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U.S. Department of Commerce

Small Business 'Success Stories'

In September 2004, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Central Administrative Support Center(CASC) awarded a contract to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The award was to Morgan State for approximately $31K to monitor the Chalk Point Oyster Reef Sanctuary Project, Maryland. This was CASC's first contract award to an HBCU.

The Department of Commerce, Office of Financial Management (OFM) identified a requirement for software maintenance and support for the Core Financial and Enterprise Business System (CFEBS). Additionally, OFM required contractor support in ensuring system compliance and implementing an Earned Value Management System (EVMS).

During the procurement planning phase, the Office of Acquisition Management (OAM) concluded that potentially there were a number of small businesses that might be capable of performing the required work. However, because this was a major and complex acquisition OAM, in consultation with DoC’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), determined that it would be in the Government’s best interest to employ the Small Business Cascading Evaluation Preference Process in relation to this requirement. Employment of this process authorized the Contracting Officer to put large businesses on notice that if the agency received a sufficient number of eligible small business offers, large businesses simply would not be considered for award.

The decision to use this process enabled the agency to promote small business participation and, at the same time, it protected the agency from losing valuable time if there proved to be inadequate competition among small businesses. As required, notice of the use of the Small Business Cascading Evaluation Preference Process was included in the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) synopsis, the cover letter providing the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the RFP.

As expected, proposals were received from both large and small businesses in response to the solicitation. The large businesses submitted their proposals with full knowledge that the Government may or may not evaluate them.

The Contracting Officer and the Government Technical Evaluation Team evaluated only those proposals received from small businesses in an effort to determine if there were two or more that appeared capable of meeting the agency’s needs. The results proved positive and, therefore, the requirement became a small business set-aside. Award of this $79 million + contract was eventually made to Systalex Corporation, an 8(a) company.

Letters were sent to the large businesses thanking them for their participation in the requirement and advising them that in accordance with the Small Business Cascading Evaluation Preference Process the Government had selected an small disadvantaged 8(a) firm to receive the award.

In conclusion, use of the Small Business Cascading Evaluation Preference Process in support of this requirement worked very well. Not only were the interests of the small business community protected but the Government was protected, as well, in the event the small business community had not proved capable.

The award of this contract proves that when the Small Business Cascading Evaluation Preference Process is used fairly and accurately, it is a win-win situation for both the Government and the small business community.

As an added benefit, awarding a contract of this size to an 8(a) contractor significantly contributes towards meeting the Department’s socio-economic goals.

In March 2004, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Southeast Earthmovers, Inc. of Sitka, Alaska for site preparation for a new marine research facility at Lena Point in Juneau, Alaska. Southeast Earthmovers is a small, Alaska native-owned company.

Heitech Services Inc., of Lanham, Maryland, a veteran-owned, woman-owned business is currently providing mailroom, courier, shuttle, distribution, location/database and duplication services for NOAA in the Washington Metropolitan area. The contract is for a base and one year period valued at $2.3M. Prior to Heitech Services providing the contract support, the Government was extremely dissatisfied with multiple contractors that had been providing the services.

Heitech Services was identified as a potential contractor in late August of fiscal year 2002 because the Government did not want to elect the option under the then current contract. In a six week period a contract was awarded to Heitech for the services. Heidi Gerding, President and CEO of the company found a sub-contractor, negotiated the contract with the Government, hired employees and began services on 10/1/02. The Government has been extremely satisfied with the services provided by Heitech. Ms. Gerding is very proactive, in fact, she served as the project manager for some time
on-site to learn our requirement and ensure that NOAA was satisfied with the services.

Recently, Ms. Gerding terminated her sub-contractor that was providing duplication services because the company was not living up to the standards of excellence Ms. Gerding requires. Ms. Gerding is to be commended for her responsive and excellent services provided.

Because of the excellent services Heidi provided under the above contract, she was recommended and EDA has a contract with Heitech and they also are very pleased. ((National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Economic Development Administration)

In support of increasing small business participation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) encouraged an existing vendor Varian Vacuum Technologies to look for opportunities to work with small businesses including HUBZone, 8(a), veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses where applicable.

After consideration and some changes, Varian representatives informed NIST staff that it would be able to provide its products through a small, woman-owned, 8(a), HUBZone firm called Wildflower. Varian's ability to partner is a positive step toward helping NIST increase socio-economic awards and assist Commerce's mission of economic development.

Wildflower has proven to be a solid performing business and Varian still provides the same technical support it provides its own customers.

Our congratulations and appreciation to Mr. Patrick Staines, Supervisory Contract Specialist and his team at NIST for their outstanding small business support. (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

The Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) III, worth approximately $70 million, was conducted using full and open competition procedures, cost plus award fee (performance based), with two contract awards. The awards went to Project Performance Corporation (small business) and The Signal Corporation (large business and graduated 8(a) firm). The small businesses competed with other small businesses, and the large businesses against large businesses.

