USFCR Blog

David Rockwell

David is a writer and educational multimedia producer for government contractors around the world. Some of his favorite work, with the experts at USFCR, is telling success stories of businesses that win federal contracts.

Recent Posts

Roofing Contractors Needed for USDA Funded project

Dec 29, 2017 1:10:44 PM / by David Rockwell posted in News

The Weber Basin Job Corps Gymnasium needs a new protective coating on its roof in order for the facility to continue providing effective services to the Utah community. True to the Job Corps mission of expanding economic and social opportunities, especially for minorities and the poor, a small-disenfranchised roofing business will be given preference in the solicitation process. Businesses must submit a bid that meets all requirements by February 2, 2018.

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USFCR Client Skyhawk Drone Services Receives a Contract

Dec 19, 2017 10:10:45 AM / by David Rockwell posted in Success Stories

Steven Boodhoo of Skyhawk Drone Services (DUNS 080644275) has been very busy lately. Not only is he continuing to complete work on a USGS federal contract, funded by the Department of the Interior; but also, he is pursuing additional federal opportunities too.

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Stay Favorable with Contracting Officers

Dec 8, 2017 9:40:05 AM / by David Rockwell posted in Guides

Government contracts attract every sort of entrepreneur. From the people who get down in the trenches with their men and women, to the ones who can organize a great battle from afar. There is definitely more than one way to get the job done. But, no matter which method you use, you must deliver the required product or service if you want to maintain a favorable rating with contracting officers.

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Finding Help with the System for Award Managment (SAM)

Nov 29, 2017 11:59:35 AM / by David Rockwell posted in System for Award Management (SAM)

What is SAM?

If you are interested in working as a contractor for the government, there’s no way around it: You must complete a SAM registration. SAM is the US government’s System for Award Management. SAM.gov centralizes all business and agency information so that contracting officers can get the most accurate idea of what your business does, how they do it, and where they do it.

SAM is free to complete, but due to the complexity of the form and the possibility of punishment for inputting incorrect information, it is highly recommended to use a third-party registration firm such as US Federal Contractor Registration (USFCR). In this post, case managers from USFCR share some helpful tips for undertaking the SAM registration on your own versus the benefits to working them at USFCR.

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Small Business Needed for Security Systems Upgrade at National Guard Facility

Nov 27, 2017 12:39:49 PM / by David Rockwell posted in News

Innovative Small Security Companies up for Consideration

The Department of the Army posted a solicitation for quotations from small businesses capable of installing new conduit and wiring around existing security doors. The contract is reserved for small businesses who are ready to meet the requirement at a National Guard Facility in Duluth, Minnesota. The deadline to respond to this solicitation is December 18, 2017.

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US Navy Solicits Information For Mobile Satellite Technology

Nov 22, 2017 11:43:06 AM / by David Rockwell posted in News

Naval Contracting Sources Sought Opportunity

The Department of the Navy posted a solicitation for information from manufacturers of Maritime SATCOM (Mobile Satellite Communication). The potential procurement will be for at least eight rugged, weather resistant radio systems, with the possibility of up to twenty-four.
To gage sources for the procurement, the Naval Station Weapons Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) will hold an Industry Day on January 9, 2018 at the La Quinta Inn on Coastal Palms Blvd in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Eligible federal contractors are asked to provide a static display of their proposed system. Acceptable SATCOM systems should demonstrate their ability operate under salt fog conditions, withstand dust penetration, be protected from snow and resist fungal growth. Further specifications can be found on this worksheet.

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OMB Launches Government-wide Data Center Optimization Initiative

Aug 23, 2016 9:00:54 AM / by David Rockwell posted in News

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Denise Turner Roth in early August announced that GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) will serve as the Managing Partner for OMB’s Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI). The initiative requires federal agencies to develop and report on data center strategies to consolidate infrastructure, improve existing facilities, achieve cost savings, and transition to more efficient infrastructure, such as cloud and shared services.
“GSA welcomes the opportunity to support OMB in its efforts to achieve government-wide data center optimization,” said Roth. “To champion agency efforts to modernize and optimize their data centers, we're building a robust shared services marketplace. The marketplace will ensure an even playing field for customers to learn about and negotiate services with providers.”
To date, OGP has made significant progress to empower agencies in creating their own path to data center optimization:

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HUBZone Program Changes Take Effect August 24

Aug 17, 2016 9:00:08 AM / by David Rockwell posted in Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), News

HUBZone regulation changes, approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) earlier this year, take effect on August 24, 2016. They represent a significant expansion of opportunities for HUBZone small businesses–but also represent compliance challenges, especially in ensuring that joint venture agreements met all of the requirements of the new rule.
By revising 13 C.F.R. § 126.306, the SBA makes available new information about how it processes HUBZone applications. The regulation now reads:

