When nurses and doctors across the country were struggling to treat coronavirus patients without enough protective gear, and the federal government was scrambling to find those supplies, Quedon Baul saw an opportunity.
His three-person company in McKinney, Texas, distributes medical supplies but didn’t have much experience with face shields. Still, he landed two government contracts worth up to $20 million to deliver the personal protective equipment. He couldn’t meet the first deadline, so he found subcontractors to do the job.
“You get an opportunity, you take it,” Baul says. “It wasn’t my first rodeo, but it’s certainly my first big rodeo.”
The U.S. government has granted contracts worth as much as $25 billion as it races to address the COVID-19 public health crisis. NPR reviewed a database of thousands of contracting actions and found more than 250 companies that got contracts worth more than $1 million without going through a fully competitive bidding process.
Some of the companies, such as Baul’s, had little or no experience with personal protective equipment. Others had never worked in the medical field at all. Contractors also included a company that imported vodka and a school security consultant.
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech has established a webpage where all contract-related developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are summarized. Find the page at: https://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/coronavirus-information-for-contracting-officers-and-contractors/