Oct 31

General Services Administration (GSA) Update

Direct your clients to GSA’s MAS Roadmap

GSA’s website is full of information about the contract award process, but interviews with vendors tell us many find the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS) pages jargon-heavy and hard to navigate, with information not appearing where it would be most useful. Many also say they find the process of getting on the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) very confusing. This is an obvious barrier for companies trying to do business with the government, and seems to be hitting small and innovative ones especially hard.

But that’s all changing, thanks to GSA’s MAS Roadmap, a new website designed to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to get started doing business with the federal government. The roadmap is a new website that offers support to potential vendors and breaks down the offer
process into discrete, easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

Getting companies and emerging technologies onto Schedules and into the hands of customer agencies faster is a key goal of GSA’s plan to make it easier for industry partners to do business with the government, and the MAS Roadmap is a crucial part of making that happen. By making it easier and faster to get on Schedule, GSA is attempting to enable vendors to provide products and services at the speed of innovation, addressing the rapid pace and growth of the government’s needs.

Please encourage your clients to visit the new GSA MAS Roadmap today and begin their journey to get on the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Schedule.

For additional MAS announcements and industry updates please make sure to visit GSA on Interact.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on General Services Administration (GSA) Update
Oct 31

The North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NC DIDI)

By Nimasheena N. Burns, Director Communications and Project Management, NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

The North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NC DIDI) is excited to announce the launch of the initiatives mapping survey for the state’s defense supply chain. This initiative is being managed through a partnership of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and NC State’s Industry Expansion Solutions. With 75% of business professionals reporting a lack of visibility into their supply chains, NC DIDI has coordinated the development of a comprehensive survey of North Carolina defense contractors. The purpose of this survey is to gather insights that will help us to better understand the unique challenges facing our defense companies as well as how we can identify new opportunities for them to grow, diversify, and enter new markets.

NC DIDI hopes to identify potential new markets for at-risk firms and identify local gaps in the supply chain. This work will help point state, local and regional policy makers identify which existing assets can be aligned to respond to supply chain issues. If you are currently or have been a prime or subcontractor through DOD funding within the past five years and have not responded, we encourage you to do so. The survey is online at the following link for those in-state, NC Defense Contractor Survey and a survey for Out-Of-State NC Defense Contractors.

Additional Information:

  • Learn more by visiting www.NCDIDI.com
  • Learn about the pilot program criteria and download an application on the website.
  • Check back often to see if we will be having a town hall in your area this fall.
  • The website will also become a hub for spotlighting businesses in NC as well as a resource for companies looking for up to date insights on the DoD contracting in the state.

Contact information:

Nimasheena N. Burns
Director Communications and Project Management
NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
984-204-2994
Nimasheena.burns@milvets.nc.gov
www.milvets.nc.gov

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on The North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NC DIDI)
Oct 09

McWhorter Aims To Boost Regional Jobs

BY CHRISTINA HALEY O’NEAL, http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/, POSTED OCT 6, 2017

An engineer and mother of three, Heather McWhorter came to the Wilmington area from central Pennsylvania with a purpose: to help area businesses succeed.

McWhorter became the new regional director of the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in early August and has begun the process of meeting partners, learning the region and making her mark on the organization.

“I am just excited to be part of the community. Everybody has been so welcoming,” McWhorter said.

The SBTDC regional center is affiliated with UNCW and the Cameron School of Business, and serves New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, Duplin and Onslow counties. The SBTDC at UNCW is part of a statewide advisory service of the University of North Carolina System, with 16 offices.

“Here at the SBTDC we focus on small- to mid-sized businesses. A lot of what we do is helping businesses to obtain capital,” McWhorter said.

McWhorter came to the Wilmington area to fill the role, after having held a similar position at Penn State University. During her eight-year stint as director there, she helped a similar organization with the university grow its business reach from 250 to 800 clients a year.

Prior to her time with Penn State, she had an eight-year career with a company consulting for the military and NASA to help them solve environmental issues.

At UNCW, McWhorter said she’s using her past experience to expand the regional SBTDC’s successes, visibility and outreach into the business communities of its six-county footprint. In addition, she is looking at making some changes that could strengthen the organization’s service.

“I am an engineer. And my background is in environmental issues but even more so in economic development and entrepreneurship and connecting those with the university,” she said.

The SBTDC, a federal- and state-funded organization, works with for-profit businesses offering a variety services such as general counseling, international business development, technology commercialization services and government contracting. The majority of the services are free.

The SBTDC has specialists who help businesses with strategic planning, cash flow projections, understanding cash flow and understanding competitors through competitive and market analysis, McWhorter said.

Through state partners with the university system, she said the center also guides businesses in military and government contracting, helps university researchers understand the market viability of their lab projects through its technology commercialization services and provides international trade assistance and help local businesses obtaining exporting capital.

The SBTDC also aids business in disaster relief, she said. McWhorter recently was in Whiteville and Fair Bluff to help business within those two communities with recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew last year.

So far this year, the SBTDC has helped more than 270 clients, created and retained more than 440 jobs and helped businesses obtain $8.6 million in financing, McWhorter said, adding that she would like to see those numbers grow.

“I think what I would like to see most is job growth. At the end of the day it’s all about jobs,” she said. “And so that’s part of getting our name out there. Sometimes businesses might fail because they don’t know that we’re here. They start to struggle and maybe if there’s intervention with strategic planning, with business planning, with understanding cash flow, things like that, that we might be able to help.”

The SBTDC’s Wilmington office, located at 803 S. College Road in a neighboring building next to the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is undergoing a remodel.

McWhorter said she is also working with the university to add landscaping and more visible signage to the streetscape in front of the building.

To make the SBTDC even more visible in the community, McWhorter aims to share more of its stories.

“We actually have some successes here. But we don’t have public releases on them. And that’s one of the things that I’m starting to work on because everything we do is confidential by federal law. But there’s processes you can go through to get the clients to sign off saying, ‘Yes, we worked with SBTDC.’ And so I want to be able to tell their story. I think there are so many great stories here to tell about our region.

“And I also I think that when business owners see other business owners succeeding, it makes them want to succeed even more. And they can learn from others. And so success breeds success,” she added.

Another measure she is taking to expand the SBTDC’s role is engaging with the Association of Public Land- Grant Universities and its Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity.

“One of the things I’m doing now for UNCW is something that I did back at Penn State. I’m on a national commission for UNCW now. That is, representing our region to talk about what we are doing in economic development,” McWhorter said. “And so now UNC Wilmington has a seat at the table. I’m on that executive committee, along with a handful of other people, to talk rationally about how do we continue to stay at the forefront of innovation as a nation.”

McWhorter said the SBTDC is looking for another employee and will eventually hire one or two graduate students from the Cameron School of Business to expand its service. The SBTDC currently has three people on staff.

“If you can imagine with just a couple of us, that can be very time intensive. So I’m looking at how we can do more with limited resources,” she said. “I’m looking at graduate students – and we do have a vacancy that we’re going to fill – and then pulling in those statewide resources and then working with our partners. Because at the end of the day, we want to see all of our clients succeed.”

PHOTO:  Heather McWhorter, regional director of the SBTDC at UNCW, is making some changes at the center with a goal to increase the organization’s outreach into the community and help more local businesses. (Photo by Chris Brehmer)
Posted in Press | Comments Off on McWhorter Aims To Boost Regional Jobs
Sep 15

Media Placement Services

By George Griffin, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at A&T University

Media Placement Services

Media Placement Services (MPS) is a full-service research, planning and buying agency based in High Point, North Carolina. They are experts at efficiently planning and buying all media platforms. Established in 1992, by Peggy Shufelt, this woman owned small business has been providing outstanding media campaign support for a host of companies – large and small – in markets all over the United States.

In 2014 business associate, Nandrea Ward contacted, George Griffin, Triad PTAC Counselor, to ask several questions and for assistance in determining if opportunities existed for MPS on the federal level. MPS was currently registered as a NC HUB vendor and active on the state level and with local government. Over several sessions various topics of interest were discussed: creating a capability statement, looking for opportunities on FBO www.fbo.gov, investigating historical awards on FPDS https://www.fpds.gov and assistance with proposal writing.

Later in 2014 Nandrea contacted her PTAC counselor to discuss a pre solicitation from National Institutes of Health (NIH) that Peggy and Nandrea were working to complete. It was a good match for MPS and a chance to share their capability statement. MPS continued working on the proposal for NIH and a short time later submitted a bid and received their first federal contract. MPS continues to seek federal opportunities and receive additional PTAC training. Peggy and Nandrea regularly attend SBTDC/PTAC training events offered across the state http://www.sbtdc.org/business-events/.

There was a solicitation in 2015 for the USAF Band http://www.usafband.af.mil/. They required advertising for a concert tour they were presenting in the fall. Unfortunately, MPS saw the solicitation the day after it closed. In one of the sessions at Marketplace http://www.sbtdc.org/events/marketplace/, MPS was advised to reach out to points of contacts after the solicitation closed to ask if they had gotten what they needed. An email was sent to the POC listed on the USAF Band solicitation with no immediate response. In early 2016, the POC for the USAF Band sent an email and asked for a phone conference. They had an upcoming concert tour in June 2016 and they needed advertising.

The POC told MPS that he received their email after the 2015 solicitation, and that was the only response they had received. MPS advised him that the solicitation was placed under the wrong NAICs code. The only reason MPS saw it was because they look at all the codes having anything to do with advertising and marketing –another tip they got at one of the PTAC training events After many discussions and emails with the USAF Band POC, they did another solicitation with the correct code, MPS won the contract. Four ad campaigns were placed for them in 2016 including two for their JAZZ Band which is a different group from the concert band. They were all very successful in getting more people in attendance at the concerts.

In 2017, the band tour brought them to Charlotte, NC so MPS told them they were going to do a field trip to see them and they welcomed the visit. They arranged for MPS to sit front and center in reserved seats at the concert. They recognized MPS as one of their honored guests and as the advertising agency responsible for getting the word out so more people had a chance to see their band. For MPS, it was a great opportunity to meet their points of contact in person as well as meet and speak with other people who were a part of the decision-making team to learn more about their tour and what issues they run up against in planning tours.

By attending the concert, MPS got a first-hand look at who comes to the concerts. This was valuable targeting information for planning advertising for the band.
Another benefit of being with the band was seeing the performance. MPS was able to give the band some insight and suggestions on how to make the marketing better by highlighting, in the advertising, some special things they do during the performance, like a salute to each branch of the military and a medley of 1940’s hits in 1940’s uniforms.

Reaching out and making personal contact is one tactic that MPS highly recommends in soliciting federal business. The POC’s and decision makers are all people just like us. When they get to know you it makes them more comfortable with you and reduces the risk for them in selecting you or your company to fulfill the contract. It also lets you get to know them and their pain points, so you can make sure you are giving them what they need to make their life easier.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, Success | Comments Off on Media Placement Services
Sep 06

SBIR Proposal Writing Basics: Advice for SBIR/STTR Proposers to Dept. of Energy (DoE)

Gail & Jim Greenwood, Greenwood Consulting Group, Inc.
Copyright © 2017 by Greenwood Consulting Group, Inc.

