How unusual is it for a business to put more time into winning a government contract than planning to manage one?
The answer to this question — unfortunately — is that, all too often, contractors give little thought to planning for contract performance. Because of this, some contractors run into contract performance problems and end up damaging relationships with government agencies as well as spoiling their chance to win follow-on contract work.
To address this problem, The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy) designed a four-hour workshop entitled, “Establishing Partnerships with the Government.” The workshop was presented for the first time on November 10, 2013 in Washington, DC.
More than 125 counselors from procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs) across the country attended this training. The workshop was held in conjunction with the fall training conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC).
PTACs are funded, in part, by the Defense Logistics Agency to provide counseling and assistance to businesses seeking to compete successfully in federal, state and local government contracting. Ninety-eight PTACs — with over 300 local offices — form a nationwide network of dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses in the government marketplace.
The Academy’s workshop instruction was complemented by a 121-page manual produced by The Academy exclusively for APTAC members as well as a special web page where contract administration and training resources are available for download.
The Academy has conducted training for APTAC before. “We were honored to once again conduct training for the elite corps of PTAC counselors who advise businesses about government contracting,” stated Donna Bertrand, The Academy’s program manager. “PTAC counselors provide vital assistance to businesses, especially small businesses, nationwide.”
In designing the workshop and the printed manual, the Academy’s curriculum development team analyzed the entire federal contract post-award process and selected those elements most critical to the success of businesses engaging in government contract work. The Academy’s team then developed the training workshop and materials designed to assist PTAC counselors in their work with those businesses.
Of special value to the trainees is a special pocket guide distributed during the workshop. Entitled “30 Tips for Successful Completion of a Government Contract,” the pocket guide consists of 30 one-page tips that they can pass along to their clients.
The Academy’s instructor, Kathy Cames, was pleased to share her knowledge of the government contracting process with the PTAC counselors. “My goal,” she said, “was to provide insights and practical experience to PTAC counselors so they can provide good advice to their clients in advance of winning a government contract. After all, it can be too late to plan after winning a contract.”
In all, The Academy presented 13 specific “PTAC Tools” during the workshop — each designed to educate PTAC counselors about a specific aspect of the FAR that is especially important to PTAC clients.
At the conclusion of the workshop, each attendee was presented with a certificate of completion and was awarded 0.3 CEUs from Georgia Tech.
Click on the image below to see the table of contents of the printed Guide which served as the outline for The Academy’s workshop: