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    Aug 20, 2015
    Prepare to Win. Perform to Expand.
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    Mystery shopping is a tool used by private and public organizations to measure the quality of customer service, operations, safety, contract compliance, and the overall experience of the everyday customer.

    Most people think this tool is only used for retail and restaurant businesses, but nowadays it is used by the government sector (Federal, State, and Local), transit agencies, parking garages, airports, taxis bureaus, colleges, and airlines just to name a few.

    Today, the transportation industry is using “mystery shoppers" to ride buses, trains, subways, and even taxis with one goal in common: Generate a positive customer experience in public transportation. Most of the time these mystery shoppers/riders are from a third party contractor with industry specific experience and they are secretly scheduled to board the routes the transit agency picked beforehand,  making observations and gathering all the data possible about customer service, safety, appearance, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, operations, and overall experience.

    "Our overall goal is to monitor our operators - like a quality assurance check," said Houston METRO's Senior Director of transportation. "We'll have eyes and ears out on our service from an objective point of
    view, so we can monitor where we need to do some actual work."

    When a transit agency like METRO sets a Mystery Shopping program in place, there are important variables to consider like the size of the fleet, routes, time of the day to evaluate (morning/evening rush hour), etc. A primary key value to consider during the mystery rider observation is safety. Safety concerns  include running a red light; not following speed limits; a bumpy ride; or hard turns where passengers feel like they're about to fall off a seat. Another advantage of using Mystery shoppers/riders is that the transit agency can compare the hard data vs customer complaints.  

    "It's to pinpoint what is really happening. Our main goal is to see a decline in the number of complaints that come in," said Marie Turner, operations support analyst. "We want the public to see a difference."

    Kim Wells,manager of customer service at Houston METRO, says using mystery riders is a great tool. "If you use it like in your retail environment - to improve the quality of service you offer - why wouldn't you do it in the transit industry?" Houston METRO is not the only transit agency doing this. Chicago Transit Agency  started a "mystery shopper" program back in 2008. They asked their mystery shoppers to evaluate key values such as providing on time, safe, clean, courteous, and efficient service.

    The use of technology used by Covert Travelers, mystery shopping and customer experience programs brings to the transit industry a whole new concept and opportunity to improve their customer service, safety and operations with a real time  feedback from front line operations.
    GovPartners specializes in customer experience management. Service offerings include mystery shops/rides, passenger/customer surveys and competitive intelligence. If you’d like to know more about our services and customer experience solutions, please e-mail inquiries to or visit our website at I

    A successful company must have the ability to understand and effectively respond to the customer’s needs and concerns. Sales is often perceived to be mostly about trying to convince the customer that they need the product/service. Excellent customer service starts by knowing your customer and providing a beneficial solution to their needs.  Supply to the demand, don't demand to supply.
    - Cynthia Karnik
    Customer Experience Officer


    Apple working on designs for a car, could start testing soon

    China Eastern uses safety video to warn about battery charger use



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    Jun 11, 2014

    GovPartners is Taking the Mystery out of Customer Satisfaction, One Trip at a Time
    Ashburn, VA (June 11, 2014) – GovPartners, LLC (GovPartners) a leading provider of complete acquisition management support services, today announced they have extended their market research services for the transportation sector within the DC Metropolitan area. GovPartners’ newly developed Customer Intelligence Analyst (CIA) Division, the clandestine arm of GovPartners, is comprised of an experienced team focused on providing clients with objective metrics to measure customer experience and operational performance.

    GovPartners has successfully developed a transportation specific program that provides their clients with quality market research and customer intelligence reporting. “Our objective results significantly contribute to improving the way our clients do business, increases the productivity of our client’s vendors, and saves our clients’ money, while improving the end users overall traveling experience.  We are very pleased that we are able to further expand our core competencies with a goal to be recognized as the market leader in the transportation industry,” said Cynthia Karnik, GovPartners Customer Experience Officer (CEO).”
    GovPartners plans to expand its market reach to include land, air and sea transportation providers nationwide. Click on the following link to learn more.

    Covert Travelers Header

    About GovPartners 
    Founded in 2009, GovPartners, a certified small woman & minority owned business and LDBE, provides complete acquisition management, contract compliance and performance evaluation services.  Their mission is to engage with clients to help determine what should be measured and how, advise on the most effective ways to analyze the data and provide reports with conclusions and recommendations.  GovPartners currently serves transportation industry clients that represent some of the most innovative and successful customer-focused organizations competing in the marketplace.  Their surveying and experience management solutions deliver value to customer-focused companies in an array of industries.  For more information about GovPartners, visit their websites at and

    For more information please contact:

    Meg Galvan / Creative Analyst
    ASHBURN, VIRGINIA   20147  
    Phone:  (571) 252-3868 | Email:

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    May 12, 2014

    Please join GovPartners for our Meet the Employer event (Wednesday, May 14 - 9:30AM-11AM) for walk-in interviews for our part-time Covert Traveler position(s). We are currently recruiting for positions in the DC Metro Area.