The Dept. of Energy (DOE) has initiated its first request for SBIR/STTR Phase I proposals for Federal Fiscal Year 2018. DOE has some interesting and unique requirements, so we wanted to highlight some of them to help potential applicants.

If You Don’t Fit the Topic, Don’t Submit. DOE is unique as a granting agency in that it has relatively specific topics in its SBIR/STTR program. If your project doesn’t fit one of those topics, then you should not submit a proposal. By the way, DOE releases two Funding Opportunity Announcements per year, so if your idea doesn’t fit any topics in the current, FY18.1 release, then it may be more appropriate for the FY18.2 FOA that will come out on October 30, 2017.

Letter of Intent. DOE is the only SBIR/STTR agency that requires an applicant to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), or DOE will not accept their subsequent full proposal. The LOI has a particular format, and must be submitted via a process called PAMS (see below), so it is not as simple as just saying you plan to submit. The LOI must be submitted by a given deadline; as discussed below, the FY18.1 LOI deadline has been delayed beyond its original scheduled date of September 5, 2017.

Registration, registrations, and more registrations. As indicated above, the LOI must be submitted via a DOE system called PAMS; before you can use PAMS, your principal investigator and business official must register your business on the system. Then separate registrations will be required so that you can submit your Phase I proposal via grants.gov—it requires a DUNS number and SAM registration. All of this is very doable, but it takes time so be sure to get started early (yesterday) on all the registrations so they don’t become a hindrance to getting your LOI and full Phase I proposal submitted.

Talk to Topic Manager If You Can. DOE has managers for each topic and subtopic in their Phase I SBIR/STTR program. They likely have useful and important information for applicants. Unfortunately, not all of these managers believe they should or need to talk with applicants. Therefore, if you decide to try to contact them, which we strongly recommend that you do, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response.

Be Prepared For Delays. Former presidential candidate Rick Perry vowed to eliminate DOE if he were elected. He was not elected, but he was appointed as the Secretary of Energy over DOE. Perhaps a coincidence, but since Perry took the reins at DOE, its SBIR/STTR program has been glacially slow. This has most recently manifested itself by delays in releasing the FY18.1 FOA/solicitation. It was due to be released on August 14, 2017—now, more than 2 weeks later, it has not been released. Because the FOA (which has instructions for the LOI) hasn’t been released, DOE has now postponed its LOI due date indefinitely. Therefore, if you are going to participate in the DOE SBIR/STTR program, you need to be prepared for such delays, not only on the release of FOAs and LOI deadlines, but also in announcing winners and initiating grants.

Take Advantage of DOE’s Phase 0 Program. If you are interested in submitting a Phase I SBIR or STTR proposal to DOE, then you may want to take advantage of the agency’s Phase 0 program. This initiative makes proposal assistance and resources available to applicants to make their Phase I DOE proposals more competitive. The Phase 0 program is available to any woman- or minority-owned business (WOB or MOB) applying for FY18.1 Phase I SBIR/STTR funding. It also is available to any business in a state where DOE hasn’t seen as much SBIR/STTR activity as they’d like; that extensive list includes the states of AK, DC, GA, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, ME, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NY, OK, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, WA, and WI. You also can qualify for Phase 0 if you are teaming with a DOE Federal Lab in one of the underrepresented states: Ames Laboratory (IA), Idaho National Laboratory (ID), Brookhaven National Laboratory (NY), Savannah River National Laboratory (SC) or Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (WA). For more information or to apply for Phase 0, visit at http://www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0/.

DOE’ s SBIR/STTR programs can be excellent sources of funding for your innovation. Like all agencies, DOE has its share of unique features and requirements with which you must comply or your application will not be competitive. As we all wait for release of the FY18.1 FOA, you may want to review the FY17.1 and FY17.2 FOAs (available at https://science.energy.gov/sbir/funding-opportunities/fy-2017/), register for PAMS and grants.gov, and try to initiate a dialog with a relevant topic manager.

Posted in Blog - Technology Commercialization, Technology Commercialization | Comments Off on SBIR Proposal Writing Basics: Advice for SBIR/STTR Proposers to Dept. of Energy (DoE)
Sep 06

SBTDC and SBIR Client Success Story…Kepley BioSystems, Inc.

Located in the Triad, Kepley BioSystems began as a startup at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN/NC A&T and UNCG). Professor Christopher Kepley, Dr. Anthony Dellinger, and lead inventor Terry E. Brady, decided to develop a replacement for forage fish used as bait in crab and lobster traps. Baiting with the perishable forage fish requires refrigeration on boats and depletes an essential link in the oceanic food chain. The team invented OrganoBait, which is a low-cost, non-perishable, non-toxic, and highly effective man-made bait using natural compounds.

Anthony Dellinger approached the Triad Service Center of the SBTDC in mid-2014 in hopes of receiving assistance with a SBIR Phase I proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was ultimately successful. In addition to Technology Commercialization Services, KBI has worked with other SBTDC programs in the Triad, such as General Business and International Business Development. Through such assistance and their own hard work, KBI has made the following achievements since 2014:

  • Recipient of even (7) state and federal grants totaling $1.3MM, including a $750,000 Phase II from NSF
  • Participant in the 2016 International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Kunshan, China (Duke Kunshan Univerisity). KBI was one of 50 NC companies which were the guests of the China Association of Science and Technology
  • One of 70 finalists in the Hello Tomorrow Challenge in Paris, France, which is the premier event for showcasing and celebrating new science and technology enterprises with global commercialization potential. KBI was one of ten companies in the Food and Agriculture category
  • Subject of an Associated Press (AP) article titled, “Goodbye, herring? Biotech bait gives lobstermen alternative”. The article was printed by the Boston Herald, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
  • Subject of other articles in several publications, such as Scientific American.
  • Selectee for the NSF “Showcase: Making a Difference.” KBI was selected from a pool of 400 SBIR/STTR grant recipients to be highlighted on the NSF website.

KBI also participated in the SBTDC Law Extern Program involving assistance with intellectual property for a separate product.

As with many companies in this relative early phase, KBI continues to look for funding to complete field testing and build a facility to increase production from present levels to 4,000 pieces of bait per hour, making it a key player in the bait market.

For more information, go to http://kepleybiosystems.com

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Sep 06

NIH/CDC SBIR Contract Solicitation PHS 2018-1 Webinar Recording, Transcript, and Slides Now Available

The contract submission deadline is October 20, 2017, 5:00 PM EDT. Please follow the directions in the solicitation very carefully. You must respond exactly to a topic in the solicitation. As always, we encourage you to start the registration and application process early, and reach out the central office or the funding Institute or Center of your choice for assistance.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the NIH SBIR/STTR Program office hosted a webinar to explain and discuss the release of the NIH and CDC SBIR Contract Solicitation (PHS 2018-1).

The difference between contracts and grant solicitations, iCorps at NIH, the eCPS submission process, and specific topics with Program Managers from NCI, NHLBI, NIAID, NIDA, and CDC were addressed. A live Question & Answer session with host, Matt Portnoy, concluded the webinar.

The slide presentation, webinar recording, and transcript are now available for your reference.

*Please be advised, an automated transcription service was used, and there may be grammatical errors and typos in the transcript. The webinar went over the allotted time, causing transcription services to stop at 3:30 PM. We have done our best to correct as many errors as possible, but you are encouraged to reach out to us by email at sbir@od.nih.gov if anything remains unclear.

Please check NOT-OD-17-089 or topics, contracting officer contact information and other details. You can also find the SBIR contract solicitation link on our Funding page and on FedBizOpps.

Those interested in the PHS small business research GRANT programs, where investigator-initiated research ideas are encouraged, should use the SBIR (PA-17-302) and STTR (PA-17-303) Omnibus solicitations. You can find solicitation links on our Funding page. To understand better the differences between grants and contracts, view the Apply page.

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Aug 30

SBA Seeking Input on Reducing Regulations

Public comments sought regarding regulations to repeal, replace, or modify

On August 15, 2017, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) released a request for information (“RFI”) www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-15/pdf/2017-17176.pdf seeking input from the public as to which SBA regulations should be repealed, replaced, or modified because they are obsolete, unnecessary, ineffective, or burdensome. Comments are requested on or before October 15, 2017.

The RFI notes that federal agencies have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that the regulations they issue do not have an adverse economic impact on those affected by them. Various executive orders over numerous administrations have expressly directed agencies to review their regulations with an eye towards reducing the time and money necessary to comply. Two recent executive orders provide the framework for SBA’s current effort to reduce the regulatory burden on the participants in the agency’s programs. One of SBA’s primary objectives is to continue to promote economic growth, innovation, and job creation in the small business sector, and to ensure that disaster survivors have the clear policy and procedural guidance needed to quickly obtain financial assistance to rebuild their lives. Those responding to SBA’s request for feedback are encouraged to keep these objectives in mind.

The recent Executive Orders seeking to reduce the number and costs of federal regulations include Executive Order 13771, signed by President Trump on January 30, 2017, requiring agencies to identify two existing regulations that the agency may cancel for every new regulation it proposes to implement, and Executive Order 13777, in which President Trump ordered agencies to evaluate existing regulations to determine ones to be repealed, replaced, or modified.

Through the RFI, SBA seeks comments as to SBA regulations that parties believe impose unnecessary burdens or costs that exceed their benefits, eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation, or are ineffective or outdated. The RFI includes the following list of questions:

  • Are there SBA regulations that have become unnecessary or ineffective and, if so, what are they?
  • Are there SBA regulations that can be repealed without impairing SBA’s regulatory programs and, if so, what are they?
  • Are there SBA regulations that have become outdated and, if so, how can they be modernized to better accomplish their regulatory objectives?
  • Are there SBA regulations that are still necessary, but which have not operated as well as expected such that a modified approach is justified, and what is that approach?
  • Are there SBA regulations or regulatory processes that are unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve regulatory objectives more efficiently?
  • Are there any technological developments that can be leveraged to modify, streamline, or repeal any existing SBA regulatory requirements?
  • Are there any SBA regulations that are not tailored to impose the least burden on the public?
  • How can SBA best obtain and consider accurate, objective data about the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing SBA regulations?
  • Are there any specific suggestions of ways SBA can better achieve its regulatory objectives?

Comments may be submitted, identified by Docket Number SBA-2017-0005, using either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Identify comments by “Docket Number SBA-2017-0005, Reducing Regulatory Burden RFI,” and follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Mail: Holly Turner, Regulatory Reform Officer, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW., Washington, DC 20416.

