Over 200 contracting counselors from across the country received training last week on how contract negotiations are conducted in the government marketplace. The two-hour workshop was conducted by representatives of The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech.
The March 24th interactive training session, entitled “Contracting and Negotiation Skills,” was led by The Academy’s project manager Rhonda Lynch. The training was conducted as a part of the spring conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC), held this year in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The presentation consisted of an excerpt from the 10-day Defense Acquisition University (DAU) course known as CON 120 – Mission-Focused Contracting. Mission-Focused Contracting is the capstone course for Level I contracting professionals, engaging participants in the entire acquisition process. The “Contracting and Negotiation Skills” training excerpt covers conducting actual negotiations in a post-award contracting scenario.
APTAC is a national trade organization representing the 93 procurement technical assistance centers that operate across the country. These centers help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs.
The major objective of today’s workshop, states Ms. Lynch, is to help APTAC’s counseling professionals be “better prepared to advise their business clients on how to develop strategies for their contract negotiations with government agencies.”
She explained that negotiations skills are essential to reaching success in the government marketplace as well as being helpful in everyday life. “Each of us engages in negotiations practically every day of our lives — whether we realize it or not. If we happen to engage in win-win strategies, we succeed. The problem is, we sometimes don’t use good negotiation techniques so the outcome too often is win-lose.”
Attendees at The Academy’s workshop participated in mock contract negotiations, patterned after real government negotiations. Some of the participants played the role of either government negotiators or as members of a contractor’s negotiation team. Others in attendance played the role of observers who later analyzed and reported on the negotiations techniques they witnessed.
Prior to the workshop, The Academy provided relevant pre-course reading material to participants that may be found at http://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/?p=544. The Academy also recommended that workshop attendees take an on-line DAU course to learn more about negotiations. It can be found at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/courses.aspx?crs_id=469.
The full CON 120 course, taught on the Atlanta campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, carries with it 8.8 Continuous Education Units and 88 Continuous Learning Points, both granted by DAU. In addition, Georgia Tech grants 6.65 Continous Education Units for the CON 120 class. The Academy is an official DAU equivalency training provider.
For more information about The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech, please visit http://www.contractingacademy.gatech.edu/. For registration details on The Academy’s CON 12o course, please visit http://www.pe.gatech.edu/courses/con-120-mission-focused-contracting.