    Event Details:
    Arlington Employment Center -- Meet the Employer (Recruiting event)
    2100 Washington Blvd (1st Fl), Arlington, VA
    Wednesday, May 13 -- 9:30AM-11:00AM

    or Apply Online (Covert Traveler) -

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    Sep 20, 2012

    Using Sequestration to Your (GSA) Advantage

    In addition to the political outcome this winter, there is something else that people are concerned with, but don’t totally understand: Sequestration. The OMB has plans to reduce the budget by nearly 10.3% by January 3, 2013.

    For organizations involved with defense spending, difficult decisions will need to be made. If the Department of Defense cuts approximately 108,000 Federal employees, Contractors will be forced to make some cuts to their staff as well.  Some defense contractors have already issued 60-day notices to a portion of the workforce.  Even though the budget cuts won’t immediately reflect the 10.3% decrease in spending, now is the time to start thinking about a few things:

    First, what are your current staffing levels?  If you’ve been running lean for the last few years, do you have room in the budget for new talent?  There will be some very accomplished professionals released from the public and private sectors.  Think about your staffing needs and some of the changes you can make that you may not have considered before.

    Are you taking advantage of all of the set-asides available to you?  Are you bidding on every contract that has a high probability of win?  Have you formulated a new Marketing Plan for the next ten (10) years, with these budgetary changes into account?  Are you on the GSA Schedule?

    These are all important things to look at right now.  GovPartners understands the coming challenges and are assisting many clients navigate the uncertain future we’re facing.  Here are some areas we may be able to help:

    ·         Market Research and Capture Management:  GovPartners will research the opportunities that are available for your organization to help alleviate some of the uncertainty in the market.

    ·         If you’re not on the GSA schedule, GovPartners can assist you in determining which schedule is right for your company, prepare the submission and follow it through to completion.

    ·         Teaming:  GovPartners has recently relaunched the SubTeamPartners (STP) network. Through this network, GovPartners can assist you in facilitating teaming partnerships for targeted government opportunities.  STP matches your teaming needs with other contractors complementing each company's areas of service and/ or socio economic statuses for set-aside requirements. This provides you with the visibility and capabilities to  bid on opportunities that may not have been available to you before.

    ·        Proposal Preparation:  In the past, most companies had staff that were dedicated to preparing their company proposals.   The environment and economic climate has changed, and more companies are utilizing 3rd parties to assist with each proposal effort.  GovPartners develops lasting relationships and partnerships on integrity. Our proposal preparation team allows our clients to experience a service that provides proposal with the ambiance of your own in-house proposal department.

    ·         Once you’ve acquired the contract, GovPartners provides Acquisition and Contract Management and Administration to include kick-off meeting attendance, invoicing, Quality Control, Performance Evaluation, deliverables, close-out reporting, etc.

    Let GovPartners help you Prepare to Win and  Perform to Expand.

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    Sep 20, 2012

    Are you going through GovPhases?  Below are tips to help survive the mid-cycle crisis.

     If you are a current government contractor, you may be experiencing the government procurement mid-cycle crisis.  The key to successfully mitigating a crisis is to focus on each phase of the cycle…one phase at a time. The only medicine needed is patience and dedication.

     Phase 1 – Pre-proposal.  It is very important to know your market.  Prior to proposal release, conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis.  In addition, conduct an internal review of your companies pricing structure and technical strengths.  Continually update your Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis to determine how to strategically bid and increase your PWIN.

     Phase 2 – Pre-award.   You have submitted a winning proposal, now what?  Take some time and Prepare to Win.  Review the performance work statement (PWS) and contract terms and conditions and create a compliance check matrix.  Check off all the requirements that are in place and highlight the areas that need to be implemented.  Create a timeline and conduct a pre-award kick-off meeting with your team.  Take full advantage of the source selection phase by proactively preparing your company.

     Phase 3. Award.  Congratulations, you won!  Now it’s time to perform.  Revisit your timeline and add any crucial dates and milestones needed for contract execution.  Schedule a kick-off meeting with the Contracting Officer, COTR and project team. 

     Phase 4. Post-Award. Continually monitor performance through quality control processes, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and project management.  Conduct monthly meetings, reporting and feedback with the customer.  Know your customer.

     Phase 5.  Contract Compliance and Customer Satisfaction.  This phase is critical and must be monitored on a daily basis.  Customer satisfaction may lead to more business through past performance evaluations and future opportunities with the customer and other agencies.  Perform to expand.

     Phase 6. Contract Closeout.  Unfortunately, every contract comes to an end.  If you are fortunate enough to win the recompete for an on-going effort, then this phase comes later.  However, if your contract expires, you will need to process the contract closeout documents in a timely manner.


    If you proactively plan for each phase and manage each process, the mid-cycle crisis can be avoided.  Prepare to Win…Perform to Expand!

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    Apr 13, 2012

    GovPartners Launches SubTeamPartners Networking Website!

    GovPartners has launched the much-anticipated teaming network, An upgrade to the previous system reduces the time spent searching for a prime or subcontractor to respond to RFPs that require multiple service and products. Not only are you able to post your needs anonymously, the network is designed to facilitate document sharing, teaming opportunity searching and posting, forum participation, capabilities postings, monthly spotlights, saved searches, archives and the use of valuable templates such as NDAs, subcontractor agreements, and teaming agreements. GovPartners is looking for companies to join the beta testing and help populate the network. Click here to join now.

