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Unverified SDVOSB JV Partner Couldn’t Protest VA Set-Aside Solicitation

A non-SDVOSB company couldn’t protest the terms of a VA SDVOSB set-aside solicitation, despite entering into a joint venture agreement with an SDVOSB–because the joint venture hadn’t started the process of becoming verified by the VA. In a recent bid protest decision, GAO held that because neither the protester nor the joint venture was included in the VIP database, or likely to be included during the protest process, the protester wasn’t an “interested party” under the GAO’s bid protest regulations. The GAO’s decision in Owl, Inc.; MLB Transportation, Inc., B-414962, B-414692 (Oct. 17, 2017) involved a VA solicitation for wheelchair van transport services for the beneficiaries of the Atlanta VA Medical Center.  The solicitation was issued as an SDVOSB set-aside. Before the due date for proposals, two companies filed pre-award GAO protests.  Both companies argued that the solicitation’s scope of work was vague and that the pricing schedule was unfair, among other grounds of protest. The VA moved to dismiss the protest filed by MLB Transportation, Inc.  The VA argued that MLB was not an interested party to pursue the protest because it was not a verified SDVOSB listed in the VIP database. MLB conceded that it was not an SDVOSB, but stated that it had entered into a joint venture agreement with an SDVOSB to pursue the contract.  MLB acknowledged that the joint venture wasn’t listed in the VIP database, and “had not begun its VIP system application until after the time that it filed its protest.” The GAO wrote that, under its bid protest regulations “[o]nly an ‘interested party’ may protest a federal procurement; a protester must be an actual or prospective bidder whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or the failure to award a contract.”  In this case, GAO said, “[w]e agree with the agency that where neither MLB or its claimed joint venture are listed on the VIP website or likely to be approved to be listed on the VIP website during the protest process, the protester is not an interested party to pursue its protest.” The GAO dismissed MLB’s protest.  (The second protest wasn’t dismissed, but was denied on the merits). Interestingly, the GAO didn’t hold that a company must be listed in the VIP database to challenge the terms of an SDVOSB set-aside.  Instead, the GAO indicated that a company might be eligible to protest if it was “likely to be approved” during the course of the protest process.  In MLB’s case, then, the biggest problem may not have been that its joint venture was unverified, but that the joint venture hadn’t even started its application when the protest was filed. It’s possible, of course, that MLB didn’t realize that joint ventures must be separately verified to win VA SDVOSB set-aside contracts.  In my experience, it’s rather common for contractors to assume that so long as the joint venture’s lead member is verified, the joint venture qualifies.  Not so. As the GAO confirmed back in 2011, joint ventures must be separately verified in the VIP database.  And as MLB Transportation demonstrates, when the joint venture isn’t separately listed in VIP, and has yet to submit an application, the joint venture (and its non-SDVOSB member) are likely out of the running for a viable pre-award GAO protest.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Unequal Evaluation: Incumbent Not Credited For Retaining Its Own Employees

In its evaluation of proposals, a procuring agency gave a challenger a strength for proposing to recruit incumbent employees, but didn’t give the incumbent contractor a strength–even though the incumbent contractor proposed to retain the very same people. Unsurprisingly, the GAO found that the evaluation was unequal, and sustained the incumbent’s protest. The GAO’s decision in SURVICE Engineering Company, LLC, B-414519 (July 5, 2o17) involved an Air Force solicitation for engineering, program management, and administrative services at Eglin Air Force Base.  The solicitation called for award to the offeror proposing the best value to the government, considering three factors: technical capability and risk, past performance, and cost/price.  There were four technical subfactors, including a subfactor for technical workforce management. SURVICE Engineering Company, LLC or SEC, was the incumbent contractor.  SEC submitted a proposal, in which it proposed to retain its incumbent personnel.  Engineering Research and Consulting, Inc., or ERC, also submitted a proposal.  ERC proposed to recruit many of SEC’s incumbent personnel. In its evaluation of the technical workforce management subfactor, the Air Force assigned a strength to ERC for proposing to recruit SEC’s “high-performing, highly-skilled senior staff.”  However, the Air Force did not assign SEC a strength for proposing to retain its own incumbents.  The Air Force awarded the contract to ERC. SEC filed a GAO bid protest.  SEC raised a number of allegations, including unequal treatment in the evaluation of the technical workforce management subfactor.  SEC contended that it was improper for the Air Force to award ERC a strength for proposing to recruit SEC’s incumbents, while not assigning SEC a strength for proposing to retain the same people. The GAO wrote that “t is a fundamental principal of federal procurement law that a contracting agency must treat all offerors equally and evaluate their proposals evenhandedly against the solicitation’s requirements and evaluation criteria.”  Where an agency applies “a more exacting standard” to certain offerors’ proposals than others, “we have found such evaluation to involve disparate treatment.” In this case, “SEC did not receive a strength for retaining its own employees by respecting seniority or for proposing the same staff.”  And “[w]here the parties propose essentially the same workforce, and where the agency assessed strengths for the awardee’s efforts to retain the workforce and has not shown why it did not assign similar strengths to the protester’s proposal, we conclude that the agency applied the evaluation criteria unequally and therefore that the evaluation was unreasonable.” The GAO sustained this aspect of SEC’s protest. The Air Force undoubtedly thought that it would be easier for SEC to retain its own employees than for a challenger like ERC to recruit them.  But that wasn’t a valid basis for assigning a strength only to ERC.  Both companies proposed the same people, so ERC’s proposal didn’t offer a benefit to the government that was missing from SEC’s proposal. The SURVICE Engineering Company case is a good reminder that an agency cannot hold an incumbent to a higher standard than other offerors, at least not unless there are unusual circumstances–which didn’t exist here.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Undisclosed Agency File Size Limit Sinks Offeror’s Proposal