SBA will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on SBA Seeking Input on Reducing Regulations
Aug 30

Cybersecurity

By Rebecca Barbour, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at North Carolina State University

Cybersecurity is a topic that continues to receive a lot of attention and discussion, particularly for federal contractors. The newest version of the DFARS clause, 252.204-7012 “Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting” has many small business concerned as we approach the December 2017 deadline for compliance. If you are a small business engaged in defense contracts, or are considering entering that market, it is important to understand what this clause and its requirements may mean for your business.

Brief History

It is important to understand that cybersecurity requirements for contractors are not new. The 2013 version of DFARS 252.204-7012 required contractors to provide security for covered information and referenced NIST SP 800-53, which detailed cybersecurity requirements for federal information systems. As this publication was written for federal agencies and internal information systems, contractors faced challenges in interpreting and implementing these standards for their own systems. In 2015, NIST published a new set of standards, SP 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations”, which was written specifically for federal contractors. In follow up to this publication, DFARS clause 252.204-7012 was updated and expanded. Under the final DFARS regulation, contractors are required to provide “adequate security” for all covered contractor information systems that handle covered defense information. As a minimum, adequate security must meet the cybersecurity standards published in NIST SP 800-171. In addition to providing adequate security, contractors must also “rapidly report” cyber incidents to DOD through the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Security (DIB CS) program system.

Applicability

DFARS 252.204-7012 is a mandatory clause for all contracts for non-COTS items. In other words, the clause will not be included on contracts that are only for commercial off the shelf products and services. Contractors that only deal in COTS acquisitions will not be affected by the DFARS clause. For those contractors that are dealing with non-COTS items, these clauses are mandatory for all contracts, and must be “flowed-down” to subcontractors. Covered defense information includes any controlled unclassified technical information (CTI) and other information as listed in the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Registry. Examples of covered defense information include technical engineering drawings and data, or export controlled items. Covered defense information will be identified in the contract and can include information developed in the performance of the contract. It does not include the contractor’s internal, incidental information, such as human resources or financial information. It’s important to note that there are not “new” categories of covered information. Previous versions of the DFARS clause required that this information be protected, and contractors dealing with this information should have already had some safeguards in place.

What to Do?

With the December 2017 deadline for compliance looming, contractors need to be cognizant of their status and individual requirements. If you are concerned that your contract may include covered defense information, you should immediately contact your contracting officer for clarification. If you are dealing with covered information, or intend to pursue contracts that include covered information, then you must become compliant with the NIST SP 800-171 standards. While this may seem onerous or intimidating for a small business, there are resources currently available, and under development, that provide insight on the requirements and compliance process. Updates, FAQ’s, and tools are available online through the DOD Procurement Toolbox at www.dodprocurementtoolbox.com, with more information and guidance to come. Information and training is also available through the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at https://www.nist.gov/mep/cybersecurity-resources-manufacturers.

Important Links

NIST SP 800-171 http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-171.pdf

DFARS 252.204-7012 http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfars/html/current/252204.htm

CUI Registry https://www.archives.gov/cui

Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Program https://dod.dibnet.mil

DoD Procurement Toolbox www.dodprocurementtoolbox.com

NIST MEP Cybersecurity Resources https://www.nist.gov/mep/cybersecurity-resources-manufacturers

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on Cybersecurity
Aug 14

Chapel Hill Creamery Reopens

Chapel Hill Creamery has been in operation since 2001.  The creamery began milking 9 cows and making 3 cheeses, and grew steadily from 9 cows to 30, until July of 2016 when the Creamery was linked to an outbreak of salmonella.  After a voluntary recall of all cheeses, Creamery owners Florence Hawley and Portia McKnight worked with Liz Morris of the SBTDC as well as with several food safety experts from NCSU to recover from the devastating recall and resume operations.

With the help of the SBTDC, grant and loan money was found to help fund some physical plant improvements, and rethink production to achieve a more streamlined operation.  The Creamery business plan was developed, reviewed, and put in place.  The SBTDC provided a great deal of one-on-one counseling in areas from marketing to computer assistance to fund raising.  Liz was particularly helpful in encouraging networking opportunities with local government staff as well as industry contacts.  The  NXLEVEL business class was another opportunity provided by the SBTDC for learning and networking.

After 7 months out of production, the Creamery was able to rehire 8 of the 9 former employees, and began production of cheese once again.  Customers of Chapel Hill Creamery have responded enthusiastically to the reopening, and are excited to have the cheese back in the market, and are also happy to know that the Creamery will once again be hosting farm tours so that they can come visit our staff but more importantly the cows and pigs on this lovely farmland just outside Chapel Hill.

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Jun 22

Carroll Communications

By Scott Barker, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at East Carolina University

Carroll Communication’s contract with General Dynamics was over a year in the making. As a tier one defense contractor, General Dynamics, is very selective about companies with whom they partner. The contract was confirmed and signed at the Dynamics Connections event in Nashville, Tennessee last month. The key note address at the event was delivered by Mr. Leon Panetta. Under the terms of the agreement, Carroll Communications will support sales, technical customer service and installation services for the Fortress Wireless product portfolio, including the Fortress LTE (consisting of Fixed LTE Solutions, and Deployable LTE Solutions) and Fortress secure Wi-Fi Mesh Tactical Communications product lines in the U.S.

“As a company made up of 80% veterans, Carroll Communications, is in the business of getting the best gear into the hands of the war fighters,” said Byron Carroll, President of Carroll Communications. “We see this is as a continuation of our service, and we know that General Dynamics has the best equipment to protect our nation and keep our troops safe. Lives depend on us getting this right and that’s why we are thrilled to have General Dynamics as a partner.”

Carroll Communications is a proud U.S.-based Service Disabled Veteran owned and HUBZONE certified small business. Its mission is to support the U.S. and its allies with high resolution solutions which provide for their needs, safety and defense while helping our great country grow. Carroll Communications product & service delivery model includes project management, assessments, and services and product supply. Carroll Communications brings together an experienced and talented staff with partner companies to assist in developing the very best of solutions. Through professional program and project management, Carroll Communications connects government agencies and corporations with the right product and services. For more information on Carroll Communications please visit their website www.carrollcommunications.guru
In addition to the Department of Veteran Affairs, Joint Base Andrews, Naval Surface Warfare Center, SPAWAR, Camp Lejeune, and DISA, Carroll Communications also helps commercial business with IT and communications needs. Carroll Communications is based just NW of North Myrtle Beach and SE of Tabor City, in the Township of Bug Hill, NC. Carroll Communication works on location in Charleston, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and in Washington DC.

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Jun 22

Beware of Phishing Attempts

By Scott Barker, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at East Carolina University

There has been a growing level of deceptive attempts to attract companies looking to pursue governmental contracts into registering with false sites designed to charge money for services that are normally done for free. These phishing exercises have become more and more sophisticated in recent times even fooling companies that have been doing business with the federal government for quite a while.

One common attempt at fooling unsuspecting customers involves changing the domain of an official site to something very similar which can fool the customer into thinking that he/she is registering on an official government site. For example, one recent phishing scheme involved creating an alternate site by changing the name of the System Award Management (SAM) web-site from SAM.gov to SAM.com or changing a .mil address to a .com address. Once a customer gets into the phony site, most information is very similar to that offered on the official site only in order to list one’s company in the registry; there is a fee to do so.

Once a customer pays the fee as requested, the site now owns the new account and will continue to charge the customer yearly fees to maintain its registration. Getting your information release from the company can prove to be very difficult as well.

Another recent example of something similar involves a very successful company that has been working with the federal government for many years. The owner of the company was sent an email from someone claiming to be a sub-contracting administrator for the Navy indicating that she had seen the company’s information via a recent NAICS search and was looking for a company just like theirs for some possible sub-contracting work; the imposter asked for an updated capabilities statement and gave some suggestions about avoiding email firewalls when responding.

The PTAC client company believed the email was from an official Navy sub-contracting administrator. This email string was eventually joined by someone claiming to be a Navy Lieutenant from Naval Contracting Command indicating that a recent review of their account revealed that everything was in excellent shape; high levels of praise were given to the company owner for maintaining such an updated posture on several sites. Then the ‘Navy Lieutenant’ commented that there was one particular site on which the company had overlooked registering: Virtual Government Expo Network and suggested that the company would be well-served by registering on the site as soon as possible. Upon opening up the site, the company started to get a bit suspicious as a fee of $199 was being requested for the registration.

After a quick call to the local PTAC office to ask for advice, the company was informed of the deception and told to delete the email string.

As technology advances, so too do the complexity and realistic appearances of fraudulent attempts to trick unsuspecting customers. We in the PTAC business are cognizant of this growing trend and remain vigilant in our efforts to best serve our customers.

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Jun 14

United Drug Supply (UDS)

By Rebecca Barbour, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at North Carolina State University

United Drug Supply (UDS) is a pharmaceutical and medical supply distributor dedicated to serving our nation’s military facilities. As a WOSB Certified business, UDS has been on the fast track for growth since it’s founding in 2010. The company was recently featured on the Inc 5000 list, was named one of America’s Outstanding Navy Reserve Employers in 2016, and received America’s Patriot Award in 2017.

UDS began their relationship with the North Carolina PTAC when several representatives attended a Marketplace conference. Since this introduction, UDS and their PTAC counselor have worked together on business development strategies and market research. Throughout this process, the company has continued to grow their federal sales, driven by the hard work and dedication of CEO Samantha Godfrey and her team.

CEO Samantha Godfrey states, “The thing I love the most about having the support of organizations like PTAC and others locally in NC including: CEDNC & NCDBA  is the ability for us now to combine innovation & expertise  in contracting to aid not only patient care but aid in the growth of other small manufacturer businesses in getting their items in front of VA & DOD Buyers.”

The company currently holds a FSS 65IIA Med-Surge Supply Schedule with over 1900 items, as well as prime vendor agreements with both the department of defense and the department of veteran’s affairs. As of June 2017, they also just received an award for FSS 65IB. Local NC companies were recently added to their VA Contract: DR Burton- Vpep/Opep Device, United Urologics – Catheterss & Altaravision – Innovative Endoscopic Device NDŌʜᴅ. With additional contracts in the pipelines, we are sure to hear more good things about UDS in the future. Interested in learning more or have a product in your pipeline and interested in the VA/DOD market? Feel free to reach out to them at info@uniteddrugsupply.com or on their website at www.uniteddrugsupply.com  

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success, Uncategorized | Comments Off on United Drug Supply (UDS)
Jun 05

NC Live has A New Look and is Open for Business!

While the functionality and navigation remains the same, the New NCLive has updated its look, streamlined response times, and enhanced access from mobile devices. To find a list of Business and Management or Data and Demographics resources, continue to click the “By Subject” tab noted above. Your current log in and password information remain the same.

Visit the New NCLive here. New Funding Options for NC Small Business

Local Public Offerings (LPO) allow NC businesses to directly approach companies for up to $250,000. Featured in an April 2017, News and Observer (N & O) article, LPOs were designed to be a fairly simple way for entrepreneurs to raise money from offerings not registered with regulators. Businesses can advertise or deliver a personal sales pitch to potential investors.