    Small Biz & Big Gov = GovPartners.

    Did you know that over the past year, the amount of money that small business contractors have invested in seeking gov contracts has averaged $103,827, which is an increase of 21% over the previous year? HOWEVER, small businesses are bidding less. Why? The average success rates for small biz contractors in both prime and subcontracts have also declined, because of a more competitive and tighter environment. As the Gov's budget is streamlined, the lowest price/technically acceptable (LPTA) buying practice is more prevalent. It is time to get creative and manage costs, maintain a reasonable profit, while remaining competitive.

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    Sep 9, 2011

    Top Twenty SubTeamPartners Features (1 of 2; numbers 20 through 11):

    20.    A new and improved user interface
    19.    Post Government Opportunities
    18.    Search for teaming partners (Prime and Subcontractors)
    17.    Retain your anonymity when searching for partners and opportunities
    16.    Send private messages to other companies
    15.    Ask questions and post topics in our forums
    14.    Have multiple users (e-mail addresses) from the same company
    13.    Receive notifications on new messages and opportunities updates
    12.    Advertising opportunities to top primes and subcontractors
    11.    Be featured "In the Spotlight' in our newsletter and on our homepage

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    Sep 7, 2011

    Unified Combatant Command Spotlight: EUCOM | September 7, 2011


    The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Israel. The Commander of EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO.  The current Commander of EUCOM is Admiral James G. Stavridis.


    With national and international partners, U.S. European Command’s primary purpose to conduct military operations, international military partnering, and interagency partnering to enhance transatlantic security and defend the United States forward.


    In early 1951, NATO established Allied Command Europe and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). General Dwight D. Eisenhower was called from retirement to become the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The United States sent massive reinforcements to Europe designed to deter the Soviet Union.  The EUCOM was formed shortly in 1952.

    During the Cold War and the Kosovo War, EUCOM was the lead command for potential operations. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.


    EUCOM was established on 1 August 1952, to provide "unified command and authority" over all United States forces in Europe.


    America's rapid post-war demobilization, followed by the end of the occupation of Germany in 1949, led many to question the United States' commitment to defend Western Europe against the spread of communism. Western nations questioned how they could provide for the common defense and simultaneously questioned America's role in such defense. In 1948–1949, the Berlin Blockade motivated Western Europe and the United States to create a military alliance. In 1949, the allies established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

    From 1950 to 1953 United States military personnel in Europe grew from 120,000 to over 400,000. 

    EUCOM and its components continued to provide military assistance throughout Europe, as well as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, noncombatant evacuation, support to peacekeeping operations, and other non-traditional missions in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. For example, after the Congo became independent in 1960, EUCOM joined in several multinational operations in that country, including peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and noncombatant evacuation in 1960, 1964, 1967 and again in 1978. In the Middle East, EUCOM provided military assistance to Israel as well as noncombatant evacuation of American citizens in 1967, 1973, and 1982–1984.

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    Aug 23, 2010

    Federal Govt.'s FY is Coming to an End

    The Federal Government's fiscal year ends on September 30, which gives agencies a "use it or lose it" mentality regarding their budgets. If an agency has unspent dollars at the end of the fiscal year it loses the money and runs the risk of a reduced budget the following year.

    To learn more about how you can take advantage of the "use it or lose it" opportunities, click here.

    The Four Myths to Government Contracting

    Myth #1: More specific specifications are always better.

    Fact: All suppliers get the same exact requirements in the RFP. The government is not looking for irrelevant information or minutia, so just stick to the facts.

    To find out what the rest of the myths are, click here.

    GovPartners News:
    We would like to welcome our new team members:

    Kate Hoyle
    Marketing Coordinator
    Kate joins us with an undergraduate and an MBA in Marketing. She is familiar with social media marketing, web design, promotional design, and disseminating business updates through multiple media outlets.

    Trisha Pinckney
    Proposal Writer
    Trisha is a professional with 8+ years of experience in proposal development, technical writing, editing engineering, marketing, and business development within federal and state governments and commercial markets.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


    A member of our STP community recently won an award for NASA. They will be responsible for the Communications and Avionics Installation on the NASA GRC T-34 Aircraft.

    Click here to learn more.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

    New STP Opportunities

    Posted today, three new opportunities that may require subcontracting support:

    Aircraft Occupant Ballistic Protection System

    Strategic Navigation Systems

    Ops and Maintenance of Government Fueling Facilities

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

    Follow Us On:

    Participate in our weekly GovTrivia and win Washington Nationals baseball tickets, complements of Miami Air.

    Contact us if you have any questions regarding our GSA, Proposal Services, or Teaming services. Sign up today and make the connection.

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    Mar 22, 2010

    Try SubTeamPartners For One Year

    GovPartners is throwing a MARCH MADNESS event for its SubTeamPartners Database. All companies who register for our database before April 17 will be able to access and use our database for one whole year. 
    What is SubTeamPartners?
    SubTeamPartners is a GovPartners service that helps contractors find business opportunities with prime contractors and government vendors.  Your company will have the ability to post, request business, search for and locate subcontractors and teaming partners. Having access to this invaluable online tool will reduce your research time and efforts while exposing your business to government opportunities that require prime contractors and subcontractors.  Contractor Teaming Agreements are on the rise.  Allow us to connect your business today!”
    Sign up now to post your own partnership opportunities and respond to subcontracting openings. Access will allow you to advertise, search and increase your business offerings to prime and subcontractors.