An offeror’s proposal was properly rejected as late because the proposal exceeded the agency’s email file size limit. In a recent bid protest decision highlighting, the GAO held that a small business’s proposal was late because the emails transmitting the proposal exceeded 10 MB–even though the solicitation didn’t mention a file size limit.   The GAO’s decision in Washington Coach Corporation, B-413809 (Dec. 28, 2016) involved a VA solicitation for executive driver transportation services.  The solicitation was apparently classified as an acquisition of commercial items, and contained FAR clause 52.212-1 (Instructions to Offerors–Commercial Items). The solicitation required that proposals be submitted by email to the Contracting Officer and Contracting Specialist.  The solicitation did not mention any limit on the sizes of files that could be emailed to the agency.  Proposals were due on September 16, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. On September 16 at 1:19 p.m., Washington Coach Corporation attempted to send its proposal by email to the two VA email addresses.  WCC’s email apparently exceeded 10 MB in size.  WCC’s emails were not received by the VA. At 1:55 p.m., WCC called the VA in an attempt to confirm receipt of the proposal.  WCC received a voicemail message.  After the 2:00 deadline, WCC made three subsequent attempts to call the VA.  WCC also sent emails to the Contracting Officer and Contracting Specialist requesting confirmation that the proposal had been received. The Contracting Officer and Contracting Specialist received WCC’s request for confirmation, and forwarded them to the VA’s IT department to determine whether a proposal had been received from WCC.  After several days, the IT department concluded that the emails had been sent, but had not been received “at the Local Exchange Level” because they “exceeded the size limit which is allowed by VA Policy,” that is, because they exceeded 10 MB. The VA determined that WCC’s proposal was late because it had not been received before the proposal deadline.  The VA also determined that none of the exceptions set forth in FAR 52.212-1 applied to WCC’s circumstance.  The VA declined to evaluate WCC’s proposal. WCC filed a GAO bid protest challenging the VA’s decision.  WCC argued that it submitted its proposal to the correct email addresses identified in the solicitation before the 2:00 deadline.  WCC also pointed out that the solicitation did not identify the 10 MB file size limitation. The GAO wrote that “ it is an offeror’s responsibility to delivery its proposal to the proper place at the proper time.”  Proposals received after the exact time specified are deemed late, and ordinarily cannot be considered.  GAO explained, “[w]hile the rule may seem harsh, it alleviates confusion, ensures equal treatment of all offerors, and prevents one offeror from obtaining a competitive advantage” by submitting a proposal later than other offerors. In keeping with these general principles, “ we view it as an offeror’s responsibility, when transmitting its proposal electronically, to ensure the proposal’s timely delivery by transmitting the proposal sufficiently in advance of the time set for receipt of proposals to allow for timely receipt by the agency.”  In that regard, “it is an offeror’s responsibility to ensure that an electronically submitted proposal is received by–not just submitted to–the appropriate agency email address prior to the time set for closing.” The GAO noted that FAR 52.212-1(f), which was incorporated in the solicitation, does provide an important exception under which electronically-submitted proposals may be considered even if they would otherwise be deemed late.  The exception applies where the Contracting Officer determines that accepting the late proposal would not unduly delay the acquisition, and the proposal “was received at the initial point of entry to the Government infrastructure not later than 5:00 p.m. one working day prior to the date specified for receipt of offers.” Unfortunately for WCC, the exception didn’t apply because WCC’s proposal “was not received at the initial point of entry by 5:00 p.m. the day before proposals were due . . ..”  Instead, WCC submitted its proposal about 40 minutes before the final deadline. The GAO denied WCC’s protest. The Washington Coach Corporation case is a cautionary tale for contractors.  As the GAO’s decision demonstrates, an agency may be able to reject as “late” an electronically submitted proposal if the file size is too large–even if the solicitation didn’t identify any size limits.  In an age where proposals are increasingly being submitted by electronic means, it’s important for contractors to be aware of this “harsh” rule. Of course, WCC’s story might have had a happy ending had the company taken measures to prevent the potential file size problem.  For one, WCC could have checked with the VA during the proposal stage to determine whether there were any file size limits.  WCC also could have submitted its proposal a day earlier.  As the GAO’s decision demonstrates, for commercial item solicitations containing FAR 52.212-1, the agency can accept an otherwise “late” electronically-submitted proposal, but only if the proposal was submitted the prior working day (or earlier). WCC, like many offerors, waited until the last minute–or close to it, anyway–to submit its proposal.  By waiting until so close to the deadline, WCC not only decreased its odds of reaching the Contracting Officer and Contracting Specialist to confirm receipt of its proposal before the deadline, but essentially waived the late proposal exception provided by FAR 52.212-1(f).   View the full article  

