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Mike Twardoski

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    Absorbing as much knowledge as I can about Government contracting. Seriously.

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  1. I learn something new everyday. Thanks for the feedback and insight, Vern! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  2. Thanks for sharing, Bob. I'm on the final chapter of The Government-Industrial Complex: The True Size of the Federal Government 1984-2018 by Paul C. Light, so seeing the speech was fascinating, both as a contracts professional and a history buff. It makes me wonder what Ike would say about not only the FAR, but of Silicon Valley, which operates outside the influence of federally-backed R&D. Would he view that as a blessing or curse of the military-industrial complex?
  3. Can anyone share any tips for building & strengthening relationships with your Government contracting counterparts in a delay-heavy environment? I'm on the industry side, and joined a new program about 2 months ago that's been plagued by a series of late hardware deliveries, most due to supply chain issues. Many of my communications to the customer so far have been notifying them of these misses, and our plans for mitigating. Beyond that, I'm trying to develop good working relationships with my PCO, specialist & COR, with limited success so far (COR is great, PCO & specialist are hard to get a hold of). I've spoken with my predecessor about it, and he essentially told me "that's the way it's always been." I've never particularly cared for that mindset, so I'm trying to figure out some solutions. I've spoken with my PCO on other issues, but have not received his buy in on a regular tag up to review ongoing issues/concerns. What are some ways a contracts lead in industry can bridge the gap, so to speak, with his Government counterparts? What are some ways he can make things easier for the Government? What do they really care about in this environment? What solutions can I offer my counterparts? I'm still semi-new to Government contracting, so I'm open any ideas or suggestions from some of the more seasoned folks here on this board. P.S. My supply chain POC recently told me "I'd hate to be in contracts right now. You're not going to deliver anything on time for the next 5 years." Yay.
  4. This discussion reminds me of a book I just finished - The Good Life and its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement. Granted, it's from 1995, but it's a truly enlightening read about how Americans, once accepting of some common setbacks (unemployment, job insecurity, retirement worries), are no longer willing to stomach those pitfalls. Or anything like it. So Government has been pressed into service as the end all solution for so many things. As such, Government programs have continued to expand since post-WWII, and are rarely rolled back because of the political clout of the stakeholders. So what if a given Government program is essentially failing, expensive, or obsolete? Benefits (Social security is discussed at length) that have been granted to Americans are now seen as "rights," even to those who don't need them (like the wealthy over-65 crowd). A few other social programs that provide the so-called safety net to folks are rarely reworked or reimagined; rather, more cash is thrown at it, lest strong political constituencies start making noise. Pain avoidance over pain tolerance.
  5. I'm never disappointed whenever I poke into Recommended Reading First, thank you for the book recommendation, @Vern Edwards. Another one to add to the never-ending stack. And @here_2_help, your story really resonated with me. Back in my hiring manager days, curiosity was a key characteristic I sought for new hires, but only after I had been burned by focusing on those with the best qualifications. One candidate, in particular, was extremely accomplished, and on paper, probably the smartest person I'd ever interviewed. She resigned 8 months later, and was in the midst of a performance improvement plan that already wasn't going well. I contrasted her performance with that of another recent hire who didn't have the traditional background or qualifications, but always asked great questions. Questions that actually gave me pause and sometimes required me to re-examine how we did things. Curiosity is a wonderful trait, and to me, it aligns with the "hire for attitude, train for skill" approach.
  6. @General.ZhukovI think this analogy is apt. What constitutes excess profit? One could argue that if adequate market research is conducted - whether by a consumer or the USG - then caveat emptor. If I buy a premium product like a Porsche, part of the "bargain" is that I'll need to pay premium prices for replacement parts. What's $200 to someone who probably paid >$100K for a Porsche? I hate resorting to worn phrases, but context is important. And this. Scarcity is a huge driver of cost. If I was in the start-up business, I'd take a deep dive into what companies like Transdigm are producing and try to offer a competing product. Sell the heck out of it to whomever in the acquisition office will listen, and angle for a competitive procurement. Then again, if I were in the start-up business, I'd probably run as far and as fast away from an industry as heavily-regulated as Federal contracting. #sadbuttrue
  7. @joel hoffman Indeed, it's a proposal for a new, follow on contract. Thank you for the advice and insights!
  8. Thanks for the tip, @joel hoffman. Forgive my ignorance, but how does one go about starting that partnering process? Is it a pre-negotiation conference? I'm very interested in learning more.
  9. Great insights, @Matthew Fleharty. Much appreciated! At the moment, we're about 2 months away from the start of negotiations. The PCO invoked 252.215-7008 ONLY ONE OFFER (JUL 2019) shortly after we submitted our proposal last summer, so we're in the process of circling back and getting new, compliant quotes from our suppliers for the CCoPD submission, which is taking a fair amount of time. I read - and re-read, and then bookmarked - your comments about transparency & expectations. which I found especially enlightening. Our team is working with a contracting office we have no experience with. As you might expect, suspicions are heightened from our end. The idea of setting expectations and responsibilities at the start is something that certainly resonates, at least with me. Thank you again, Mr. Fleharty!
  10. Thank you, @Vern Edwards & @C Culham. I have some more reading to do!
  11. Thanks for the insights, @Matthew Fleharty! I think the conditions surrounding trust, top management support, etc. are present considering this is a long-running program with a solid rapport between us and the customer. I'm sure there are issues in our blind spot that'll unravel as we go, but I think we have a good foundation at the moment. You spoke about negotiating some multiple large sole source contracts quite rapidly. What are the keys to achieving that beyond trust, commitment, and focus? Could you share any lessons learned? Thank you @Jacques and @C Culham for your feedback as well!
  12. I'm on the industry side of a recent proposal in which the ETA for award is about one year out. Because there is a push on our side to get it awarded by the end of the year, there's been some discussion about using Alpha Contracting, which I'm not familiar with. I read these articles to try to get some insights, and wanted to know if anyone had any first hand experience and could share any pro tips or pitfalls. Thank you in advance!
  13. Great list, @Vern Edwards! I may pluck a few of those titles and add them to my list.
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