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    Mar 8, 2010

    Proposed rule is designed to help agencies award 5 percent of federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses.
    The Small Business Administration proposed a procurement set-aside rule that would give women business-owners more opportunities in federal contracting.

    The intent of the rule is provide more opportunities for women-owned small businesses to compete for federal contracts, while helping agencies reach the existing statutory goal of awarding 5 percent of federal contracting dollars to WOSBs, SBA said. According to figures, the government exceeded its 5 percent goal in 2002, but otherwise hasn't reached it. The level has usually hovered around 3 percent since 1999, when SBA first started tracking the numbers.

    A set-aside rule would reserve some contracts for the businesses, ensuring that those contracts will count toward the goal no matter which competitor wins. SBA’s proposal finds that women are underrepresented in 83 industries in the federal marketplace, according to the agency. Officials used the analysis in a 2007 study commissioned by SBA from the Kauffman-Rand Foundation to determine where women are underrepresented.

    “Women-owned small businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, yet they continue to be underrepresented when it comes to federal contracting,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. Reference article.

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    Feb 26, 2010

    10. The U.S. Government is the largest company in the world. Approximately $1 billion in new opportunities in the services sector of Government contracting are available to bid on by private business each day.  

    9. 95% of federal contracts are awarded to small and medium sized businesses.

    8. There are 2,000 to 5,000 new government contracting opportunities in all industry categories.

    7. A Small Business Set-Aside Program (SBSA) was developed to assure that small businesses are awarded a fair proportion of government contracts by reserving certain government purchases exclusively for participation by small business concerns.

    6. Contracts that have an anticipated value between $2,500 and $100,000 are reserved for small, small disadvantaged, women-owned, and small veteran-owned businesses.

    5. The Small Business Association (SBA) administers a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses called 8(a) which helps small businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market.

    4. Less than 5% of the businesses in the United States do business with the U.S. Government? WOW!

    3. America's 9.1 million women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy.

    2. Minority-owned businesses have nearly doubled in the past two decades. A report from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that minorities own nearly 15 percent of American businesses.

    And...the number one and "OMG why haven't you been working for this customer" reason IS...

    1. The government procures services ranging from smaller scale Food Services and Janitorial projects to complex space flight systems development.

    What are you waiting for? Find out how you can start selling your products and services to the government today!

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    Feb 3, 2010

    AGENCY SPOTLIGHT: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

    WHO is USAID and what do they do?

    USAID is the US agency for international development and they provide economic, development and humanitarian assistance in support of the US Foreign Policy goals. The USAID Congressional Budget Justification contains information on the foreign assistance programs and activities implemented by the USAID. They receive their overall guidance from the Secretary of State.

    WHAT do they buy?

    USAID has partnerships in Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East. They procure technical assistance, commodities, equipment, transportation and construction. There are detailed financial reports available on the USAID website and a forecast of opportunities available at

    Fiscal Year: 2009
    Total dollars: $5,170,748,552
    The amount is 1.0% of all awarded dollars for the fiscal year.
    Total number of contractors: 1,365
    Total number of transactions: 5,698

    WHERE is USAID located?

    USAID's headquarters is located in Washington, DC at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The main telephone number is (202) 712-2000.

    WHEN does the USAID office purchase most of their products and services from small businesses?

    Since the USAID agency is responsible for worldwide services and operations, they are always purchasing. The main website for USAID opportunities is located at The USAID offices also purchase from GSA schedules and Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC). There is also information on the USAID website for small businesses at

    HOW do I become a vendor for USAID?

    USAID requires all of the initial registrations as other government entities. You must be registered in the CCRs and ORCA and must acquire a DUNS number if you do not already have one. The OSDBU/MRC (Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Minority Resource Center) is the initial point of contact for small businesses wanting to do business with the USAID agency.

    WHY? USAID is heading up the recent Haiti earthquake response teams. Be a part of the solution and find out how you can help.

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    Feb 3, 2010

    Businesses electing to get into the government market are abundant, but most stop at the initial briefing when the business owner or manager finds out that the cash register does not automatically fill up after the initial registration processes.

    The government market rewards are plentiful if you have the desire AND the patience to navigate through the various entry points and are diligent with your marketing efforts. Whether you are a product provider or service provider, there are key elements necessary in order to be successful in the government market.

    First you need to plan your strategy. Decide whether you are going to go through the process with your internal resources or hire an experienced team to help you get introduced to key players, buying agencies and prime contracting partners. Most companies experience serious growing pains if there is not a clear understanding of the landscape before getting started.

    Ask yourself some key questions. Does the government buy what I sell? How often? Who are my competitors? What value-added services do I bring to the table? What does my company do differently to set me apart? Once you can clearly answer these initial questions, you are ready for next steps. Here are some examples of what government contracting officers are looking for.

    1) Quick delivery
    2) Quality –strong technical capabilities
    3) Customer Service – good past performance
    4) Company reputation

    Next, define your position for your product or service. Remember the US Government market is 25% OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT AND HAS OVER 20 MILLION EMPLOYEES. You need to know WHO in government are your significant buyers and influencers, and specifically target these people. Incremental growth is recommended and it is sane and doable. Spending money on prospecting new agencies before your foundation is laid is risky at best.