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Unapproved Addendum Sinks 8(a) Joint Venture’s Bid

An 8(a) joint venture failed to obtain SBA’s approval of an addendum to its joint venture agreement—and the lack of SBA approval cost the joint venture an 8(a) contract. In Alutiiq-Banner Joint Venture, B-412952 et al. (July 15, 2016), GAO sustained a protest challenging an 8(a) joint venture’s eligibility for award where that joint venture had not previously sought (or received) SBA’s approval for an addendum to its joint venture agreement. At the big picture level, SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program Regulations contain strict requirements that an 8(a) entity must satisfy before joint venturing with another entity for an 8(a) contract. For instance, the 8(a) joint venture must have a detailed joint venture agreement that, among other things, sets forth the specific purpose of the joint venture (usually relating to the performance of a specific solicitation). Where the joint venture seeks to modify its joint venture agreement (even to allow for the performance of another 8(a) contract), the Regulations require prior approval of any such amendment or addendum by the SBA. 13 C.F.R. § 124.513(e). At issue in Alutiiq-Banner was a NASA 8(a) set-aside solicitation that sought to issue a single-award IDIQ contract for human resources and professional services. In late March 2016, CTRM-GAPSI JV, LLC (“CGJV”), an 8(a) joint venture between GAP Solutions and CTR Management Group, was named the contract awardee. As part of this award, the contracting officer made a responsibility determination that included an undated letter from the SBA stating that “CTRMG/GAPSI JV” was an eligible 8(a) joint venture under the solicitation. Alutiiq-Banner Joint Venture protested this evaluation and award decision on various grounds, including that CGJV was not an eligible 8(a) entity and, thus, should not have received the award. According to Alutiiq-Banner, CTRM-/GAPSI JV (the entity that submitted the proposal) and CTRM-GAPSI JV, LLC (the awardee) were different entities. The awardee-entity did not exist until an official corporate registration was filed for the joint venture until April 2016; NASA, however, completed its evaluation and made its award the month prior. Because CGJV did not exist until after the award, it was not the firm that submitted the proposal—it was a newly-created and legally-distinct entity that was not approved by the SBA for this 8(a) award. NASA, in response, characterized Alutiiq-Banner’s arguments as trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. That is, NASA said the protest challenged the awardee’s name, and that any differences were “insignificant clerical issues.” Because NASA identified the entities that prepared the proposal and that was awarded the contract under the same DUNS number and CAGE code, there was “no material doubt of the awardee’s identity.” GAO sought SBA’s input as to whether the awardee was a different entity than the SBA had approved for award as a joint venture. According to the SBA, they were the same entities. But apparently, the SBA’s approval of CGJV’s joint venture agreement upon which the contracting officer relied in finding CGJV a responsible entity was outdated; it did not relate to the addendum that allowed CGJV to perform under this particular solicitation. Thus, the SBA said that CGJV’s failure to obtain approval for this addendum to its joint venture agreement violated the SBA’s regulations. As a result, the SBA said that it would rescind its approval of CGJV’s award eligibility, and recommended that the award be terminated. In response to the SBA’s recommendation, both CGJV and NASA instead requested that GAO stay its decision on Alutiiq-Banner’s protest pending approval of CGJV’s joint venture agreement addendum. GAO refused to do so, noting its statutory obligation to decide protests within 100 days. GAO sustained Alutiiq-Banner’s protest, agreeing with the SBA that the award to CGJV was improper. It wrote: [T]here appears to be no significant dispute that CGJV did not seek the approval for this award as required under the 8(a) program, and the SBA did not have a basis to approve the award—both of which are required by the SBA’s regulations as a precondition of awarding the set-aside contract to a joint venture. GAO thus recommended the award to CGJV be terminated and, as part of NASA’s re-evaluation, that NASA and the SBA confirm that the selected awardee is an eligible 8(a) participant before making the award decision. It’s a common misconception that 8(a) joint ventures are approved “in general,” that is, that once SBA approves a joint venture for one contract, the joint venture “is 8(a)” and can pursue other 8(a) contracts without SBA approval. Not so. As Alutiiq Banner demonstrates, an 8(a) joint venture must obtain SBA’s separate approval for each 8(a) contract it wishes to pursue. Failing to get that approval may cost a joint venture the contract—something CGJV learned the hard way.  
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Two Isn’t Greater Than Five, GAO Reminds Agency