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Federal Government Seeks Ways to Modernize Its Payroll System

Aug 12, 2016 9:00:21 AM / by David Rockwell posted in News

On July 29, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to vendors for ways to modernize the delivery of federal payroll. Unified Shared Services Management (USSM), in partnership with Office of Personnel Management (OPM)-designated federal payroll providers, is seeking information from industry on solutions to enhance the government’s delivery of payroll.
The market research will help the GSA identify parties having an interest in and the resources to support this requirement for the improvement of the execution and cost efficiency of Federal payroll management, with an emphasis on the calculation of individual gross and net pay. The applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to this procurement is 541214 Payroll Services.
In the early 2000s, the federal government launched the ePayroll initiative which successfully streamlined payroll processing government-wide. The issuance of this RFI is another step in continuously improving federal payroll. As with many government-wide solutions, the final approach may involve one or multiple technologies, delivery modalities, and providers. To view the RFI please visit FedBizOpps.
“USSM is proud of its role in issuing this RFI with the federal payroll shared service providers. This kind of collaboration across the government shows our ability to achieve economies of scale and reduce duplicative investments,” said Beth Angerman, Executive Director of USSM.
The USSM office was established in October 2015 to enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value shared services that improve performance and efficiency throughout federal government.
Interested parties who consider themselves qualified to perform the above-listed services are invited to submit a response to this Sources Sought Notice by August 29, 2016, 5 p.m. EDT Email responses to Michael.cullis@gsa.gov.
If you're interested in bidding on this opportunity, or on other opportunities, please call us at 877-252-2700, ext. 1. We can help you research competitors, put together an aggressive and competitive bid, and follow up with the GSA in the event the contract is awarded to someone else.

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Are You Ready For The End Of The Fiscal Year?

Aug 9, 2016 9:00:34 AM / by David Rockwell posted in USFCR Info

xJohn-Wayne.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rFoeNoIGF-Government Product News, a division of American City & County, asked John Wayne -- our director of federal training -- to weigh in on how contractors should prepare for the end of the fiscal year (September 30). The magazine has been the voice of state and local government since 1909; serves a powerful audience of city, county, and state officials charged with developing and implementing government policy, programs, and projects; and provides readers with news, government trends, policy alternatives, and operational solutions. Government Product News serves government managers, engineers, administrators, department heads, and procurement professionals who specify and buy products and services for city, county, state, and federal governments.
Fiscal year-end brings with it a rush of purchases, many of which are made via simplified acquisitions. Why do agencies have money to spend in August and September? Because many of them save during the year, making sure they have access to a “slush” or “rainy day” fund.
If they don’t need to access funds for emergencies, then they get the chance – or give themselves the chance – to finance projects before the federal fiscal year-end on September 30. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, federal government spending between September 20 and 30 is 4.9 times higher than the rest-of-the-year weekly average.

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GSA Updates Schedule 70 Requirements

Aug 4, 2016 9:00:33 AM / by David Rockwell posted in GSAP Registration, News

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced on Friday, July 29, 2016 a series of updates to its Schedule 70, in the wake of a recent audit the GSA's Office of Inspector General conducted between 2011 and early 2016. Schedule 70 is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award schedule, providing direct access to products, services and solutions from more than 5,000 certified industry partners, and this audit revealed that some contracts on GSA's IT Schedule 70 offered identical products at widely varying prices, and that some items were offered at prices higher than commercial sales.
To address issues with its Schedule 70 -- which is the largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government-- the GSA added tools and innovation to gives its customers "better pricing, better values and a better shopping experience," according to Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner, Integrated Technology Services.
"We heard from procurement leaders across government that price variability on Schedules was a problem," she said, "[and], in response, we spearheaded the Competitive Pricing Initiative (CPI), which looks at the current prices of identical products offered by suppliers through MAS and identifies opportunities for more competitive prices."
According to information provided by the GSA, the CPI  has led to price reductions on roughly 1.4 million items across all of GSA’s 15 products Schedules.
The GSA has also addressed issues raised by contractors and procurement officers across the country.

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GSAP vs. GSA - Why the GSAP Is Right For You

Jul 20, 2016 8:30:05 AM / by David Rockwell posted in GSAP Registration

GSA Schedules, which are perfect vehicles for federal contractors interested in developing longterm relationships and contracts with purchasing officers and commercial firms, are a lot like a catalog -- a business approved to be on the schedule posts the products and services available, and then these products and services can be ordered, usually at volume discount pricing. Around $50 billion is spent each year through GSA MAS (Multiple Award Schedules) Schedules and 80% of the vendors on GSA Schedules are small businesses.