    Develop relationships. Like in any business, people do business with people and companies they know and trust. Government business is no exception. Establish and maximize the value of relationships. Remember the “R” word. Understanding that federal employees take pride in their work is key when formulating new RELATIONSHIPS. Knowing and understanding simple things like “on-time, on-budget” makes your client – your government customer- a star. If you can deliver, they will remember.

    Proactive marketing – Intelligent and proactive marketing makes the difference. Identifying the prospects, creating the opportunities, developing the relationships and developing the right niche for your company based on customer feedback will allow you to win major government market share.
    There is no one pathway for doing business with the government. It requires dedication, patience, due diligence and thoroughness of work performed.

    Ready to get started? Here is a summary of helpful hints for small businesses looking for government contract opportunities.

    1. Do your homework and check out the competition competition.
    2. Get ready. Make sure you have all the registrations complete such as a federal tax ID # and DUNS number.
    3. Get the necessary classifications. Are you a veteran-owned, women-owned, small, and/or disadvantaged company? If so, it pays to get classified as such in order to take advantage of set-aside contracts.
    4. Build a Central Contracting Registration (CCR) profile
    5. Consider subcontracting and teaming. Identify large firms that hold contracts and determine how your product or service would be a value addition to their offerings to the government. Subcontracting is an excellent way to gain exposure to the government market. New help? Click here to get started
    6. Attend small-business conferences
    7. Visit a local Small Business Administration (SBA) office.

    Still got that itch to enter the government niche? GovPartners, LLC is a minority, woman-owned firm that works with small businesses to help streamline the government process. Our cradle-to-grave approach includes government registrations, opening doors to prime contractors, researching government opportunities, proposal writing and submission and business development efforts. If the above efforts are overwhelming for your existing resources to handle, GovPartners will expand your current team to develop and execute a comprehensive government business development plan specifically tailored for your company. Contact us today for a successful tomorrow.

    Arthur: Sabrina Ford, GovPartners

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    Nov 19, 2009

    The NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is performing a technical assessment to form the basis of a possible proposal for the NASA Science Mission Directorate DiscoveryProgram opportunity. This assessment is focused on conducting scientific exploration ofthe planet Mars using ARES, a robotic aerial platform (ARES: Aerial Regional-scaleEnvironmental Surveyor).The purpose of this announcement is to enable LaRC to obtain potential providers toparticipate in the development of the technical concept, proposal, and mission elementimplementation of several mission areas in response to the upcoming NASA DiscoveryProgram Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Specific mission areas where LaRC is seekingassistance include:(1) The ARES Science Team.(2) ARES Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Team(3) Design and development of the aerial platform structures and mechanisms subsystemincluding the composite airframe, associated hinging and latching mechanisms, and controlsurfaces. (4) Design and development of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerialplatform. (5) Design and development of the command and data handling, flight software, and thenavigation sensors (only for entry and flight over Mars). (6) Design and development of the telecommunications subsystem for the aerialplatform and entry system.(7) Design and development of two complete cameras.Discovery Program investigations address NASAs planetary science goals as described inSolar System Exploration, NASAs 2006 roadmap for planetary science. The roadmap may befound at . While Discovery investigations may focus on any body in the Solar System, excluding the Earth and the Sun, and including Mars and the Moon, the ARES synopsis focuses on the exploration of Mars. Discovery investigations will be led by a Principal Investigator and will be comprised of scientists in partnerships, potentially involving NASA Centers, academia, and industry.These teams will pursue missions of high scientific value utilizing observation platforms of their choice and design.Release of a draft Discovery AO is expected by the end of CY 2009. It is anticipatedthat approximately two to three Discovery investigations will be selected for 9-month Phase A concept studies.  Read Full

    Tags: Nasa Teaming
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    Nov 3, 2009

    United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, one of six of the Defense Department's regional military headquarters, was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. As such, Africa Command has administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to U.S. government policy in Africa, to include military-to-military relationships with 53 African nations. The other five regional commands and their locations are: U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Florida; U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany; U.S. Northern Command, Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii; and U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Florida.

    Commander: General William E. "Kip" Ward, United States Army
    Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations:
    Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, United States Navy
    Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities:
    Ambassador Tony Holmes, United States Department of State

    Chain of Command: The commander of Africa Command reports to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who reports to the President of the United States. In individual countries, U.S. Ambassadors continue to be the President's personal representatives in diplomatic relations with host nations.

    AFRICOM Mission: United States Africa Command, in concert with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.

    Partnering with African Nations: Through strong and lasting strategic partnerships with African partners and by delivering sustained, effective, and coherent security cooperation programs, U.S. Africa Command helps foster a more stable and secure Africa:

    * where military organizations perform professionally and with integrity;
    * that promotes legitimate and professional security institutions;
    * that has the will and means to direct, dissuade, deter and defeat transnational threats;
    * and whose militaries and governments are increasingly capable of supporting continental and international peace efforts.