Even though a registered broker or crowdfunding platform is not required, regulators will still be monitoring the process. And, since this is a “first-of-its-kind” way to raise funds, they will be available through April 1, 2020, at which time they will be reviewed for effectiveness and safety.

This option for fund raising complements the crowdfunding legislation that was passed by NC in 2016. You can read more about LPOs here or read the full N & O article here .

A link to the Benji Jones article at Locavesting is here:http://www.locavesting.com/crowdfunding/north-carolina-forges-ahead-with-intrastate-crowdfunding/

Link to N & O article is here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article146075414.html

 

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Jun 05

America’s SBDC Announces Survey Results

America’s SBDC recently conducted a survey on the ways different generations approach and perceive entrepreneurship. The findings indicate there is an opportunity for local SBDCs to share their services and expertise in the local business community, with millennials, and using social media.

Here are a few of the survey findings:

  • Almost half (49%) of Millennials intend to start their own business in the next three years.
  • More than half of Millennials (57%) have no knowledge of Small Business Developments Centers.
  • Most (three-quarters) Millennials would be encouraged to start a small business if they knew where to go for help.
  • 83% of Millennials don’t know where to go for help.

 

To learn more about the survey and associated findings, go to: http://americassbdc.org/SBDCGenStudy/

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Jun 01

Start with the End in Mind

By John Ujvari, SBIR Program Specialist, NC SBTDC

With summer right around the corner, vacation is on most of our minds. Let’s use the idea of vacation planning and how that relates to developing an SBIR/STTR proposal. When the first day of vacation finally arrives, you are excited to hop in the car or catch a flight. Do you know where you are headed? Is it the beach, the mountains, the jungle or perhaps a tropical island? Of course you do. If you are driving, you looked up directions and know how long of a drive it is. If you are flying, you have purchased tickets and made sure your connecting flights match. Would you take a vacation and just hop in the car or catch a flight not knowing where you are going to go? For most of us, the answer is “no”, although I must say that an unknown destination is somewhat intriguing. You know that once you arrive, you have accommodations set up and you have thought about the various things you will do to fill your days.

How can this possibly relate to SBIR/STTR? It has to do with starting your journey to SBIR/STTR-land with a clear destination in mind. The destination being the product / service that results from the research you carry out in Phase 1 and 2. The federal agency that you apply to, in their proposal review process, wants to be sure that they are funding your business to get to a particular destination. That particular destination, or “The End” as I like to say, has to be a product or a service that fulfills the mission of the agency and has a significant market need. You must show the reviewers that the funding that they provide will be impactful in carrying out the research and product development.

We have seen many proposals that are well-written, have a solid research plan, and team that is top-notch in their field. What some of these proposals are lacking is the product and market description! The SBTDC is available, via its no-cost counseling / advisory service to help your business strategize about these important concepts. We are also available to review your proposal prior to submission to the agency. We ask that you submit your proposal to us at least 2 weeks before the deadline. This way you will have enough time to act upon our recommendations to strengthen your proposal.

In conclusion, when you consider SBIR/STTR funding, be sure that your destination is a solid product or service, something that fulfills a major need and will ultimately bring your business revenue. Happy summer travels!

Posted in Blog - Technology Commercialization, Technology Commercialization | Comments Off on Start with the End in Mind
Jun 01

STTR Awardee Highlight: Clinical Sensors Awarded Over $1.5M in NIH Grants to Advance Nitric Oxide Diagnostic for Sepsis

By Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer

Clinical Sensors Inc., a small diagnostic device company in Research Triangle Park, has won two grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the development of its point-of-care device that measures a patient’s blood nitric oxide level within a few seconds.

Early and rapid recognition of nitric oxide is critical to life-saving care for sepsis, a life-threatening illness commonly known as “blood poisoning,” caused by the body’s overwhelming response to infection.

“These two awards will help us demonstrate the clinical impact of our technology, which is designed to directly measure nitric oxide and related metabolites from biological fluids,” said Philippe Chemla, Ph.D., CEO of Clinical Sensors. “Our device requires a single blood sample at bedside to quickly deliver this information.”

A $1.29 million Phase 2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant will extend this work, including a clinical study at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center’s intensive care unit (ICU) at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, the company said in a news release. Patients with severe burns often develop sepsis, leading to prolonged hospital stays, increased costs and a higher risk of death.

“This NIH-supported study will use our device to follow 120 patients during their ICU stays and demonstrate the dynamic nature of nitric oxide in these patients,” said Jon McDunn, Ph.D., head of research and development at Clinical Sensors.

Dr. Bruce Cairns, professor of surgery and director of the Jaycee Burn Unit will be a co-principal investigator on the grant and will lead the clinical study, McDunn said.

Clinical Sensors also won a $215,000 Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grant to add the measurement of low molecular weight S-nitrosothiols to its sensor platform. S-nitrosothiols are important compounds that store nitric oxide in the body. Currently, there is no reliable method to measure these compounds to better assess their role in sepsis and other diseases, the company said.

Clinical Sensors has been awarded $3.8 million in NIH grants since 2014.

Its latest federal support follows a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in late 2016 that will also support development of the nitric oxide diagnostic device. NCBiotech also awarded the company $3,000 in 2014 to support a business intern.

Sepsis is a common occurrence in hospitals, with over 1.6 million patients diagnosed annually in the United States. For every hour that sepsis diagnosis is delayed, a patient’s risk of death increases by over 7 percent.

Delayed treatment is believed to play a significant role in many of the 250,000-plus deaths that occur each year from sepsis, according to Clinical Sensors.

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Apr 27

Atriax Group, LLC

By Noah Robins, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at Western Carolina University

The Atriax Group is an award-winning full-service architecture, engineering, interior design and construction firm headquartered in Hickory, NC, that has proudly supported the North Carolina SBTDC/PTAC since 2003. Atriax initially connected with PTAC for help with making the jump from subcontractor status to prime for Federal contracts. Since expanding into the Federal market, Atriax has enjoyed a great deal of success contracting with Veterans Affairs, Air National Guard, Air Force, National Park Service and many other agencies. PTAC assistance has included:

  • Help locating business opportunities
  • Advice about marketing and outreach to agencies
  • Interpreting business development program regulations and requirements
  • Help navigating teaming arrangements and joint ventures

Most recently, Atriax reached out to PTAC for specific help with the regulations, eligibility requirements and application process for VA SDVOSB verification for a new joint venture that the company is leading. PTAC provided help with researching and distilling the pertinent regulations (as well as new changes to those regulations) and shared guidance with the client.

Atriax has distinguished itself with an impressive resume of projects. Locally, the most visible mark Atriax has left might be in its own offices in downtown Hickory where the firm renovated and adaptively used a 1912 historic home for their headquarters. The house is now wired for high-speed internet activities, includes large staff offices and a state-of-the-art conference room. Regarding more regional projects, the firm has been selected for projects with Asheville, Salisbury, Charleston, Fayetteville and Durham VA Medical Centers. The company enjoys great success with its current customer base. George Auten, President of Atriax said, “I like to brag that we are doing lots of work on these campuses. Nothing says you have satisfied the customer like repeat business!”
Nationally, Atriax has been part of an effort to support a prescription drug pharmacy mission for the US for the Department of Veterans Affairs. These facilities provide more prescriptions on a daily basis than any of the major chain drug stores. Atriax provides planning, design, construction oversight and project management to this effort. “Each site has its own challenge”, says Ed Henson, Vice President of Atriax. “It is a great program for us. Plus, Atriax is a Service-Disabled, Veteran Owned company, and it is particularly gratifying to be involved in meaningful work for the VA.”

“We appreciate all that PTAC has done for us during our rapid growth from a 2-person consulting firm to a 25 person office. We have many developing markets and new business and we can thank PTAC and many others for our success,” says Auten. “Our clients, regardless of the type of project, are challenging us to do more, to do it faster, greener and better and to make their business lives easier. We are providing those solutions and exceeding their expectations.” The company currently has projects from Lake Hickory to Muskogee, Oklahoma. Atriax is the also the recipient of the Catawba County Faith in the Future award for 2010 from the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. To contact Atriax, please call or email Bob Sinclair at 828.315.9962 bob.sinclair@atriaxgroup.com. For more information, please visit http://atriaxgroup.com/.

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Apr 27

Tiger VI Projects in Asheville Bring Diverse Business Opportunities

By Noah Robins, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at Western Carolina University

In April 2014, the City of Asheville submitted an application to the Federal Highway Administration to fund six interconnected transportation projects through the TIGER VI Program. In November 2014, the US Secretary of Transportation visited Asheville to announce that the city was awarded a $14.6 million Federal award to support the development of several projects, including:

  • RADTIP (including Five Points Roundabout)
  • The Clingman Forest and Town Branch Greenways
  • French Broad River West Greenway
  • Livingston Street Complete Street

The estimated cost for purchasing right of way and construction is $37 million. These projects have been in the planning phase since 2010 and are now moving into the construction phase. The City of Asheville selected Beverly Grant /Barnhill Contracting JV to be the construction manager for preconstruction services. The work will include asphalt trail construction, boardwalk structures, bridge structures, associated storm water management features, landscaping, construction of a roundabouts, intersection improvements, traffic signal upgrades, curb and gutter, signs and markings, on-road bicycle facilities, parallel greenway trail, on-street parking, sidewalks, streetscape, street furniture, public art and other amenities.

The first phase includes construction of a 2.2 mile section of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, a planned 17-mile multi-modal corridor in Asheville along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. In addition to improved intersections and bridge reconstruction, the project includes roadway improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways, on-street parking, and storm water improvements along Lyman Street and Riverside Drive adjacent to the French Broad River. The project will improve the horizontal and vertical clearance at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge, accommodate truck turning movements at the intersection of Craven street and Riverside Drive and improve three railroad crossings in the area.

The City and prime contractors encourage maximum participation from diverse small businesses. For full project information and updates, visit http://www.ashevillenc.gov/departments/community/riverfront/radtip/project_updates.htm. For subcontracting opportunities with Beverly Grant / Barnhill, visit https://www.barnhillplanroom.com/details.php?job=256&jobName=Tiger+VI+Suite+of+Projects

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Apr 05

Crocker’s Incorporated

By George Griffin, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at North Carolina A&T State University

Crocker’s, Inc. is a small business originally formed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1991. Patti Crocker formed the business without partners and with the intention of creating a home-based business in order to remain at home while raising her family. After much effort, study and perseverance, Patti became a state licensed specialty contractor.

Crocker’s, Inc. specializes in the renovation, modernization and new installation of vertical transportation equipment (elevators) exclusively for agencies of the federal government. Since beginning operations, Crocker’s, Inc. has completed numerous high-tech elevator renovations throughout the United States and abroad. The Veterans Administration, US Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and General Services Administration are regular customers.