GAO sustained a protest recently where an agency had given higher past performance scores to a proposal with two relevant examples of past performance than a proposal with five relevant examples. In Patricio Enterprises, Inc., B-412740 et al. (Comp. Gen. May 26, 2016), GAO said that an agency cannot mechanically apply an evaluation formula that produces an unreasonable result, such as allowing a proposal with fewer examples of relevant past performance to somehow earn a higher score than a proposal with more examples. The Patricio Enterprises case had to do with an SDVOSB set-aside procurement for the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Corps Systems Command for program and financial management support services for the Marines’ Program Manager, Infantry Weapons Systems program. The solicitation called for a best value evaluation encompassing three factors: management and staffing capability, past performance, and price. With respect to the past performance factor, the solicitation instructed offerors to provide summaries of up to five contracts that were recent and similar in size and scope to the project. The evaluation scheme would involve assigning each example a relevancy and quality of performance rating, which would lead to an overall past performance confidence rating. Among the offerors were Patricio Enterprises, Inc. of Stafford, Va., and Get It Done Solutions, LLC, of Fredricksburg, Va.  Get It Done submitted a proposal with three past performance examples.  Two of them received ratings of very relevant/exceptional while the third was determined to not be relevant. Patricio meanwhile, proposed five examples of past performance. The agency rated two of the proposals very relevant/exceptional (the same as Get It Done), one very relevant/very good, and two relevant/exceptional. Based on this, one might assume that Patricio earned the higher past performance rating. Not so. The agency determined that a proposal would earn a substantial confidence rating only when all relevant past performance was rated very relevant, with exceptional performance. Get It Done, with two relevant contracts, met this standard and received a substantial confidence rating. But in Patricio’s case, even though Patricio also had three very relevant/exceptional projects, Patricio’s other three projects scored lower (though no worse than relevant/very good). Because the three additional examples did not receive perfect scores, the agency gave Patricio’s proposal a lower “substantial confidence” rating. The agency awarded the contract to Get It Done, based in part on Get It Done’s higher past performance score.  Patricio then filed a GAO bid protest. GAO s wrote that the agency had used an unreasonable methodology in evaluating past performance. It explained:”n our view, the agency’s mechanical evaluation of past performance was unreasonable where the result was that the additional relevant past performance references with exceptional and very good quality resulted in a downgraded past performance rating.” GAO sustained the protest and recommended that the agency re-evaluate offerors’ past performance. Agencies have fairly broad discretion in their evaluations, but an evaluation scheme must be reasonable and logical. In sustaining Patricio’s protest, GAO basically told the agency to use some common sense. In other words, two is not greater than five.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Trump: DoD Contracts Should Be Fixed-Price