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What a Recent Supreme Court Decision Means for Set-Asides

Jul 18, 2016 9:00:42 AM / by David Rockwell posted in 8(a) Business Development Program, Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), Veteran Owned Small Business (VETBIZ), Women Owned Small Business (WOSB/EDWOSB), News

 
You may have heard people talking about a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ( Kingdomware Technologies Inc. v United States of America), saying it’s given a “boost” to veteran-owned businesses. And that the “Rule of Two” is now mandatory at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But does the Court action affect Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) task and delivery orders? And does it affect every agency?
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Aging Government Legacy Systems Subject of New Report

Jun 1, 2016 9:15:28 AM / by David Rockwell posted in News

The federal government spent about 75 percent of the total amount budgeted for information technology (IT) for fiscal year 2015 on operations and maintenance (O&M) investments, according to a reported released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Wednesday, May 25. The report continued:  Such spending has increased over the past 7 fiscal years, which has resulted in a $7.3 billion decline from fiscal years 2010 to 2017 in development, modernization, and enhancement activities.
Specifically, 5,233 of the government's approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds on O&M activities. Moreover, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has directed agencies to identify IT O&M expenditures known as non-provisioned services that do not use solutions often viewed as more efficient, such as cloud computing and shared services. Agencies reported planned spending of nearly $55 billion on such non-provisioned IT in fiscal year 2015. OMB has developed a metric for agencies to measure their spending on services such as cloud computing and shared services, but has not identified an associated goal. Thus, agencies may be limited in their ability to evaluate progress.
The GAO, during its review, identified many O&M investments as moderate- to high-risk by agency CIOs, and agencies did not consistently perform required analysis of these at-risk investments. Further, several of the at-risk investments did not have plans to be retired or modernized, the GAO found. Until agencies fully review their at-risk investments, the government's oversight of such investments will be limited and its spending could be wasteful, according to the GAO.
Federal legacy IT investments are becoming increasingly obsolete: many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported. Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old. For example, Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation's nuclear forces. In addition, Department of the Treasury uses assembly language code—a computer language initially used in the 1950s and typically tied to the hardware for which it was developed. OMB recently began an initiative to modernize, retire, and replace the federal government's legacy IT systems. As part of this, OMB drafted guidance requiring agencies to identify, prioritize, and plan to modernize legacy systems, but the GAO is concerned that, until this policy is finalized and fully executed, the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness.
Why GAO Did This Study
The GAO undertook this study to assess federal agencies' IT O&M spending, to evaluate the oversight of at-risk legacy investments, and to assess the age and obsolescence of federal IT. The federal government invests more than $80 billion on IT annually, with much of this amount reportedly spent on operating and maintaining existing (legacy) IT systems. Because of the value of these investments, the GAO wanted to measure how effectively agencies manage their O&M.
To do so, GAO reviewed OMB and 26 agencies' IT O&M spending for fiscal years 2010 through 2017. GAO further reviewed the 12 agencies that reported the highest planned IT spending for fiscal year 2015 to provide specifics on agency spending and individual investments.
Recommendations
The GAO is making 16 recommendations, one of which is for OMB to develop a goal for its spending measure and finalize draft guidance to identify and prioritize legacy IT needing to be modernized or replaced. GAO is also recommending that selected agencies address at-risk and obsolete legacy O&M investments. Nine agencies agreed with GAO's recommendations, two agencies partially agreed, and two agencies stated they had no comment. The two agencies that partially agreed, Defense and Energy, outlined plans that were consistent with these recommendations.

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GSA Awards $23M Construction Contract to Upgrade Derby Line Port

May 20, 2016 9:00:07 AM / by David Rockwell posted in GSAP Registration, Success Stories

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), New England Region, announced on May 9, 2016 the award of a $23 million construction contract for upgrades to the Derby Line Land Port of Entry (LPOE) to D.E.W. Construction of Burlington, Vermont. This contract will allow for the completion of necessary upgrades to the LPOE to replace the outdated facility which currently exists. The project will be designed to be both energy efficient, sustainable and will be certified as LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Thriving as an IT Schedule 70 Vendor

Apr 29, 2016 9:00:08 AM / by David Rockwell posted in GSAP Registration, Guides

According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), IT Schedule 70 (which provides federal agencies with direct access to more than 4,700 pre-vetted innovative companies that provide high-quality IT products, services, and solutions) continues to be the largest and most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government. The government saw program growth in FY15, after a downturn during previous fiscal years, with the program's business growing by $424 million (or 3 percent) to a staggering total of $14.8 billion. Additionally, also according to the GSA, most of this spending was through three special item numbers (SINs) on IT Schedule 70:

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GSA Schedules: What's Closed and How to Get On One or More of Them

Apr 28, 2016 9:00:35 AM / by David Rockwell posted in General Services Administration (GSA), GSAP Registration

As of April 2016, the only U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule closed is Schedule 75: Office Solutions - Supplies and Services. This Schedule includes office products, office services, restroom products (e.g., toilet tissue, paper towels and their dispensers, toilet seat covers, facial tissues, soaps), and new products/technology. This schedule can include furniture and food items, but only if the vendor primarily offers office products.
The GSA periodically closes schedules to new contractors if the schedule is determined to be "oversaturated." Oversaturated schedules are schedules that the GSA determines have little to no room for innovation and program growth. Schedules can become oversaturated as well due to duplications. Many vendors offer the same products on different schedules.
The GSA closes schedules for a period of one year. After one year, the GSA re-examines the schedule to see if changes in the marketplace make re-opening the schedule a viable option for contractors and federal buyers.
GSA Schedule Contracts, also known as GSA Schedules or Federal Supply Schedules, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term contracts under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. GSA Schedule Contracts were developed to assist federal employees in purchasing products and services; they contain pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions which streamline the buying process.
There is no law that requires a contractor to hold a GSA Schedule in order to conduct business with the federal government. However, many agencies will only place orders through GSA Schedule Contracts. As a result, companies that conduct significant business with the federal government ultimately find it necessary to obtain a Schedule Contract.
Acquisitions through GSA Schedules are issued using full and open competition. Prices have already been deemed fair and reasonable, and Contracts are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, reducing evaluation cycles. Purchases can be made directly from a contractor’s GSA Schedule Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFP’s and lengthy negotiations.

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The IT Schedule 70 Springboard and Its Role in the MAS

Apr 25, 2016 9:20:22 AM / by David Rockwell posted in General Services Administration (GSA), GSAP Registration, News

Earlier this month, GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth launched a series of new initiatives Making It Easier (MIE) for customer agencies and industry partners to accomplish their missions. These new programs go hand in hand with Administrator Roth’s key vision for GSA: to be a more proactive federal partner and a catalyst for economic development in communities across the country. The new IT Schedule 70 Springboard, which offers new and smaller businesses an easier and faster way to get a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract.

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AP-NEXT, Inc. Wins $48,550 VA Contract

Apr 22, 2016 9:00:34 AM / by David Rockwell posted in Success Stories

US Federal Contractor Registration, the world's largest third-party government registration firm, is pleased to announce that AP-NEXT, Inc. has received a five- year, $48,550 contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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GSA Simplifies Doing Business with the Government

Apr 8, 2016 9:24:35 AM / by David Rockwell posted in General Services Administration (GSA)

The U.S. General Services Administration on Thursday, April 6, 2016, launched what it is affectionally calling its "Making It Easier (MIE)" program.
The MIE program, according to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth, makes working with the government easier for new and innovative companies, provides small businesses with tools and support they need to do work with the government, and includes an IT Schedule 70 Plain Language Roadmap that explains the Schedule 70 offer process for new vendors in clear and simple terms.  The program also makes available a standard welcome packet to companies after they are awarded their first Schedule contract. This packet, said Roth, "will put an end to new vendors receiving inconsistent and outdated guidance."
According to Roth, tens of billions of dollars go through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules each year, and as these contract dollars increase, so do complaints about how difficult getting a Schedule contract is, how long the process takes, and how difficult changing the contract is.
"MIE has answers to both those issues," said Roth, unveiling the GSA's new FASt Lane and IT Schedule 70 Springboard.
FASt Lane, according to Roth, cuts the time it takes to get specific new innovative IT suppliers on Schedule 70 … from 110 to 45 days. And the time it takes for changes to be made to a current contract has been cut down to one or two business days …much quicker than before. The IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard gives highly qualified businesses an alternative to the current 2-year professional experience requirement. This means we can get startup companies offering emerging technologies onto Schedules and into the hands of customer agencies faster.
GSA also recently launched a Forecast Tool giving small businesses a new way to search for upcoming contracting opportunities – another piece of GSA’s growing environment of innovation and progress.
Watch Roth talk more about the program here.
US Federal Contractor Registration, the world's largest third-party government registration firm, helps businesses qualify to get on the GSA and become eligible to be awarded a GSA Contract. If you're interested in this or other contracting opportunities, call us at 877-252-2700, ext. 1.

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