As an example, the Federal Aviation Administration has contracted with Crocker’s, Inc. to renovate the air traffic control towers in Long Beach, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Bakersville, CA, Honolulu, HI, Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Las Vegas, NV, San Diego, CA (Brown Field) Burbank, CA, and Santa Barbara, CA. The work has been completed and they look forward to their next FAA project. “We are construction/renovation providers for the most demanding federal agencies throughout the United States. Crocker’s has contracted repeatedly with the same federal agencies on numerous occasions, a testament to the quality of our work and to the satisfaction of our customers.”

Patti Crocker
Their supervisor, with thirty- seven years of experience, including installations in the U.S. Capitol Building, oversees field operations. Her standards and expectations are guarantors of the field team’s success. Crocker’s hires qualified and talented craftsmen.

Most recently, Patti began to explore opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses. By directive of the SBA, Patti contacted George Griffin, Triad PTAC counselor, when she needed guidance and assistance in establishing Crocker’s, Inc. as a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB). Even though Crocker’s, Inc. has always been owned by Patti in its entirety, unless the proper certification is received, the government does not recognize the business as a WOSB.

Upon completion of the application process, Crocker’s, Inc. was designated a Woman-Owned Small Business. In the immediate days following the important designation, Crocker’s, Inc. was awarded its first WOSB contract to renovate a freight elevator at West Point Military Academy in New York. Currently, Crocker’s, Inc. has projects underway in Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Georgia, and soon, New York.

While the business continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Crocker’s, Inc. will always be a home-based business operated from a single room in Patti’s rural North Carolina home.

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Apr 05

“Doing Business with North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)”

By Mark G. Mills, SBTDC/PTAC Program Director at North Carolina State University

In last month’s PTAC newsletter I addressed the NCDOT’s 2016-2025 State Transportation plan. The Institute www.theinstitutenc.org in conjunction with NCDOT will be offering workshops across the state addressing certification, pre-qualification, supportive services and upcoming roadway projects. The events are free by you must register to attend.

  • April 19, Cape Fear Community College
  • May 10, Fayetteville Technical Community College
  • May 24, NC DOT TRIAD Regional Transportation Management Center
  • June 28, Catawba Valley Community College
  • July 19, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

For additional information please contact Alyssa Mako, Project Coordinator amako@theinstitutenc.org or (919) 956.2331

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on “Doing Business with North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)”
Apr 05

“Competition Makes Us Better”

By George Griffin, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at North Carolina A&T State University

Just like in sports, competition makes our businesses better. In basketball, March Madness is often a real “educational “experience. It is important to keep an eye on your competitors because customers are comparing your companies each day. They pick winners and losers with their dollars. In government contracting 4 tools can be helpful for a quick competitor analysis. Try checking out a few competitors but start with yourself.

1. SAM – System for Award Management

  • Select search records and insert their name or Duns number.
  • Select View details. Observe NAICS codes, Business Type and POC’s.

2. Dynamic Small Business Search

  • This is a good marketing tool for many companies. How are you competitors using it?  Is your profile fresh or needing attention?

3. Websites

  • Often tell you what is important to a company. What is their differentiator?
  • Show the company’s capabilities, may include their Capability Statement.
  • Show current and past customers and may indicate target customers.
  • Look for leading indicators of changes in business model.

4. Federal Procurement Data System(view past federal awards)

In box below EZ Search insert Company Duns number or Name. Duns number is more accurate.  Select – Date Signed from the Sorting Box on the right to bring most recent award to the top. Drill down to determine some details of the award.
NAICS codes can also be inserted in EZ Search Box for award history.

Contact your local PTAC counselor for additional assistance
(http://www.sbtdc.org/pdf/ptac_map.pdf)

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Mar 14

Raising a Technology from Birth

technews-raising-a-tech

By:  John Ujvari, SBIR Program Specialist, NC SBTDC

Akin to raising a child, building a business around a commercializable technology is a long, stressful, although mostly exhilarating process. The day you start your business may be of your most memorable experiences. The horizon appears limitless and your dreams abound. Challenges, however, arise. The first money into the business, often SBIR and STTR Phase 1, acts to soothe the business and get it on track to direct the technology to the next milestone. Often the first submission of a Phase 1 proposal does not lead to funding. The sleepless nights continue, until after two or three resubmissions, the project is finally funded.

The results of the phase 1 research prove that your technology, once just a glimmer in your eye, has great potential. The next major hurdle becomes turning the technology into a commercializable product. Developing a phase 2 proposal, which includes a detailed commercialization plan is a similarly cumbersome and time-consuming task. A commercialization plan requires countless hours of interviewing potential customers, follow-on investors and researching competitors. Most people you reach out to do not respond and you begin to think that commercializing a technology is more than you bargained for. But perseverance and patience reign. You stick with it and after several months, you have the information you need to wrap a compelling business case around your technology.

Your phase 2 SBIR/STTR is funded and work commences. Over the next two years, your technology blooms. Your research is, for the most part, complete and development ensues. The technology is field tested, re-worked and tested again. There are numerous bumps in the road. Your technology doesn’t scale, you can’t find adequate business space and team members don’t work out. You are perplexed and wonder what is going on. You work out the complex technical kinks in the technology, over many sleepless nights, and then, finally, the phase 2 work is completed. Your team is extremely proud that the solution you had originally hoped to create in your technology is now a reality. It seems like the most difficult part is behind you now.

The process of acquiring your first customer denotes that commercialization has now commenced. You’ve never done this before and you are learning on the fly. Surrounding yourself with strong influences, including a board of advisors and legal and accounting support goes a long way in helping to walk you through the process of marketing, selling, manufacturing and distribution. Mentorship, through the SBTDC, for example is the key to becoming successful.

Much sooner than expected, the business expenses start to take a toll on your bank account. You need a source of funding. You sell some investments to get the mounting expenses paid. Getting into the big leagues in business often means that you will have to hand off many of the business development and investment tasks to someone with more experience. You have difficulty letting go, but know that doing so will allow your technology and business reach its full potential. You hire a CEO with experience in your industry who takes the lead on many of the operational tasks and successfully attracts significant outside funding. You remain an integral part of the business, but your day-to-day tasks have changed significantly.

There comes the day that your business has attracted the attention of a suitor, a larger company that would like to acquire your business. The news is bitter sweet. The potential financial reward, the opportunity for your product to gain a world-wide reach is coupled with the melancholy that comes with seeing your baby all grown up and riding off into the sunset. It’s been a long road. Was it all worth it? Indeed it was. You started from scratch, you rode the highs as well as the lows, and at the end of the day, your contribution to society, and possibly the world, is appreciated by many, but no one more than your own self.

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Mar 02

SUCCESS STORY: Owls Nest Enterprises, LLC

By Terry Stroud, SBTDC/ PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University

Owls Nest Enterprises, LLC is a Native American, VOSB, HUBZone, SDB business based in Cherokee, NC. Owners, Jim Owle and Audrey West have built a growing business providing a wide range of Facility Support Services.

As their PTAC counselor, I have routinely worked with them developing their business, securing the registrations and certifications necessary to pursue their government contracting goals. We have had many conversations regarding their goals for their business, and the strategy required to achieve those goals. In our first meeting, we discussed a detailed methodical approach to develop the company. Step by step, the client accomplished their certifications, actively sought opportunities they could effectively perform, developed their business skills, and developed a capability statement that showcases the results of their efforts thus far.

The clients have worked tirelessly throughout the process and their efforts have recently paid off in the form of a Federal subcontracting opportunity, as well as, finalizing the details on a relationship with the prime contractor under the relatively new SBA All Small Mentor Protégé Program. The clients and I have had many meetings and conversations over the past several weeks assisting with questions and details associated with their new venture. The client’s attention to detail has served them well throughout the process and should ensure that the resulting relationship with their new Mentor will be a productive one for both entities involved. The two companies complement each other, and they work well together. When we first discussed the All Small Mentor Protégé Program as a possibility for their company, it became apparent that this would be a good fit. In assessing their past performance and certifications, it was evident that they have a lot to offer as a Protégé. The mentoring they will receive in the program will give them the needed boost to take their company to a new level of performance, and will assist in preparing them for their ultimate goal of participation in the 8(a) business development program in the future.

Both Jim Owle and Audrey West have expressed their appreciation for assistance received from the PTAC counselor as they have worked together throughout the years. With their pending participation in the All Small Mentor Protégé Program, the methodical, steady growth they have experienced thus far is likely to accelerate.

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Mar 02

The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program – Is it the Right Fit for Your Business?

By Terry Stroud, SBTDC/ PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University

In creating this program, the SBA chose to include Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, Women Owned Small Businesses, and Historically Underutilized Business Zone Businesses under an all-inclusive mentor-protégé program modeled on the successful 8(a) mentor-protégé program. Whether you are a successful prime contractor (potential Mentor, a for-profit business of any size), or a capable small business wanting to grow your business in the government contracting realm (potential Protégé), one should closely examine the program to see if it is a good fit for your company.

The goal of the program is to develop the Protégé firms through their relationship with the Mentor. Ultimately, the protégé attains the experience and knowledge necessary to compete for government contracts without outside assistance from a mentor. For a successful relationship, both the Mentor and Protégé need to benefit. The benefits are typically different for the two entities involved in the program.

Mentor Perspective

A potential Mentor has to consider many issues and answer the question, “How would my participation in the program benefit my business?” Below are some of the benefits of Mentors in the program:

  • Becoming a Mentor may give your business access to some contracts that you otherwise might not be eligible for.
  • You may routinely win contracts that have specific small business requirements or certifications that your business does not possess.
  • You may be in need of a reliable subcontractor and have been unable to find a suitable solution. This could be the opportunity you need to develop one for a long term relationship to fit your needs.

The possibilities and answers are different for each business. However, one should take the time to consider the merits of the program, and to determine if your participation as a Mentor would benefit your business.

Protégé Perspective

The issues of a potential Protégé are essentially the same as a potential Mentor, “How would my participation in the program benefit my business?” As defined by the SBA, Mentor-provided assistance can be sought for any, or all of the following activities:

  • Management and Technical Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Contracting Assistance
  • Trade Education
  • Business Development Assistance
  • General and/or Administrative Assistance.

The possibilities and answers are also different for each potential Protégé business.  Time should be spent to consider all of the possibilities the program has to offer, and to determine if your participation as a Protégé would benefit your business.

Summary

The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program is not the answer for all businesses. However, for those who can identify specific areas where it could benefit, it has the potential to open up opportunities that did not previously exist. Working with my clients, I am beginning to see success with the program, benefiting both the Mentor and the Protégé. Is it the right fit for your Business? We can assist you in researching and answering that question. To learn more about the program specifics, take a look at the information provided at the SBA website, and contact your local PTAC counselor.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program – Is it the Right Fit for Your Business?
Jan 31

SUCCESS STORY: Lain Consulting LLC

By Nick Economou, SBTDC-PTAC counselor at UNC-Charlotte

Lain Consulting LLC is an award winning, full service consulting firm specializing in establishing the nonprofit, nonprofit management consulting, small business certification services and government contracting. Established in 2004 in Charlotte, North Carolina by its owner and Chief Visionary Architect, LaPronda Spann, the company has been successful in the procurement of over $1.7 million in grants and contracts from public and private foundations and local government for local and regional clients as well as the company.