We previously have written about the trending preference toward fixed-price contracts, and away from cost reimbursement contracts, in defense procurements.  The Defense Department’s supplement to the FAR (known as DFARS), in fact, already includes restrictions on using cost-reimbursement or time and materials contracts. Now the President has come out in favor of fixed-price defense contracting. In a Time Magazine article published today, President Trump signaled strong support for the fixed-price contracting preference, going so far as to “talk of his plans to renegotiate any future military contracts to make sure they have fixed prices.” The article, called “Donald Trump After Hours,” is wide-ranging and does not delve into specifics as to how President Trump might reshape defense contracting. But in language a bit too salty for this blog, he makes clear that time and materials contracts aren’t his favorite method of contracting. It’s unclear what the practical effect of President Trump’s preference for fixed-price contracts might be. Will the President push for more specific laws or regulations mandating his contract preferences? Will Secretary Mattis or other Trump appointees issue additional internal guidance? We don’t know, but will continue to follow this issue.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Trump Won’t Repeal Obama’s Order Prohibiting Contractor LGBTQ Discrimination

President Donald Trump won’t repeal former President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. According to CNN and other news outlets, the new Administration will allow Executive Order 13672 to remain on the books.  The Executive Order, which was codified in the FAR in 2015, adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories under the FAR’s Equal Opportunity clause, FAR 52.222-26. In recent days, the new Administration had faced repeated questions about whether Executive Order 13672 would remain in place.  While this week’s announcement puts those questions to rest, the fate of other government contracts Executive Orders signed by President Obama, such as the so-called “mandatory sick leave” Executive Order, remains uncertain.  My colleagues and I will keep you posted.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

The VA’s SDVOSB JV Verification Assistance Brief Is Wrong

The VA’s Verification Assistance Brief for SDVOSB and VOSB joint ventures flat-out misstates the law regarding the manner in which joint venture profits must be split. SDVOSBs and VOSBs often rely on Verification Assistance Briefs to guide them through the CVE verification process, and CVE analysts sometimes use Verification Assistance Briefs, too.  Which begs the question: how many CVE-verified joint ventures are legally invalid? The VAAR provides that a joint venture can be eligible for a VA SDVOSB or VOSB set-aside contract so long as the joint venture (among other things) adopts a joint venture agreement meeting the requirements of the SBA’s SDVOSB regulations.  So far, so good–joint ventures are complex enough; the last thing we need is a separate, VA-specific list of SDVOSB joint venture requirements. Effective August 24, 2016, the SBA overhauled its requirements for SDVOSB joint ventures.  The SBA moved the regulations from 13 C.F.R. 125.15 to 13 C.F.R. 125.18, and made many substantive changes and additions. The SBA made a further correction, effective December 27, 2016, which governs how profits are split.  The current regulation on profits is codified at 13 C.F.R. 125.18(b)(2)(iv), which states that every SDVOSB joint venture agreement must contain a provision “tating that the SDVO SBC(s) must receive profits from the joint venture commensurate with the work performed by the SDVO SBC.”  (Here’s a link to the Federal Register, which officially adopted this formula as law). That brings us to the VA’s Verification Assistance Brief on joint ventures.  Now, to be fair, I’m a fan of the Verification Assistance Briefs as a general matter.  I like that the CVE has made the effort to put verification information in a user-friendly and accessible format.  But the Verification Assistance Briefs are only helpful if they contain accurate and up-to-date information.  As of the date of this post, the SDVOSB/VOSB joint venture regulation does not. According to the Verification Assistance Brief: 4. The joint venture agreement must contain a provision “tating that the SDVO SBC must receive profits from the joint venture…commensurate with their ownership interests in the joint venture…” 13 CFR § 125.18(b)(2)(iv). Later on the Brief reiterates: The SDVOSB or VOSB must receive a distribution of profits commensurate with its ownership interests in the joint venture. Wrong, wrong, wrong!  This hasn’t been accurate since December 2016. Far from being helpful, then, this Verification Assistance Brief is dangerous.  It invites SDVOSBs and VOSBs to submit legally deficient joint venture agreements.  It invites CVE analysts to approve legally deficient joint venture agreements.  And, to the extent that the CVE has approved deficient SDVOSB or VOSB joint ventures (and I’d bet a fair bit that it has), it exposes those joint ventures to the possibility of successful SDVOSB status protests. Has the CVE simply been slow to update its information to reflect the December 2016 change?  Well, the Verification Assistance Brief (which, by the way, is the “Featured” Brief on the VA OSDBU website) says that it was “Reviewed and Revised May 2017.”  Yikes.  It needs a re-review, and fast. One more thing: if the CVE has approved any JVs containing the wrong profit-splitting provision, the CVE ought to unilaterally contact those companies and ask them to revise their JV agreements now.  It would be a horrible thing if a well-meaning JV were to lose an SDVOSB eligibility protest–and a contract–simply because it followed an incorrect Verification Assistance Brief.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Veterans!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Minneapolis last week for the 2016 National Veterans Small Business Engagement.  At the NVSBE, I presented four Learning Sessions: one on the nomanufacturer rule, the second on SDVOSB joint ventures, the third on best (and worst) practices in prime/subcontractor teaming agreements, and the fourth on common myths in the SBA’s size and socioeconomic set-aside programs (no, a contractor is not required to list a solicitation’s specific NAICS code in the contractor’s SAM profile). It was great to see so many familiar faces and make so many new acquaintances.  A big thank you to the organizers for putting on this fantastic event and inviting me to speak.  Thank you, also, to all of the contractors, acquisition personnel and others who attended my Learning Sessions, asked insightful questions, and stuck around to chat afterwards.  Another “thank you” who those who stopped by the Koprince Law LLC booth on the trade show floor to talk about government contracts law and collect a spiffy Koprince Law pen.  And finally, thank you to all of the veterans who attended the NVSBE–and those who didn’t–for your service to our country.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Utah!