To encourage subcontracting and assist it in fulfilling the veteran-owned (including service disabled) small business goals, the USPTO listed evaluation factors in the RFP by order of preference. The subcontracting plan for the large business required at least 20% to be subcontracted to small business, with measures included to assess their performance.

The Project Performance Corporation's team consisted of small, HUBZone, veteran-owned small, service-disabled veteran-owned small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned small firms. The Signal Corporation's team consisted of small, service-disabled veteran-owned small, and small disadvantaged small firms. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Competitive 8(a) award in the amount of $535,000 ($5 million ceiling) was made to Consolidated Safety Service, Inc. for Scientific Support for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A unique award was made to CADDO Design and Office Products for the purchase of office supply items. The award will provide all necessary office supplies to USPTO at significantly reduced prices. CADDO is a veteran, 8(a), Native American, small business.

This award also satisfies the use of mandatory sources i.e., UNICOR, JWOD, NIB and NISH. CADDO substitutes requested commodity items automatically to ensure that the mandatory sources are used. The award benefits the USPTO in the following ways: a) provides a one-stop shop for office products, b) streamlines the purchasing process, c) standardizes the USPTO's method of obtaining office products, d) helps USPTO get better prices due to quantity discounts, e) gets products delivered the next day (within 24 hours), etc. The estimated value of this award is $5 million.

This one-year pilot Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) establishes a check and balance system for purchases by offering an acceptance receipt. Since each transaction is recorded as a direct purchase to CADDO, USPTO is able to capture the socio-economic data from purchase card transactions.

CADDO Design and Office Products is headquartered is in Phoenix, Arizona with local offices in Fairfax, Virginia. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Awarded five IDIQ contracts under a Small Business Set-Aside for Electronic Navigational Chart Databases - each for $195,000 and $3 million ceiling. These types of services have historically been awarded using full and open competitive procedures. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

In support of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, USPTO set-aside a requirement for Enterprise Architecture. This critical acquisition will provide the USPTO with the support necessary to initiate, develop, facilitate and maintain an Enterprise Information Technology Architecture in accordance with the Clinger-Cohn Act (Public Law 104-106). The contractor will serve as an unbiased third party providing expert advice on evaluating and incorporation emerging technologies, standards, and products for the USPTO enterprise infrastructure.

This award is unique as it was the first 100% HUBZone, small business set-aside at USPTO. The competition attracted significant number of businesses nationwide. The fierce competition resulted in the evaluation of twenty-six proposals and was awarded with an estimated value of $13.5 million over 5-year period.

The contract was awarded to Thomas & Herbert Consulting LLC, a veteran-owned, small business, located in Sliver Spring, Maryland. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

The USPTO awarded a requirement for facilities management and end user support for the Chief Information Officer. The previous contract was performed by a large business, however this requirement was established as a small business set-aside.

The services to be provided under this requirement include: Advance Problem Resolution, Data Maintenance support, Desk Top Field support, Help Desk support, Network Operations, UNIX and NT Operating system support, Database Administration, User ID and Password Administration, Technical Writing, Warehouse support, Hardware Maintenance and Inventory support. This requirement may be used to support the relocation of Information Technology assets to the new USPTO facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

The resulting contract was issued to Trawick & Associates, a women-owned, small business. The contract was awarded with a one-year base period and has nine one-year option periods. The estimated value of the award is $160.2 million. Trawick & Associates is located in Bethesda, Maryland. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

USPTO awarded a major contract in the amount of over $105 million to Diversified Technology and Services Inc., a women-owned small business located in Virginia. Diversified will perform examiner file maintenance and support services. The award decision was based, in part, on their very favorable past performance history at USPTO and with other Government agencies. This fixed price requirements contract was awarded on December 17, 1999 as a small business set-aside with a base year and four, one-year option periods. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Cotton and Company won a $200,000 full and open, GSA award for Cost Accounting and Documentation Services, with a ceiling of $1.5 million (was rated #1 technically and low cost). (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Birnbaum Interpreting Services (BIS), a recently graduated 8(a) firm, successfully won a competitive requirement for sign language interpretation services in the amount of $2.7 million for the base year and 4 option years. (This occurred within 7 days of BIS obtaining its GSA schedule contract). (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Image Media Services, Inc., a women-owned business located in McLean, Virginia, presented its capabilities and was chosen under the 8(a) program to perform the design of the Decennial Nationwide Recruitment Advertising Campaign. The contract was for $2.3 million. It was not as simple as it sounds. There were some learning experiences by the government and Image Media. When it was all said and done, the government program officials were extremely satisfied with Image Media's performance and products. Image Media has a GSA FSS contract. They are a full service domestic and international business development firm.

Image Media was also awarded, on an 8(a) program competitive basis, the deployment of the Decennial Nationwide Recruitment Advertising Campaign. A contract estimated at over $9.2 million. Image has been successful because of dedication to quality and excellent client satisfaction. They assembled a team, of an African American firm and a Hispanic American firm, that complimented their in-house capabilities which resulted in truly satisfying the customer. (U.S. Census Bureau)

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