Since 2010, the Charlotte PTAC has worked with LaPronda in her transition from Corporate America into the company full-time, initially through the Kaufman’s New Ventures FastTrac Entrepreneurship Program. In 2012, Lain Consulting LLC became fully operational as a full-time, full service consulting firm and began pursuing Minority and Woman Owned Business certifications and government contracts. From 2013-2015, Lain Consulting has received certifications as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the NC Department of Transportation (DOT); Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County; A Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) with the Statewide Uniform Certification Program of NC; Small Professional Services Firm (SPSF) with the NC DOT; and a Section 3 Business Concern with the Charlotte Housing Authority. In 2013, Lain Consulting partnered with a Service Disabled Veteran Small Business and landed a contract with the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) in the City of Charlotte.

On May 1, 2014, Lain Consulting LLC was selected as the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) of the Year by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County at its Crowns of Enterprise Awards Ceremony.

Other notable accomplishments of the company and LaPronda include:

  • 2016 Rising Star Award, Women’s Business Center of North Carolina (SBA Program)
  • 2015 graduate of Leadership Charlotte Class 36
  • 2014 Charlotte Business Journal’s Women in Business Achievement Award
  • 2014 Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence Business Accelerator Program

In 2016, LaPronda approached Nick Economou, NC PTAC Counselor in the Charlotte regional office to assist with pricing strategies for a subcontract on the Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Disparity Study with the City of Charlotte’s Business Inclusion Program. More specifically, according to LaPronda, “Nick was very helpful in providing online tools, resources and documentation to guide me through the process of pricing based on my background, experience, education and the role that was proposed in the project as a subconsultant.” LaPronda was successfully awarded the contract and now serves as the Information and Engagement Expert for the City of Charlotte’s MWBE Disparity Study.

For more information on Lain Consulting LLC, visit the company’s website at http://www.lainconsultingllc.com.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on SUCCESS STORY: Lain Consulting LLC
Jan 31

Is the GSA Schedule Program Right For You?

By Nick Economou, SBTDC-PTAC Counselor at UNC-Charlotte

You just met with a buyer at a federal agency and you convinced them that your product or service will solve the agencies problem. The buyer then asks for your GSA Contract Number. You’re puzzled by the question and ask, “What is that?” Or, you say to the buyer, “I don’t have one, but I will get one tomorrow.” To your dismay, you find out that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to obtain your GSA Contract Number.

The GSA Schedules Program is a program of the U.S. General Services Administration. The program awards approximately $40 billion worth of goods and services. For federal agencies and some states and local governments, the program is a fast, easy, effective contracting vehicle that provides access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing.

A key reason for the success of the program is that federal buyers do not have to post their requirements on fedbizops. Instead, they can choose from a variety of preapproved contracts of off GSA Advantage.

Here is some important information to consider that GSA provides to the public about the GSA Schedules Program:

  • 80% of GSA Multiple Award Schedule contractors are small businesses who represent 36% of sales
  • More than $40 Billion flows through this program every year
  • GSA had over 19,000 contracts under the program; and
  • Approximately 40 percent of the 19,000 GSA Schedule Contracts generate sales.

GSA has developed a vendor toolbox, which is a collection of resources that will help you decide whether getting a schedule is in your best interest. Go to this link:  https://vsc.gsa.gov/

Major categories under the program include:

  • Building & Industrial
  • Furniture
  • Cleaning & Chemicals
  • IT Solutions
  • Laboratory/Medical
  • Law Enforcement, Fire, Security
  • Office Solutions
  • Recreational & Apparel
  • Professional Services
  • Tools, Hardware, Machinery
  • Vehicles and Watercraft

GSA eLibrary is the online source for the latest contract award information for the GSA Schedules Program. Go to this link: https://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do

GSA eLibrary is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide up-to-date information on which suppliers have contracts and what items are available, by using various search options, such as:

  • Keywords;
  • Contract Number;
  • Contractor/Manufacturer Name;
  • Schedule Name, Schedule Number, Category/Sub-Category Name, or Category Number/Special Item Number (SIN); or
  • Technology Contract Name, Contract Number, or Category Name/Number.

Some of the requirements of the program include:

  • Business has been in existence for two years and has transacted commercial sales totaling at $25,000 during the last 12 months.
  • Must have at least 6 customers who can fill out a satisfactory survey report on your performance as a business.
  • The business should have a website and accept credit cards
  • If products are being offered, they must comply with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). China, for example, is not a designated country under the TAA.
  • The products or services must fit into the broad category descriptions identified by GSA.
  • The business must have an adequate record keeping system in place to track prices offered to various classes of customers. The business must maintain the favorable pricing relationship with federal customers during the life of the contract.

How do you know if your labor rates for services are fair and reasonable?

GSA has developed a special evaluation tool that is available to the business community. The Contract Awarded Labor Category (CALC) tool, allows government contracting officers and business contract administrators to conduct research and price analysis for professional labor categories across a database of contract awarded prices for 48,000 labor categories from more than 5,000 recent GSA contracts.

CALC can assist businesses determine the competitiveness of their rates— at the highest level — for a specific labor category. For example, a search for “Senior Engineer” will return comparable labor categories and their rates, which can be further narrowed by filtering for associated criteria such as years of experience, education level, etc.

Go to the following link and begin your market research on the competitiveness of your rates:   https://calc.gsa.gov/

Our PTAC counselors can help you understand the program and its requirements and help you get started in pursuing this opportunity. They will review your product or service offering and help you determine if there is a place on this program for them.

For your information, there is a two hour free class room seminar on the program in Charlotte on February 23rd. Please go to this link to register for the class:   http://www.sbtdc.org/business-events/gsa-schedules-an-overview/

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on Is the GSA Schedule Program Right For You?
Jan 31

Success Story: Ultra Armoring and Defense (UAD)

PTAC counselor, Nick Economou; Juan Saiz; and Director of PTAC, Mark Mills

PTAC counselor, Nick Economou; Juan Saiz; and Director of PTAC, Mark Mills

SHELBY, NORTH CAROLINA   |   JUAN SAIZ   |   WWW.ULTRAARMORING.COM

“PTAC Program Director Mark Mills and PTAC Counselor Nick Economou have developed an excellent working relationship with us and have provided PTAC counseling services covering a wide range of contracting issues, including General Services Administration (GSA) schedule awards and modifications”
-Juan Saiz, Ultra Armoring and Defense (UAD)

Nick Economou and Juan Saiz

Nick Economou and Juan Saiz

 Based in Shelby, North Carolina, Ultra Armoring & Defense (UAD) is an industry leader in armoring specialized vehicles with ballistic protection ranging from small caliber hand guns to high powered rifle protection.  UAD has the capability to provide customers with customized protection, utilizing ground up designs with the latest in technology, while providing complete traceability down to the heat lot and plate number.

Nick Economou sits down with Juan Saiz to discuss contracting strategies

Nick Economou sits down with Juan Saiz to discuss contracting strategies

UAD has provided products to key government agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD), to include United States Marine Corps, United States Special Operations Command, North American and International Original Equipment Manufacturers and many other security industries and agencies for over a decade of combined fabrication and survivability design experience.

UAD was looking for opportunities to grow and diversify their business by expanding into specialized government programs so PTAC counselor Nick Economou worked with Juan on GSA.  Per Juan, “Mark and Nick have assisted our company with GSA, proposal preparation and review to pre and post contract administration issues; they are a great resource for our small business”.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, SBTDC at App State, Success | Comments Off on Success Story: Ultra Armoring and Defense (UAD)
Jan 20

TIBBETTS AWARD GOES TO MORRISVILLE BASED ATTAGENE

MORRISVILLE, NC- ATTAGENE, a Research Triangle Park-based life science company, has received the prestigious Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. According to the U.S. SBA, the Tibbetts Award honors Small Business Innovation Research program participants “that have created a significant economic or social impact through the use of SBIR funding and are considered the best of the best from the thousands of firms that currently participate in the program.”

ATTAGENE has invented, constructed, and commercialized a first-of-a kind molecular biology platform (the FACTORIAL™) that enables high-content-assessment of gene regulatory pathways in human and animal cells. ATTAGENE uses this platform as a powerful new tool for drug discovery and development and for assessing the safety of environmental chemicals, natural products, and drinking water.

ATTAGENE was founded in 2001 by Dr. Sergei Makarov, then Associate Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2004, the company received two SBIR grants from the National Cancer Institute. The awards provided early funding for the proof-of-concept study and prototype development, and fostered the follow-up funding for ATTAGENE R&D and commercialization by contracts and grants from the government regulatory agencies, NIH, and biopharmaceutical industry.

The ATTAGENE mission is to provide innovative tools for drug discovery and development and toxicity testing. These tools help to eliminate unsafe drug candidates at the earliest stage, thereby reducing drug development costs, and provide radically new solutions for toxicity testing, bringing about a cleaner and safer environment. Furthermore, ATTAGENE’s technology-based animal-free test systems enable comprehensive assessments of the safety of environmental chemicals, consumer products, and drinking water.

The company provides research services to biopharmaceutical industry and government regulatory agencies, including the U.S. EPA, NICEATM NIEHS, and the U.S. Geological Survey. ATTAGENE technology has become an integral part of the U.S. EPA ToxCast program dedicated to the development of new approaches toward toxicity assessments of environmental pollutants. In 2010, ATTAGENE evaluated the safety of oil dispersants used for cleaning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on these data, the U.S. EPA issued recommendations for the oil dispersant use.

Read About All the Tibbetts Awards Here »

sources:
SBIR.gov: 2016 Tibbetts Awards
prweb.com: Attagene Receives Tibbetts Award at White House Ceremony

Posted in Blog - Technology Commercialization, Technology Commercialization | Comments Off on TIBBETTS AWARD GOES TO MORRISVILLE BASED ATTAGENE
Dec 19

SUCCESS STORY: Vanderhorst Enterprises Inc.

