ISSUE STATEMENT NO. 3812: ATTITUDE IS THE KEY…. ~ Wilfong

Hank, 

I have had several calls/e-mails from people concerning how Dan [Sturdivant, Department of Homeland Security] & I “stole the show” on No. 3812.  Thank you for demonstrating to the small business community that some Feds really do care a great deal about pushing this ball down the field and making a real difference.

Affectionately,

Mr. Gary G. Lyttek | Small Business Program Manager

Office of Acquisition and Supply Management | National Nuclear Security Administration

~

Back when there was just the 8(a) Program, the share of procurement done by the “smalls” was 20%.   Fast forward 20 years and umpteen groups added to the original ONE group.  The share of the procurement by “smalls” is still 20%.  This in spite of the fact that P.L. 99-661 promised demonstrative and immediate change in market share.  And Congress admonished that the 8(a) portion of business was NOT to be negatively impacted.”  ~ Wilfong

That’s the conclusion arrived at on the last Wilfong Hour.  The discussion was led by Dan Sturdivant and Gary Lyttek.  Titularly, the show was headed by the host, as usual.  But, in actuality, Dan Sturdivant of Department of Homeland Security and Gary Lyttek of National Nuclear Security Administration stole the show.  And, what a glorious 90 minute hour it turned out to be. 

There were numerous things raised in successful dealing with OSDBUs, Program Managers, SBLOs and Contracting Officers.  But, in the end, it all boiled down to “Attitude” as being the key ingredient in successfully navigating the federal procurement process.

If all the Government folk were as helpful as are Dan and Gary, it was agreed that the “attitude” of many of our SDBs would be more positive.  And, as these two folk pointed out, sometimes their “attitude” is affected by the “attitude” that is brought to them.  The SBLOs were discussed in this segment also.  We’re glad that Rochelle Lowe of SAIC was with us for much of the time.  She added a balancing perspective from the private sector, major contractor side.

One of the recurring subjects arose again.  Goals, and the failure to meet them, are an issue that is almost a constant.  There is this confusion between goals and quotas.   We have the former, but some argue aggressively for the latter.  Since the government can’t seem to reach their “goals”, some suggest “quotas” so that the agencies and their major prime contractors are mandated (forced) to reach them.  That is, of course, a losing proposition.  It will never happen.  In our humble opinion it should NOT ever happen.

However, there must be a serious and continuous attempt to achieve the minimums, set as goals, for the measurement of progress towards the full and true integration of firms owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  Maximum practicable utilization is the true goal.  The others are, as stated, “minimums”. How to achieve Maximum Practicable Utilization is the question still on the table.

Competitive viability is the key to that, with the majority of us.  If more of our firms can achieve competitive viability then we can more successfully reach this full inclusion of all firms in the procurement process.  What is the problem with achieving that?  Remember the movie “Shane”?  The little boy looks under the swinging door into the saloon, and sees all these “bad guys” waiting to jump Shane when he comes in.  “Shane, there’s too many of them.”   Well, we think that may well be, what’s happened to the “minority business program”-changed to “small disadvantaged business” program.

What’s the evidence?  Start with the 80/20 ratio.  Back when there was just the 8(a) Program, the share of procurement done by the “smalls” was 20%.   Fast forward 20 years and umpteen groups added to the original ONE group.  The share of the procurement by “smalls” is still 20%.  This in spite of the fact that P.L. 99-661 promised demonstrative and immediate change in market share.  And Congress admonished that the 8(a) portion of business was NOT to be negatively impacted.   

“It is the intent of the Committee that DOD not take contracts from 8(a) or small business set-aside programs for award under the special programs established pursuant to section 1207.  Small business is receiving only about 19 percent of the DOD; prime contract dollar even though small firms account for over 99 percent of all firms in the country. The five percent goal should be achieved primarily by taking from the over 80 percent of the budget going to the 1 percent of firms considered to be big business.” (United States Congress)

As they added each “Preferred Group” the admonition was repeated.  It has been said, over and over, that “these other groups are not taking from the existing groups” (now consisting of 8(a) and SDBs).  How then does one explain that the 80/20 ratio still persists all these years later?

One ought not try to explain the unexplainable.

“Shane, there’s too many of them.”

The struggle continues, until we succeed-and we shall-YES WE CAN!!!!!

EVERY MONDAY | 12 NOON CST – 1PM EST ~ Dial-in Number: 218.339.2626 (The Participant Access Code is: 408191#)

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1 comment
  1. Hank Wilfong said:

    It looks even better as I read it in 8-PAC. The participation by Dan Sturdivant and Gary Lyttek is magnified as I look back and reflect. Annette, Thedis and Rochelle on the West Coast, were tremendous contributors. As were Tony, Rudy, Rita and Tim from Texas. In addition, I’ve since found out there were some “significant” folk listening in, and not talking.

    That’s the beauty of this platform. Anonymity can be maintained, if desired. Then, again, that emphasizes the magnificence of the openness displayed by those who chose to speak out. Anonymity has its value. But, we need more “stand up and be counted” folk.

    We’ve got a campaign to win….we’ve got bigotry and exclusion to demolish…sometimes we feel like Shane…

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