Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

2012 National Veterans Conference; the Secretary Speaks

VBR, this year’s National Veterans Conference is in the books – stick a fork in it, it is done.  I have heard mixed reviews about this year’s conference.  Some flattering comments and some not so flattering comments.  Regardless of where you come down on the conference, one thing is for sure, news was made and communicated to the attendees.

During the Dining with Decision Makers Plenary Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, Mr. Eric Shinseki, Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made some potentially powerful statements about SDVOSBs and VOSBs contracting with the VA.  According to the General, not only will VA honor and obey P.L. 109-461, but this is how they will honor it:

  1. All potential awards not going to SDVOSBs or VOSBs must be reviewed and signed off by a senior executive before award is made.
  2. All potential Federal Supply Schedule awards not going to the same group must likewise be reviewed and signed off by a senior executive.
  3. The VIP Verification process will be and has been simplified.  There is now bi-annual re-verification of the VIP database and
  4. The VA Mentor Protégé Program has expanded from 25 to 50 agreements.

Mr. Shinseki actually made more declarative statements about the VA’s interactions with the Veteran business community, but these are 4 points that deserve special mention and attention.  These announcements can be game changers!  Or, they could just be more “Double Talk.”  What do you think?

 

See you on the high ground! 

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Filed under: Government Contracting, Leadership, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, ,

The Fight Continues, but Against a Surprising Enemy

I think all VOSBs and SDVOSBs understood that we would have to fight to achieve the parity and fairness goals we sought in the Federal Contracting Arena.  A huge part of that battle has already been fought and won.  No longer does one Federal Contracting Program have priority over another.  There is now parity among the programs, at least in print.  

The “Parity in Contracting” challenge was just one of many battles in the war for justice, fairness and equality in Federal Contracting.  As war fighters, we are prepared for war on any front at any time.  What makes this battle so difficult to accept is that we are fighting one of our own!  That’s right ladies and gentlemen; we are now battling against the dictates of a fellow Veteran.  This Veteran has taken it upon himself to overrule a GAO decision and mandated that everyone under his command follow his orders. 

Mr. Jan R. Frye, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics, and VA’s Senior Procurement Executive directed that an “internal VA only email” be forwarded to all procurement personnel.  Mr. Frye’s message informs everyone that the GAO recommendation in a GAO Protest (Aldevra, B-405271 and B-405524, dated October 11, 2011) shall NOT be followed.  Mr. Frye’s email says that VA shall NOT honor the “Veterans First Contracting Program” and that they would continue to use the GSA schedule as their first option when letting contracts.  

Mr. Frye’s position is surprising and disappointing.  It is extremely disappointing that one of our own is so determined to fight against us!  This is considered Color of Law Abuse and is subject to the laws of abuse of authority

 

See you on the high ground!       

 

Filed under: Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, ,

Verification, Law of the Land?

The “Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act of 2011” (S.633) was passed by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship with unanimous consent on September 21.  The bill mandates that all federal agencies verify SDVOSB status through the Veterans Affairs VetBiz database of certified SDVOSB.  All federal Contracting Officers would verify SDVOSB status of businesses that bid on government contracts before contracts are awarded. 

With this legislation and Veteran Affairs ratcheting up the verification requirements and completely scrubbing the VIP database, things should start to look better for VOSBs and SDVOSBs.  More contract awards should begin to flow to legitimate businesses owned and controlled by Veterans and Service-Disabled Veterans.  If and or when this Act becomes law, will it eliminate ALL the fraud in our program – of course not.  Is it a step in the right direction – of course it is. 

At this point, the best we can do is comply with the requirements placed on us, continue to police ourselves and observe what the real impact of this legislation will be. 

 

See you on the high ground!

 

 

Filed under: Compliance, Administration & Management (CAM), Ethics, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, , ,

The National Veteran Conference (the lineup)

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Ms. Tracey L. Pinson, Director, Small Business Programs, Department of the Army and her staff for the outstanding job they did over the past 6 years with the National Veteran Conference.  Under her visionary leadership, the conference and program has continued to gain momentum each year.  The Veteran-Owned Small Business community is eternally grateful for your tireless efforts. 

This year, however, marks the beginning of a new chapter in the National Veteran Conference and the Veteran-Owned Small Business movement.  This year places the responsibility for sponsoring and hosting this conference squarely on the shoulders of the agency that should bare that full responsibility – the VA.  Who better to lead a conference for Veterans than the agency responsible FOR Veterans?  It only makes sense! 

I am quite pleased to see that charge being lead by an old 1st Cav soldier, GEN Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and one of our Keynote Speakers.  Other Keynote Speakers include; Mr. W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Frank Kendall, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Mr. Anthony R. Jimenez, President, CEO, and Founder of MircoTech and a former Vetrepreneur of the Year, Ms. Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mr. John Gingrich, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Honorable Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. 

The focus of this year’s National Veteran Conference is narrowed to just 3 tracks.  Track 1:  Starting a Veteran-Owned Small Business, Track 2:  Doing Business with the Federal Government and Track 3:  Business Requirements.  There are a variety of topics/subjects being offered under each of these tracks, but it does appear that we are going “Back to the Basics.”   I think this is an excellent idea and the training is greatly needed!  For those of you that have followed the VBR blog, you might recall more than a few posts talking about “The Basics.”  Perhaps our message of “Empowerment Through Education” is reaching the highest levels of government and flowing out to “the field” after all. 

See you on the high ground!

 

Filed under: Government Contracting, Support Our Troops, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, , ,