By Ariana Billingsley, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at East Carolina University

Since 1998, Vanderhorst Enterprises Inc. (VEI) has consistently provided quality janitorial services and building maintenance services at competitive prices. Their commercial cleaning services include carpet cleaning, window cleaning, stripping/waxing floors and light duty maintenance services for schools, medical centers, retail centers, manufacturing facilities and auto dealerships. Owned and operated by Curt Vanderhorst and his wife, Vanderhorst Enterprises management and supervisory staff have over 50 years of combined experience in the services they provide. As a small business we face many of the same issues and challenges as large companies. The cleaning industry is becoming more complex.   Staying current on industry trends and being innovative with our cleaning process is an ongoing challenge. The issue of larger firms consolidating and expanding into different regions is on our radar. Staffing is always a challenge in the janitorial industry. Our organization consistently strives to attract and hire positive people who have a passion for being positive. We can train them how to clean but we can’t train them on how to be passionate! VEI have experienced tremendous growth as a result of all the assistance provided by PTAC counselor Ariana Billingsley. We have received assistance in research and development. We have had help with interpreting the language in RFP’s, and more recently working closely with the university on a business project. We give great credit to PTAC for guiding us through the 8(a) certification process and our most recent 5 year IDIQ award. VEI is encouraged as we move towards expanding our services and markets. We have made significant advancement with our web presence. We are more focused on our target markets and looking to improve on those key indicators that impact our business plan.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on SUCCESS STORY: Vanderhorst Enterprises Inc.
Dec 19

SUCCESS STORY: J.M. Teague Engineering

By Noah Robins, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at Western Carolina University

M. Teague Engineering & Planning (JMTE) is an engineering and planning firm based in Waynesville, North Carolina that manages a wide range of projects across the Western North Carolina region. Founded in early 2010, JMTE specializes in providing engineering and planning expertise to local municipalities, school systems, private institutions, and professional clients such as landscape architects, urban planners, developers, and civil engineering firms. As the firm describes it, “we serve towns, communities, and cities – large and small – throughout the Southeastern United States. Our client base is broad. We are always open to discuss your needs and whether we are the right firm for your project.” The company offers a diverse slate of services including traffic engineering, transportation planning, forensic engineering, GIS and mapping, community planning, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and agency collaboration. The company is certified by NCDOT as a Small Business Professional Firm and as a Private Engineering Consultant. The company’s founder, Mark Teague, is a Licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Public Manager with over 25 years of experience as a transportation engineer. Formerly with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Mark has spent most of his career working with small towns and is well versed in the challenges and opportunities they present. Mark recently completed an intense business leadership certification course developed by Harvard School of Business, sponsored by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and presented by Babson College. Completion of this course will position JMTE to pursue more opportunities for strategic growth, provide for an immense network of small business colleagues from across the United States, and provide on-going business resourcing from Babson and 10KSB faculty and advisors. JMTE was one of only 150 businesses selected out of several thousand applicants from across the country. Teague Engineering connected with the SBTDC at Western Carolina University for help with financial analysis, business planning, and assistance with financing. A General Business Counselor referred the client to PTAC for help in expanding their government sales. PTAC Counselor Noah Robins has assisted the client with understanding requirements for Federal contracting (to include SAM registration, locating bid opportunities, understanding bidding procedures and specific performance requirements), completing overhead rate submissions, and marketing their business to agencies and prime contractors. Over the past several years the company has grown their government business portfolio and intends to pursue further work as both a prime and subcontractor. For more on Teague Engineering, visit www.jmteagueengineering.com.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on SUCCESS STORY: J.M. Teague Engineering
Dec 19

Changes Coming to SAM: the “10 to 1” Integrated Award Environment

Forwarded by Noah Robins, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at Western Carolina University

ptac-dec16-sam

The System for Award Management (SAM – www.sam.gov) has served as the one-stop registration portal for Federal government contracting since its initial implementation and rollout in July 2012. SAM represented a long-awaited “single face to industry” that combined the functionality of Central Contractor Registration (CCR), Federal Agency Registration (Fedreg), ORCA, and several other systems. Through the Integrated Award Environment (IAE), a presidential e-government initiative managed by GSA, SAM will undergo a phased upgrade and modernization to host 9 other contracting-related platforms through the so-called “10 to 1” integration. The Integrated Award Environment manages 10 award systems including the current SAM.gov which now supports entity registration and exclusions. It also includes FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov), where federal contracting opportunities are published; FPDS, where procurement awards are published; CFDA, which describes federal assistance programs; WDOL, a look-up for federal labor categories and wage rates under the Davis-Bacon and Service Contract Acts; 2 systems for reporting sub-awards; and 3 systems for past performance (see graphic). When the upgrade is finished all 10 of these systems will be integrated into a single system (and single website): the new SAM.gov. While the specific format of “new SAM” and its implementation rollout is still to be announced, the GSA’s information shared to date indicates that the new portal will be truly a single application – a “one stop shop” with one workspace for accessing all of the tasks you have in the system and simplified summary views and snapshot capabilities. More importantly for small businesses, there is anticipated to be a single sign-on with only one user profile required, one search solution across all award data, and one reporting center centralizing reports on contract and award data. Stay tuned for further information, guidance and advice about the new SAM.gov.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on Changes Coming to SAM: the “10 to 1” Integrated Award Environment
Dec 13

Success Story: Carolina Advanced Digital

Carolina Advanced Digital PTAC

Carolina Advanced Digital (CAD) is a leading provider of technology infrastructure and security solutions. Headquartered in Cary, NC, the company has over 30 years of experience in providing services to government agencies, schools and universities, healthcare providers, and commercial organizations. Lead by founders John and Susan Jabbusch, the company operates with the mission of helping clients achieve their mission through exceptional engineering.

When Carolina Advanced Digital, Inc. decided to respond to the NASA  Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement (SEWP) V contract, one of the resources we reached out to was Rebecca Barbour, Procurement Counselor at the Raleigh SBTDC office.

Rebecca not only gave us validation that we could tackle this, but offered any assistance we might need on an ongoing basis.  She was a valuable support resource in advising us on the level of information we should provide and her best advice was “keep your descriptions direct, process oriented and simple.”

Just knowing that we had someone knowledgeable in federal procurement to guide us as needed gave us peace of mind.

Since being awarded this contract, CAD has been busy making the most of the opportunity. In 2015, CAD was awarded over $650,000 in task orders under the SEWP program. Building on this success, the company has now passed the $1M mark in orders. In addition to the SEWP contract, CAD also maintains a GSA Schedule 70 contract and numerous other relationships with federal agencies.

In August of 2016, CAD decided to grow their team and share their success with other businesses. Working with PTAC Counselor, Rebecca Barbour, and other resource providers CAD hosted a vendor information session for small business interested in subcontracting or teaming through the SEWP program. In this session, company owners Susan and John Jabbusch shared a wealth of information on how to navigate the SEWP program and other IDIQs, how to work with small business team members, and how to best position your company through marketing. Attendees benefited from their many years of experience and the resource partners assembled to answer questions. CAD is well positioned to continue their success under the SEWP program and is sharing their success with the small business community.

Posted in PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on Success Story: Carolina Advanced Digital
Dec 12

2017 UNC General Administration Board of Governors Summer Internship Program

Internship Team

The SBTDC is accepting project proposals for the 2017 paid internship program for rising seniors at UNC-Chapel Hill and NCCU.  Proposals are due byJanuary 6th for consideration for Summer 2017.

We have the funding to sponsor 6 interns each from UNC-Chapel Hill and NCCU.  We will have a total of 12 interns and we are looking for 12 client companies to host an intern for the summer at their facility/office.  You don’t have to be a current client of the SBTDC, as long as you have been a SBTDC client at some point in the past.

The SBTDC will find, hire the interns, and help to mentor them throughout the summer. The internship is expected to run for 8 weeks during the summer and the intern will be expected to work 40 hours a week at the client company.  The SBTDC will pay the interns $10/hour ($3,200 per intern for the summer).  The client company pays a nominal fee in order to cover program fees.  Last year, it was $920.

We are looking for client companies from any industry that have interesting projects for an intern and can use one for the whole summer.  If you are interested in being a client company, please fill out the proposal by January 6th.  We will be reviewing proposals on a rolling basis, so please submit them as soon as possible.  Projects can come from all aspects of the business.  Here is also the Learning Objective Guide that is mentioned in the proposal.  Please submit completed proposals by email to lmorris@sbtdc.org.  

This year, we are asking for applications before we post the job descriptions for the interns.  We are going to tailor the job descriptions to the proposals.  We post the job descriptions to all rising seniors students at UNC Chapel Hill and NCCU, not just business students.  This is a good way to find interns in creative fields, if you need help with social media, marketing, videography, etc.

If you have any questions or trouble clicking on the links, please email me at lmorris@sbtdc.org or my phone number is 919-962-7708.

Posted in SBTDC at UNC Chapel Hill | Comments Off on 2017 UNC General Administration Board of Governors Summer Internship Program
Nov 07

Gain Insights from Previous SBIR/STTR Awards

By:  John Ujvari, SBIR Program Specialist, NC SBTDC

No matter if you are new to the SBIR/STTR programs or a veteran, there are a number of pre-submission homework assignments that should be carried out as you develop a Phase 1 proposal. The SBA’s SBIR/STTR website, SBIR.gov, offers various tools to confirm agencies’ interests. Let’s walk through one of them: searching previous awards.

SBIR.gov offers insight into proposals that agencies have funded. See the award search tool here ». You can narrow down your award search by year, phase, agency, year and state. Once you have an idea that agency X, for example, has funded work similar to yours, your next step would be to look at that agencies’ solicitations to confirm their current interests. See the agency solicitations here »

In addition to gauging an agencies’ interests, several other major benefits of an award search are: reading the abstract of the funded project and identifying the actual companies that were awarded. This gives you insight into how an awarded proposal’s abstract is written (just to be clear, even if a proposal is awarded, it doesn’t mean that the abstract is stellar). This search can also lead you to possible collaborators. Just because anther company won an award in a field similar to yours does not mean you should look at them solely as a competitor. The awardees’ business name, PI contact name, phone number and email address are all included which enables you to reach out, should you be seeking a collaborator.

Remember your proposal is a product and the agency is the customer of your proposal. You want to be sure that your customer has purchased similar products to the one you are selling. Be sure to avoid the proverbial “trying to sell a snowball to an eskimo”. Your goal should be to make sure that the agency has a general interest in what you are selling. It is it likely that if a customer had a recent interest in a product, that customer may still have a general interest in what you are selling today.

Posted in Blog - Technology Commercialization, Technology Commercialization | Comments Off on Gain Insights from Previous SBIR/STTR Awards
Oct 25

LOCK4 LLC

By Terry Stroud, SBTDC NC PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University

LOCK4 LLC is a SDVOSB, HUBZone, DBE business based in Red Springs, NC. LOCK4 LLC is a multi-disciplined small business focused on Department of Defense (DOD) Training, Education, Exercise Development and Knowledge Management under the overarching Administration / General Management professions. Owner Phil Locklear has 30 years of DOD related experience. NC PTAC has worked with LOCK4 LLC providing government contracting assistance since 2011.

The PTAC and SBDTC have worked with the client in developing their business and securing the registrations and certifications necessary to pursue their government contracting goals. Mr. Locklear has been a pleasure to work with and is driven to make his company successful. His efforts are now paying off with subcontracting awards at Fort Bragg, NC and that success continues to build. His unique business offering positions his company well to take advantage of the upcoming opportunities in disaster relief due to Hurricane Matthew.

