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Minority Business Development Agency Holds GSA Procurement Strategy Conference in Philadelphia

On May 8, 2014, The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center of PA (MBC-PA) held a landmark workshop at its Philadelphia, PA location to address General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) procurement strategies. The talks and speakers presented their insights into what businesses need to do to secure and manage GSA and VA FSS contracts.  The MBC-PA workshop featured several guest speakers to address the subject – Michelle Hermelee, President and Founder of BH Sky Associates; Jack Wise, GSA’s Director FAS Regional Acquisition Operations; and Robert Vitelli, GSA’s Director Acquisition Operations.

GSA Procurement Strategies

Ms. Hermelee began by explaining that a GSA Schedule Contract is in essence a “license to hunt” that establishes a long-term, government-wide contract with a commercial business enterprise.  She explained the benefits of having a GSA Schedule Contract and debunked some myths about the program.  She highlighted the importance of assessing if the GSA Schedule program is the right fit for your business.  This assessment determines if the products and/or services you offer fall under the scope of the contract, determines if your rates are competitive with the market, identifies the market demand, and then determines whether or not your company meets these requirements in a manner which will increase your likelihood of success if awarded the contract.  Ms. Hermelee also described the GSA proposal preparation process, including the preparation, submission, clarification and negotiations involved.  She concluded with recent updates and provided attendees with a number of useful tips on how to maximize the benefits of their GSA contract.

Jack Wise and Robert Vitelli discussed how GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) assists various government agencies with their procurement needs.  FAS works with every major civilian and federal government agency to offer assisted acquisition services on a fee-for-service basis.  The industries they work with include IT, professional services, and network services.  They explained how firms benefit by participating in the GSA Schedules program.  Businesses receive direct orders from customers and work with multiple government agencies in a streamlined fashion.  They explained that the Schedules program is not the only way to do business with the government. Mr. Wise and Mr Vitelli concluded their presentation with resource information on other Small Business Administration (SBA) programs committed to helping small businesses such as the 8(a) and HUBZone programs

Each presentation was followed by informative Q & A sessions where attendees were able to explore ways how their businesses could take advantage of the GSA Schedules Program.

About MBDA

The MBDA Business Center of PA (MBC-PA) is a part of The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.  Our mission focuses on job creation, access to capital, procurement growth, and advocacy for minority-owned businesses.  We provide strategic management consulting to minority-owned firms and work with large business enterprises to increase supplier diversity across the Greater Philadelphia region.  MBC-PA is operated by The Enterprise Center. Contact Anjela Alvarado at or by phone 215.895.4032 for more information.

About BH Sky

BH Sky Associates, based in Princeton, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., helps clients identify, negotiate, secure, market and manage procurement opportunities and government contracts at all levels.  It is New Jersey’s only company specializing in GSA/VA Schedule Contracts and Government Market Intelligence.  BH Sky offers professional consulting services to small and mid-size companies in a wide range of industries seeking to do business at all levels of government.  For more information, view our videos or contact us directly by phone 866.468.7420 or email.