    U.S. Africa Command's theater strategic objectives:

    * Defeat the Al-Qaeda terrorist organizations and its associated networks;

    * Ensure peace operations capacity exists to respond to emerging crises, and continental peace support operations are effectively fulfilling mission requirements;
    * Cooperate with identified African states in the creation of an environment inhospitable to the unsanctioned possession and proliferation on WMD;

    * Improve security sector governance and increased stability through military support to comprehensive, holistic and enduring USG efforts in designated states;

    * Protect populations from deadly contagions.

    Personnel: U.S. Africa Command projects a staff of 1,300 personnel for its headquarters and joint subordinate activities, half of whom are civilian employees, including representatives from non-military agencies of the U.S. government. As of September 1, 2009, more than 1,200 personnel were assigned.

    Location: Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart-Moehringen, Germany. In the near term, AFRICOM will focus on working with Embassies, Country Teams, and Offices of Defense Cooperation to strengthen existing military-to-military relationships. If our African partners and the U.S. government agree that further cooperation would benefit from a more robust Africa Command presence, we will consult accordingly and determine the best way to proceed.

    Funding: The U.S. Africa Command transition team was budgeted for approximately $50 million in Fiscal Year 2007, and the command received $75.5 million for Fiscal Year 2008 and $310 million for Fiscal Year 2009. The Obama administration has requested $278 million for U.S. Africa Command for Fiscal Year 2010.

    Supporting the U.S. Department of State: U.S. Africa Command supports the U.S. Department of State in the achievement of US foreign policy objectives in Africa. In addition and where appropriate, U.S. Africa Command provides personnel and logistical support to State Department-funded activities. Command personnel work closely with U.S. embassies in Africa to coordinate training programs to improve African nations’ security capacity. Read full article.

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    Nov 2, 2009

    According to Washington Technology and research by Input, this list ranks the 20 largest and most important contracts that will hit the market in 2010. The services range from information technology to satellite communications to research and development to logistics support. Many contracts are valued in the billions. These contracts will be highly sought after by a variety of government contractors. Look for more coverage and teaming opportunities as the year unfolds. Contact the incumbents (when applicable) and submit your interest and capabilities brief.

    1. Criminal Justice Program Support
    2. Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions II

    3. Connections
    4. Strategic Services Sourcing
    5. Communications and Transmission Systems Program
    6. Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 3
    7. NetCents II
    8. Compass DOD Enterprise Software Initiative
    9. Future Commercial SatCom Acquisitions
    10. Common Hardware Systems 4
    11. System Engineering and Technical Assistance Research and Development
    12. Defense Information Systems Network Global Services Management
    13. Special Operations Forces Information Enterprise
    14. Design and Engineering Support Program 3
    15. Information Technology Support Services IV
    16. Support Services
    17. Continental U.S. Support Base Services II
    18. Field Training Systems Support III
    19. Global Combat Support System
    20. Information Assurance Support Services

    For a brief of the top 20 contracts and full article

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    Oct 29, 2009

    The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) command responsible for land, air and sea transportation. With its people, trucks, trains, aircraft, ships, information systems and infrastructure USTRANSCOM provides the most responsive strategic mobility capability the world has ever seen. USTRANSCOM currently controls a fleet of military assets valued in excess of $52 billion, including: 87 ships; 1,269 aircraft; 2,150 railcars and assorted equipment, and $1.4 billion in infrastructure, as well as access through commercial partners to more than 1,001 aircrafts and 360 vessels in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) programs.

    To give you an idea of the size and scope, USTRANSCOM conducts more than 1,900 air missions, with 25 ships underway and 10,000 ground shipments operating in 75% of the world's countries. The command has moved more than 1.9 million passengers; 1.1 million tons by air, 3.7 million tons by sea; and delivered more than 53.7 billion barrels of fuel by ship.

    What does this mean for transportation contractors? USTRANSCOM, like all other federal agencies, need to meet their small business goals. Currently, these goals are not being met. Why? Most of the requirements are being filled by large businesses because small businesses are not responding to request for information (RFI) postings, sources sought notices, market research notices, and/or request for proposals (RFP).

    USTRANSCOM Directorate of Acquisitions: Who are They and What do they Do?

    USTRANSCOM's Directorate of Acquisition mission is to provide acquisition capability to include contracting and program management functions in support of transportation and distribution for the DoD. They act as a business advisor to their commander. USTRANSCOM's Acquisition division has recently gone through a reorganization. Their direct customers include UNSTRANSCOM, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), Military Sealift Command, Air Mobility Command (AMC), and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Below is a summary of each division and what they do.

     TCAQ-R National Transportation - provides responsive contracting and business advisory support for the national and regional transportation programs serving the DoD customers worldwide.

     TCAQ-I International Scheduled Services -provides procurement of international multimodal transportation services in support of DoD's peace and wartime worldwide movement of cargo.

     TCAQ-M Program Management - provides expertise on acquisition program management policies, procedures and strategies to the commander, staff and components.

     TCAQ-C International Charters - provides procurement and worldwide administration of international charter airlift requirements supporting DoD passengers and cargo during war and peace.

     TCAQ-P Business Support/Policy - provides expertise on acquisition policies, procedures and strategies. They ensure that USTRANSCOM maintains the highest ethical procurement standards while achieving world class, global warfighter support.