I am back from a great trip to Salt Lake City, where I spoke at the Utah PTAC Symposium.  My talk at the symposium centered on prime/subcontractor teams and joint ventures–topics of ever-increasing interest for small and large contractors alike. It was wonderful to see so many clients and old friends at the Symposium and meet so many new people, too.  A big “thank you” to Chuck Spence and his team at the Utah PTAC for organizing this event and inviting me to speak.  And thank you, also, to everyone who attended my seminar and stopped by the Koprince Law LLC booth to talk about government contracts. I’ll be sticking around Kansas for a few weeks, although I’ll be making a short trip down to Wichita on Tuesday to give a half-day session on the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program, sponsored by the Kansas PTAC.  If you’re a Kansas contractor, I hope to see you there.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, San Diego NDIA!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to San Diego for the 2017 Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event.  I gave a session at Gold Coast on the SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program, and enjoyed speaking with contractors, government representatives, and others on the trade show floor. Thank you very much to the San Diego chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association for sponsoring this fantastic event and inviting me to speak.  Thank you also to the fine folks of the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center and American Indian Chamber Education Fund PTAC for sharing their booth.  And a big thank you to the many contractors who attended the session and asked great questions–so many, in fact, that some people stuck around 30 minutes after the session ended to chat. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending Gold Coast, I strongly encourage you to put it on your radar screen for 2018.  As for me, I’ll be hitting the road again soon: I will be in Norman, Oklahoma next week for the annual Indian Country Business Summit, one of my favorite procurement events each year.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, SAME Seattle Post!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to the Pacific Northwest for the SAME 2017 Small Business Symposium, hosted by the SAME Seattle Post.  I gave two talks at the Symposium: the first focused on the legal requirements for joint ventures and prime/subcontractor teaming arrangements, and the second on the SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program. A big “thank you” to Julie Erickson for organizing the event and inviting me to speak, and thanks also to Thomas Nichols for his kind introductions at both talks.  And of course, thank you to all of the contractors, government officials and clients who attended the sessions and asked such insightful questions. I’ll be sticking around Kansas for the next several weeks, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking a break from speaking about government contracts.  Please join me and the Kansas PTAC for in-depth sessions on the government’s four major socioeconomic programs: 8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone, and WOSB.  These sessions will be held in Wichita and Overland Park; click here for details and to register.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, SAME Omaha Post!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Omaha, where I spoke at the SAME Omaha Post Industry Day.  My talk focused on recent legal changes in federal contracting, including pieces of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and the SBA’s implementation of the All Small Mentor-Protege Program. Thank you very much to Anita Larson and the rest of the Planning Committee for organizing this great event and inviting me to speak.  Thank you also to all of the clients, contractors, and government representatives who stopped by my “booth” in the Exhibit Hall to ask questions and chat about the nuances of government contracts law.  As much as I enjoy speaking to large groups, it’s these one-on-one discussions that make for a truly outstanding conference. Next up for me: the Department of Energy Small Business Conference, which will be right in my backyard (Kansas City) next week.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Philadelphia!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Philadelphia, where I spoke at the  11th Annual Veterans Business Training and Outreach Conference.  My presentation focused on recent legal changes important to SDVOSBs and VOSBs, including major changes to the SDVOSB joint venture requirements and the new “all small” mentor-protege program. Many thanks to Clyde Stoltzfus and his team at the Southeast Pennsylvania PTAC for organizing this great event and inviting me to speak.  And of course, a big “thank you” as well to everyone who attended the presentation, asked great questions, and followed up after the event. Next on my travel agenda, I’ll be at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement in Minneapolis from November 1-3.  I will present four Learning Sessions at the NVSBE, and will spend my “spare” time manning the Koprince Law LLC booth on the tradeshow floor.  If you’ll be attending the 2016 NVSBE, I look forward to seeing you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Nebraska!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip late last week to Omaha, where I gave a half-day seminar on joint venturing, teaming and subcontracting for federal government small business contracts. Thank you very much to Veronica Doga and her team at the Nebraska PTAC for organizing the event and making sure everything ran smoothly.  Thanks also to the other sponsors for contributing their time, expertise and meals (like many things in life, in-depth seminars on government contracts always go over better on a full stomach).  And of course, thank you to all of the attendees who spent a sunny Friday morning talking about mentor-protege agreements, teaming agreements, and similar topics.  It was great to meet so many new people. I’ll be sticking around for the next couple weeks before catching a flight to Salt Lake City for the 2017 Utah PTAC Procurement Symposium on October 11.  If you’ll be at the Symposium, please stop by the Koprince Law LLC booth to say hello.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Navy Gold Coast!

