracting and were willing to share their insights with Chamber members looking to break into the world of Government Contracting.
Amy Yendall, HCM Solution Consultant for GovConPay, approached the Chamber with the idea to offer this new forum, and the Chamber was eager to facilitate! The Hampton Roads Chamber is unapologetically pro-business and strives to bring meaningful programs and services to our members to set the conditions for businesses to succeed!
Moderator Steve Renz, Vice President, Operations for GovCon Dynamics began the panel discussion by asking, “What advice would you give to a small business owner who is looking into pursuing government contracts?”
Bruce Hacker, President and CEO of INTER-OP, stressed the importance of mentorship as well as resources out there to research agencies and the procurement process. “My advice is to find a mentor or a relationship with someone who has been down the path before. Cultivate relationships. There is a wealth of info on SBA.gov. There are also organizations across the country, such as PTAC, in every state. I would highly recommend doing research on those organizations. These are groups charged with going out to help small businesses better understand the federal procurement process”.
Michael Harris, President of IntellecTechs, Inc., echoed the mentorship sentiment, and also offered ways to find a mentor. “There’s a wealth of info out there. A mentor takes the tsunami of data and turn it into useful information. Use our social media and LinkedIN to find someone in the agency. You need to know what their needs are and what their org is about. A mentor with DOD experience can help you navigate”.
Anthony Mazzeo, Partner, Vandeventer Black LLP, offered another method of getting your foot in the government contracting door. “Being a subcontractor is a great way to start and to learn. You’ll also want to have a lawyer review your subcontract agreements, NDAs, etc,” said Mazzeo.
Renz then went on to address the most common myths about working with the government. Myths such as “The Government is hard to work with”, “Small businesses can’t compete” often stop business owners from pursuing government contracts.
Here is what the panelists had to say about these myths:
“There can be a lot of frustration around the process and the red-tape and bureaucracy but at the end of the day once you have the contract, it really is all about the people, and we have great relationships,” stated Hacker.
“All they want is quality products and services with quality customer service. If you can provide that to them they’ll want to work with you,” stated Renz.
Other topics addressed in the panel discussion were cybersecurity needs, account systems that meet compliance, staying in contact with connections, and 2021 projections.
Keynote speaker Katina Adams, Small Business Programs Manager, Supply Chain Operations and Compliance for Newport News Shipbuilding, Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, spoke to the virtual audience on the practices she uses in her role.
Adams walked participants through forms such as the Prospective Supplier Form and gave insight to what she looks for in Small Businesses before she decides who to contract.
To watch the Virtual Government Contractors Forum, click on the video below.
To view Keynote Speaker, Katina Adams' slides, click here.
Thank you to our Member Spotlight Sponsor, GovConPay.