From his many years of military service, Mr. Locklear applies a methodical, well planned approach to every project we have worked with him on so far. His discipline and work ethic have served him well in the projects we have worked on to improve his business so far, and I am confident his current success will continue to build. While maintaining the subcontracts he currently is performing on at Fort Bragg, NC, Mr. Locklear is still able to find the time to pursue additional opportunities for his company. He has put together an impressive team of employees that understand his vision for the company and are a true asset. I cannot stress how much his military training and background have assisted him in the success of his company.

Mr. Locklear advised me that he values the assistance of the NC PTAC and SBTDC personnel and is confident it will assist him in achieving his long terms goals for his growing company.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on LOCK4 LLC
Oct 25

Crocker’s Inc

By George Griffin SBTDC/PTAC counselor at NC A&T University

Crocker’s, Inc. is a small business originally formed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1991. Patti Crocker formed the business without partners and with the intention of creating a home-based business in order to remain at home while raising her family. After much effort, study and perseverance, Patti became a state licensed specialty contractor.

Crocker’s, Inc. specializes in the renovation, modernization and new installation of vertical transportation equipment (elevators) exclusively for agencies of the federal government. Since beginning operations, Crocker’s, Inc. has completed numerous high-tech elevator renovations throughout the United States and abroad. The Veterans Administration, US Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, General Services Administration etc. are regular customers of Crocker’s, Inc.

As an example, the Federal Aviation Administration has contracted with Crocker’s, Inc. to renovate the air traffic control towers in Long Beach, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Bakersville, CA, Honolulu, HI, Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Las Vegas, NV, San Diego, CA (Brown Field) Burbank, CA, and Santa Barbara, CA. The work has been completed and they look forward to their next FAA project.

“We are construction/renovation providers for the most demanding federal agencies throughout the United States. Crocker’s has contracted repeatedly with the same federal agencies on numerous occasions, a testament to the quality of our work and to the satisfaction of our customers.”
-Patti Crocker

Their supervisor, with thirty- seven years of experience, including installations in the U.S. Capitol Building, oversees field operations. Her standards and expectations are guarantors of the field team’s success. Crocker’s hires qualified and talented craftsmen.

Most recently, Patti began to explore opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses. By directive of the SBA, Patti contacted George Griffin, Triad PTAC, when she needed guidance and assistance in establishing Crocker’s, Inc. as a Woman-Owned Small Business. Even though Crocker’s, Inc. has always been owned by Patti in its entirety, unless the proper certification is received, the government does not recognize the business as a WOSB.

After completion of the application process, Crocker’s, Inc. was designated a Woman-Owned Small Business. In the immediate days following the important designation, Crocker’s, Inc. was awarded its first WOSB contract to renovate a freight elevator at the West Point Military Academy in New York. Currently, Crocker’s, Inc. has projects underway in Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Georgia, and soon, New York.

While the business continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Crocker’s, Inc. will always be a home-based business operated from a single room in Patti’s rural North Carolina home.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog, Success | Comments Off on Crocker’s Inc
Oct 25

October Government Contracting Changes from APTAC

By George Griffin, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at NC A&T University

The Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) www.aptac-us.org brings us important news of two changes to share with our readers. APTAC is the professional organization of the Procurement Technical Assistance Programs.

“SAM Will No Longer Support Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8”

GSA has alerted us that, following their quarterly release on October 28th, they will block users from accessing SAM from an Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) or Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) browser. Users will either need to upgrade to a version of IE9 or higher, or access SAM with another supported browser type (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc). This change is pursuant to a Microsoft announcement last January that only the most current version of Internet Explorer will receive technical support and security updates.

“HUBZone Designations Expanded”

As of Monday October 3, the HUBZone program has been expanded to assist small businesses in disaster and base closure areas and provide equal treatment for small businesses owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs). These changes, reflected in 13 CFR Part 126, implement the 2016 NDAA. More specifically:

  • “Major Disaster” areas will be HUBZones for a period of 5 years and consist of census tracts and nonmetropolitan counties (NMC) located in “major disaster” areas, if such census tract or NMC lost its HUBZone eligibility within the past 5 years or will lose its eligibility within 2 years after the major disaster.
  • “Catastrophic Incident” areas will be HUBZones for a period of 10 years and consist of census tracts and NMCs located in areas where catastrophic incidents occurred, if such census tract or NMC lost its HUBZone eligibility within the past 5 years or will lose its HUBZone eligibility within 2 years after the catastrophic incident.
  • Base Closures Areas (BRACs) eligibility is increased from 5 years to 8 years and expanded to census tracts and NMCs that contain the BRACs, intersect with the BRACs, are contiguous to the BRACs, or are contiguous to any census tract or NMC described in 1 through 3.
Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on October Government Contracting Changes from APTAC
Oct 25

FEMA – “Don’t Be Fooled By False Information”

By Terry Stroud, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University

In a recent APTAC newsletter article, “Don’t be fooled – there is NO “priority vendor” list for FEMA”, the author advised:

“Hurricane Matthew is being used as a platform to circulate false information to potential government contractors by companies peddling “priority vendor status” – for a hefty fee, of course – promising the “opportunity to help your community for disaster relief efforts and make profits at the same time.”  Services offered in these solicitations carry a price tag ranging between $195 and $1,200 for a variety of services, including a “priority listing.”

However – FEMA does NOT have a “priority vendor” program.

FEMA does maintain a legitimate web site for vendors who wish to voluntarily provide supplemental information on the kinds of services they would like to furnish to FEMA, and there is no fee to use it.  That web site is at:

https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/29748

FEMA states: “Submission of the vendor profile form does not place you on a preferred list of vendors to be considered for procurements.  FEMA does not maintain such a list. The form is used to assist in secondary market research and is voluntary.  FEMA does not charge any company a basic registration fee.  There are companies that replicate services of Federal Government entities and there are typically fees associated with their services.  Most Federal Government services, if not all, are free of charge.  Always make it a practice to reach out to the appropriate Federal agency first to inquire about the validity of the service, specifically if a fee is associated with it.”

The current circulation of false information is a prime example of the need for your business to have a relationship with your local PTAC counselor.  Your business needs to have a reliable resource for the information you need to be successful in government contracting.  With so many communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew, and the potential of significant contracting opportunities resulting from the recovery efforts to come, it’s likely you may be contacted by someone promising you something that sounds too good to be true.  Those promises always come with a price tag, which is a good indication that it is indeed too good to be true.  In our efforts to provide you the information you need to be successful in government contracting, I am in the process of setting up a series of events in my area, to discuss FEMA registration and other information that will be important for those businesses interested in disaster response and recovery.  Information regarding the upcoming events will be posted at our website  as soon as the details are finalized.  Go to our website now »

Don’t be fooled by those seeking to take advantage of a bad situation.  Your local PTAC can provide the confidential one on one counseling, to get you the information you are looking for, to find the opportunities that are sure to come as a result of the recent disaster.  Registering with FEMA is the easiest part of the process.  Your SAM registration needs to be active and the FEMA ILP Vendor Profile form must be filled out and submitted to FEMA via email.  The hard part, as with all government contracting, is finding suitable opportunities for your company and successfully securing the business.  The process of finding and securing the opportunities that will come as a result of the recent disaster, is no different than finding and securing any other government contracting opportunity.  As always, it is a matter of knowing what government entity is generating the opportunity, having the necessary registrations in place, and making a successful proposal in response to the opportunity.  Yes, this is a very simplified listing of the process, as many of you already know that the devil is in the details.  To position your business to take advantage of opportunities resulting from Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts contact your local NC PTAC counselor today.  We are ready to discuss not only your short term goals for disaster relief opportunities, but also to continue working with you in developing your long term government contracting strategy for success.

Posted in Government Procurement (PTAC), PTAC blog, PTAC Blog | Comments Off on FEMA – “Don’t Be Fooled By False Information”
Sep 30

Letters of Support

By John Ujvari, SBIR Program Specialist, NC SBTDC

An often underutilized approach to build instant credibility with SBIR / STTR proposal reviewers is to include relevant letters of support.   NIH, for example, offers proposers the opportunity to submit up to three letters of support with your application package.  Below, we discuss who these letters should come from and the appropriate content.

 Given that you can submit up to three letters, let’s think about three different letter writers that will help to build a strong case for your business and the technology you are proposing.  You have a few options.  Getting these letters can take time, so start this process early.

 Buyer / Customer:  Let’s think about a sample technology, perhaps a pharmaceutical for the novel treatment of strokes.  A letter from a potential buyer / customer demonstrates that, at the end of the long road of development, there will be someone, theoretically, that is willing to pay for your product.  In this example, the end product may be a pill that reduces the occurrence of stroke.  If you are a small business (really any pharma company smaller than Glaxo or Pfizer), your business is not likely going to be the company that sells the medication to the end user (the patient). Your customer will be the Glaxo’s and Pfizer’s of the world, the big companies that have the sales and marketing might to take the technology to doctors and patients.  In this case, requesting a letter of support from a large pharmaceutical company would be perfect.  Getting a letter from a large pharma company may be a tall order unless you have a great connection.  So perhaps you can identify a retired executive from large pharma.  Be creative in how you can get such a letter from a large corporation.

 Users / Advocacy Groups:   In this letter, you will be demonstrating that the marketplace understands the importance of your technology.  Does this mean that you ask your 79 year old neighbor who has had two strokes to write a letter for you?  No – think harder.  How about the American Heart Association or another well regarded advocacy group that exists on behalf of the end user.  A letter from such a group demonstrates that you have connected with an important proponent and they have reiterated the need in the marketplace for a novel technology to solve the problem that they care about. 

 Follow-on Funders:  Following the end of a Phase 2 SBIR/STTR, your business is going to continue to incur R&D, marketing / sales, general operations and patent expenses.  None of this is free, so how will your business cover these expenses?  The reviewers want to know!   One common method is to raise funds from outside entities who will in turn take a stake in your business, also known as equity.  Equity funders can be an individual or group of angel investors, venture capital groups or a company that wants to partner with you.  The goal of the letter from a follow-on funder is to demonstrate that you have thought about the need for post SBIR/STTR funding and have identified a strong lead for the source of said funding. 

 One important point, that may sound counter intuitive, is that you should draft the letters.  In other words, take the opportunity to tell the person you are asking to provide a letter, exactly what you need the letter to say.  Provide the person or entity a draft for them to tweak as necessary, ask them to place it on their organization’s letter head and send it back you. 

 A final point – be sure you let the letter providers know that the goal of the letter is not to get a commitment to buy or use or fund your product.  If it was, no one would ever sign such a letter.  The goal of the letters is to show support of your technology from three different standpoints: users, buyers and funders.

Contact the SBTDC’s Technology Commercialization Team to discuss further »

Posted in Blog - Technology Commercialization, Technology Commercialization | Comments Off on Letters of Support