     TCAQ-SB - Small Business Programs - provides advices and counsel to commander on small business matters. Assist in developing strategies to ensure maximum participation and opportunities for small business concerns.

     TCAQ-S Specialized Services - provides responsive contracting and business advisory support for specialized services and research and development programs serving DoD customers worldwide.

     TCAQ-D Distribution Process Owner (DPO) Support - provides responsive contracting and business advisory support for USTRASNCOM DPO support services, as well as contracting support for SDDC national level transportation systems requirements.

    Small Businesses: USTRANSCOM WANTS YOU

    If you are a small business and want to do business with USTRANSCOM, contact Michelle Mendez, Director of Small Business Programs immediately at (618) 256-9619 or Be sure to have a capabilities brief ready to reference for talking points and follow up with an email. USTRANSCOM is interested in learning of all small qualified business, the more information you provide before an RFP is constructed, increases the chances of having small business set-aside requirements. Do not be afraid to request a face-to-face meeting. The small business program office will always be able to meet with contractors and will include contracting officers for specific contracts of interest. However, they are unable to discuss open solicitations.

    ALWAYS respond to request for information, sources sought and market analysis so USTRANSCOM is aware that there are qualified small business vendors. Never assume the requirement is already earmarked for a specific contractor. The more information USTRANSCOM is provided, the more they are able to set-aside requirements for small businesses.

    USTRANSCOM is a very lucrative customer. Significant programs (awarded to contractors) include:

    Defense Personal Property System (DPS): Joint end-to-end web based IT System managing over 500,000 personnel property movements annually. Contract value is in excess of $50 million annually.

    Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF): Provides worldwide movement of troops and cargo- Valued at $2.5 billion annually.

    Hero Remains (HR): Provides movement of HR from the continental United States CONUS to final destination for fallen service members and is valued at $24 million annually.

    Universal Services Contract (USC): Single point, door-to-door cargo transportation, service via ocean carriers and is valued at $1 billion annually.

    Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative (DTCI): Provides transportation coordination services to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency of DoD material moving throughout the CONUS. After Phase III implementation, this contract is valued at $258 million annually.

    Need Help? GovPartners can be your advocate. We can put together a comprehensive capabilities brief and connect you with USTRANSCOM decision makers. Our team has a long standing relationship with their team. Contact us today to get started. Alternatively, connect and team with contractors with existing contracting vehicles.

    Useful Links:
    Quick Search for business opportunities HTC711 @
    USTRANSCOM Directory and Phone #s

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    Oct 1, 2009

    Have you noticed that the scopes of work in recent government solicitations are increasing in size? Many services and products are all part of one request for proposal. This can be considered good or bad. Requirements once performed by separate contract vehicles may be consolidated under only one. As a result, teaming is becoming more popular and necessary, especially among qualified government contractors. For many companies who are regularly too small to win or perform these large contracts alone, teaming has become a fundamental part of their strategic planning. A successful prime/subcontractor partnership can be as rewarding as a successful contractor/government relationship, and it can be a great way to enter into the market successfully.
    It seems with the shift of multiple contract vehicles to consolidated ones, the government is promoting teaming arrangements. Not only does it help them reduce costs, it streamlines the communication and project management. The prime contractor is customarily the liaison for the team which reduces the workload for the government contracting team.

    Teaming - Defined
    FAR Subpart 9.6- Contractor Team Arrangements defines the term "Team Arrangement" (i.e., teaming) to mean:
    (1) Two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as a potential prime contractor; or
    (2) A potential prime contractor agrees with one or more other companies to have them act as its subcontractors under a specified Government contract or acquisition program.
    9.602 - Contractor team arrangements may be desirable from both a Government and industry standpoint in order to enable the companies involved to--
    Complement each other's unique capabilities; and Offer the Government the best combination of performance, cost, and delivery for the system or product being acquired.
    Companies normally form team arrangements before submitting an offer. They may enter into an arrangement later in the acquisition process, however, only after a contract has been awarded.
    9.603 - The government will recognize the integrity and validity of contractor team arrangements, provided the arrangements are identified and company relationships are fully disclosed in an offer, or, for arrangements entered into after submission of an offer, before the arrangement becomes effective.

    The above FAR provisions can be interpreted to mean teaming is encouraged when it is in the best interest of all parties.
    The most familiar type of a teaming arrangement is a prime contractor/ subcontractor partnership. The prime/sub approach works well for both parties as long as the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. In all cases, the prime contractor is in control and the subcontractor must follow this structure.
    Usually prime contractors select subcontractors and make them a part of their proposals. A subcontractor can often be a key selling point in a prime contractor's proposal, and this should be used in negotiating the teaming agreement. 

