You’ve got to do your homework in order to contract with the federal government. Whether you are a large or small business owner, learning the ins and outs of government contracting takes dedication, perseverance, and taking advantage of opportunities to meet face-to-face with procurement experts and other businesses.
That’s where our Small Business Roundtables, Business Opportunity Sessions, conference booths, and Regional Small Business Summits come in. We want to meet directly with small business owners, managers, and staffers, to hear what you need to learn from us to make the contracting process easier.
Today, I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to meet with a group of small businesses who are eager to learn more about contracting with the Department of Energy. These businesses run the gauntlet of goods and services provided – I’ll be meeting with small businesses who provide environmental remediation, software quality assurance, and training needs assessment, just to name a few. The meeting, hosted by PECOS Management Services, also brings together businesses who are just getting their foot in the door in government contracting, business who have held several contracts with DOE, and businesses who are in between projects with the Department.
I’ll have the opportunity to meet Christina Maki, President of Santa Fe Protective Services. She and her father, Butch Maki, started the business in 1999. They started working with DOE when Westinghouse put them on their bid to win a Management and Operations contract for the Waste Isolation Power Plant in New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert. When Westinghouse won the bid in 2001, Santa Fe Protective Services netted their first government contract. They began providing guards to protect the facility, and their payment increased from the start of the contract until it ended in 2008 with $3.6 million going to Santa Fe Protective Services.
Santa Fe Protective Services’ Mark Liming admires the Department’s approach to security. As a former Department of Energy contractor at Savannah River Site and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he knows from the inside out how committed the Department is to providing a living wage and top-notch training to security guards, and never taking short-cuts. That’s why his small business sees the Department as a welcome partner to work with.
Having graduated from the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program at the end of 2010, Santa Fe Protective Services faces a new pathway through the government contracting process. While they hold a contract through 2013 with NNSA’s Kirkland Air Force Base, protecting a fleet of aircraft there, the company wants to do more with the Department. Today, I’ll be hearing from Christina and the other small business owners on their challenges with our procurement process, and how we can assist them to get the resources they need to compete for business opportunities at DOE.