I am back in the Midwest after a great trip to San Diego for the 2018 Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event.  I was part of a PTAC-sponsored legal panel on small business issues, and enjoyed speaking with contractors, government representatives, and others on the trade show floor. Thank you very much to the San Diego chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association for sponsoring this fantastic event and inviting me to speak.  And a big thank you to the many contractors who attended the session and asked great questions. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending Gold Coast, I strongly encourage you to put it on your radar screen for 2019.  It’s hard to beat a great conference in a great city.  As for me, I’ll be hitting the road again soon: I will be in Norman, Oklahoma on August 21 and 22 for the annual Indian Country Business Summit.  Hope to see you there!
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Thank You, NACA!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Washington, DC where I attended the Native American Contractors Association 2017 Federal Contracting Policy and Advocacy Conference.  I was part of a great panel yesterday on the future of federal contracting.  The panel spoke about GAO bid protests, the move away from lowest-price technically-acceptable procurements, the need to improve the HUBZone program, and other important topics facing the contracting community in the years to come. A huge “thank you” to Mike Anderson, Chelsea Fish, and the entire NACA leadership team for organizing this fantastic event and inviting me to participate.  And a big thanks also to everyone who attended the panel and stopped by the Koprince Law LLC booth.  It was wonderful to see so many old friends and make plenty of new ones. Next on my travel agenda: the National Veterans Small Business Engagement.  If you will be attending the NVSBE, I look forward to seeing you in St. Louis.
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Michigan!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Flint, Michigan on Friday for the Region 6 PTAC’s Meet the Buyer event.  My luncheon keynote covered some of the most important recent developments for government contractors, including the SAM “hack,” some major pieces of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, and much more. A big thank you to Jasmine McKenney, Maureen Miller and their colleagues for inviting me to speak.  And thank you, as well, to everyone I met at the event–particularly those who stuck around after the keynote to ask such great questions. Next up on the travel agenda: a flight south to Houston, where I’ll be presenting next week at the 17th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo.  Hope to see you there!
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Thank You, Iowa And Indian Country!

I am back in Lawrence after a great Midwestern driving trip last week, where I spoke at two fantastic government contracting events. On Tuesday, I was in Des Moines for the Iowa Vendor Conference.  My presentation focused on debunking common myths surrounding the SBA’s size and socioeconomic programs (think that VetBiz verification applies to all agencies?  Think again!)  Many thanks to the Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service for organizing this great event and inviting me to speak.  Special thanks to Pam Russenberger and Jodi Essex for all their work planning and coordinating the event, and a big “thank you” to the featured keynoter–the one and only Guy Timberlake–for everything he did to make the conference such a great success. After I spoke at the Iowa Vendor Conference, I hit the road for Norman, Oklahoma for the annual Indian Country Business Summit.  My talk at the ICBS touched on several recent, major changes to the small business contracting regulations, including the new rules for the limitations on subcontracting and universal mentor-protege program.  The ICBS has always been a great event, but it seems to get bigger and better each year.  A big “thank you” to Victoria Armstrong for her amazing work planning the event, as well as the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network and Tribal Government Institute for hosting. I’ll be sticking around home for a few weeks, but more travel is on the agenda–I’m excited to be speaking at the Redstone Edge conference in Huntsville, Alabama on September 22.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Indian Country!

I am back from a great trip to Sooner Country (Norman, Oklahoma), where it was an honor to be part of the annual Indian Country Business Summit.  I gave two talks at ICBS: one on recent developments in government contracting, and another on crafting effective and compliant teaming agreements and subcontracts. It was great to see so many familiar faces, including my longtime friend Guy Timberlake, who gave a fantastic presentation on competitive market intelligence.  A big thank you to the Tribal Government Institute and Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network for sponsoring this wonderful event, and Victoria Armstrong and everyone who worked with her to organize it.  And, of course, thank you to all of the clients, old friends, and new faces I met and spoke with at the conference. I’ve been a road warrior recently, but will be sticking around town for the next few weeks.  Next up on my travel schedule: a half-day, in-depth session on teaming agreements, joint venturing, and mentor-protege programs, sponsored by the Nebraska PTAC.  Hope to see you in Omaha on September 22!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, Indian Country!

I am back from a great trip to Norman, Oklahoma where it was an honor to be part of the annual Indian Country Business Summit.  My talk at the ICBS covered recent legal developments in government contracting law, including the Section 809 Panel reports, the strict SBA SDVOSB ownership requirements, enhanced debriefings, and much more. A big thank you to the Tribal Government Institute and Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network for sponsoring this wonderful event, and Victoria Armstrong and everyone who worked with her to organize it.  And, of course, thank you to all of the clients, old friends, and new faces I met and spoke with at the conference. I’ve been a road warrior recently, but will be sticking around town for awhile as the fourth quarter heads into its last stretch.  Next up on my schedule: the Buy, Build and Sell Conference in Washington, DC on October 11.  I’m looking forward to spending a day in my old DC stomping grounds.
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Thank You, Huntsville!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Huntsville, Alabama, where I spoke at the Redstone Edge Conference.  My presentation focused on the recent major developments in small business contracting, including the changes to the limitations on subcontracting and the new universal mentor-protege program. Many thanks to Courtney Edmonson, Scott Butler, Michael Steen, and the rest of the team at Redstone Government Consulting for putting together this impressive event and inviting me to participate.  A big “thank you” as well to everyone who attended the presentation, asked great questions, and followed up after the event. Next on my travel agenda, I’ll be in Wichita this Friday for a comprehensive half-day session on joint venturing and teaming for federal government contracts, sponsored by the Kansas PTAC.  Hope to see you there!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank you, El Paso!

I recently had the pleasure to discuss important government contracting legal updates and their effects on small businesses, at the 11th Annual Veterans Business Conference at Fort Bliss (in El Paso). The Contract Opportunities Center did a fantastic job organizing the conference, which brought together small businesses and government agencies for a wide-ranging discussion on government contracting. My presentation discussed many of the topics we’ve been following at SmallGovCon, including the SBA’s new small business mentor-protégé program, changes to the limitation on subcontracting, and, of course, the Supreme Court’s Kingdomware decision. I also enjoyed meeting many of the small business owners and government representatives who attended the event. If you attended the conference, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks to the COC for a great event—I hope to see you again next year!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Thank You, DOE Small Businesses!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Houston, where I spoke at the DOE 17th Annual Small  Business Forum & Expo.  My breakout session on the Top 10 Legal Issues for Small Contractors covered a range of topics from enhanced debriefings to joint ventures. A big thank you to Earl Morgan, Anita Anderson, and all the other organizers of this outstanding event.  And thank you, also, to everyone who attended my session and stuck around afterward to ask questions. I’ll be in Wichita on June 5 to present a much longer version (a half-day!) of the Top 10 Legal Issues seminar.  To register, visit the Kansas PTAC website.  I hope to see you there!
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Thank you, Cross Timbers!

It was a great honor to be a speaker at the 2018 Government Procurement Conference in Arlington, Texas. The event was organized by the Cross Timbers Procurement Technical Assistance Center from the University of Texas at Arlington. My talk ranged from basic bid protest matters, to cybersecurity, to threats facing small businesses (including Amazon), and the 2019 NDAA. I hope those in attendance learned something. I know I learned from you (you know who you are). Special thanks to Gregory James and Loren L. Hitchcock for organizing the event and everyone who worked so hard to make it happen. It was great to connect with clients and make new friends. Hope to see you all again soon.
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