    What's in a Teaming Agreement
    When entering into a teaming agreement, your company should consider the following:
    1.  Is the subcontractor exclusively with the prime?
           - If so, is this in your best interest? Or, can the subcontractor be a part of other competitor's proposals? This is a very important clause depending on the type of contract vehicle and the volume of business associated with the clause. Some teaming agreements may prohibit you to execute teaming agreements with other prime contractors prior to award. This could hurt your competitive chances of winning.
    2. Does this prime offer the best teaming solution for the requirement? 
    3. Is the subcontractor part of a minimum guarantee of revenue? 
    4. What are the performance clauses? 
    5. Will the subcontractor be required to participate in negotiations with the government? 
    6. What is the pricing structure for the contract? Is it cost plus, firm fixed price or time and materials? How and   when will the subcontractor be paid?
    7. Are you the only subcontractor providing the service/product? If not, how will the work be awarded? Will your company have first right of refusal?
    8. What FAR’s are passed on to the subcontractor?
    9  What is the scope of work and has your company been provided with terms and conditions related to your service/product offerings?                                                                                                                                                           
    If you are new to the government market, try to become a team member. Subcontracting is a great introduction to the government market. It is also a great way to build the experience needed to become a competitive government contractor. and can reduce time and investment required to enter the market as a prime contractor.
    Sign Up for SubTeamPartners today to form your FY10 contractor team.  GovPartners News Brief: 01 Oct 2009: By Cynthia Karnik

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    Aug 31, 2009

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the largest purchasers of products and services in the world. The DoD awards contracts valued at $5 million or more each business day (source: )If you are a small business looking to capture government opportunities, the DoD is a good place to start.

    Government contracting can seem like a intimidating business development strategy for many small businesses. Many often mistakenly believe that only the top prime contractors can really compete for DoD business. The old saying is always true, if you can’t beat them, join them. But, in this case, you can beat them and join them.

    The reality is that the government designates a significant amount of procurement contracts to small businesses each year. In fiscal year 2009 (Oct 01, 2008 -Sep 30, 2009) the DoD set aside over 22% of its prime contracts to small business and over 37% of its sub-contracting opportunities (source: ). This doesn't include funds set aside for small businesses owned by veterans, women, minorities and disadvantaged businesses.

    That's a BIG revenue opportunity! How do you get in on the action?

    Whether you are selling a service or a product to the federal government, the procurement process can be challenging for a small business to navigate. Many times, the procurement process allows 30 days or less for the vendor to respond to the request for proposal and it may take the majority of that time for a small business to understand the requirements, terms and conditions.

    Defense contracting can be a viable long term business strategy. However, there are many other considerations that you will need to work through on the way to getting your share of what can be a very profitable line of business. It is important that small businesses understand the overall government contracting process. Partnering with other prime and subcontractors can help ease the pain. Sign up for SubTeamPartners to find your DoD teaming opportunity

    A sample or recent awards:

    Raytheon is awarded a Navy Research Contract. Raytheon Co. won a $7 million follow-on contract from the Office of Naval Research to continue work on a project to develop a new semiconductor for the Defense Department. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems is partnering with Raytheon Systems Limited, Glenrothes, Scotland; Soitec, Bernin, France; Teledyne Scientific Imaging Company, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; Paradigm Research LLC, Windham, N.H.; IQE, Bethlehem, Pa.; and Silicon Valley Technology Center, San Jose, Calif.

    Black Construction Corp., /MACE International Joint Venture, GMF Barrigada, Guam, is being awarded a $19,180,000 firm-fixed price contract for upgrades to the existing air ops water treatment plant and air ops wastewater treatment plant, and to construct a one-story warehouse and wharf utility improvements at Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Work will be performed in Diego Garcia, and is expected to be completed by July 2011.

    Ikhana/Choate -1 LLC, Mt. Pleasant, S.C., is being awarded a $13,385,855 firm-fixed price construction contract for the construction of two child development centers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by June 2011.

    Consigli Construction Co., Inc., Milford, Mass., is being awarded $9,039,438 for firm-fixed price task order for construction of a consolidated emergency control center at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for the construction of a three level, steel framed reinforced concrete facility with the ground level located below grade to directly support radiological emergency response as required. This facility will house the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard radiological emergency response organization and will serve as its command and control center during an emergency.

    Head, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is being awarded a $6,783,933 firm-fixed-price construction contract to repair Runways 13L/31R and repair taxiways at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Work will be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is expected to be completed by August 2010.

    Air BP a division of BP Products North America, Inc., Warrenville, Ill. is being awarded a maximum $112,125,808 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for fuel. There are multiple locations of performance. Using service is the Defense Energy Support Center.
    Frank Gargiulo & Son Inc., Hillside, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $13,050,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set aside contract for full line fresh fruit and vegetable support.

    Terex Corporation, Fredericksburg, Va., is being awarded a maximum $5,624,730 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for rock crusher jaw plant. 

    GovPartners News Brief: 31 Aug 2009: By Cynthia Karnik


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    Jul 15, 2009

    Ready or not, states are getting a tenfold boost in federal money to weatherize drafty homes, an increase so huge it has raised fears of waste and fraud and set off a scramble to find workers and houses for them to repair.

    An obscure program that installs insulation in homes and makes them more energy-efficient is distributing $4.7 billion in stimulus funds — dwarfing the $447 million originally planned by Congress this year and the $227 million spent in 2008.

    That is enough to weatherize 1 million homes, instead of the 140,000 normally done each year.

    President Barack Obama said pouring money into the program would lower utility bills for cash-strapped families, provide jobs for construction workers idled by the housing slump, and make the nation more energy-efficient.

    "You're getting a three-fer," Obama said. "That's exactly the kind of program we should be funding."

    But some worry states won't be able to keep track of the money.

    Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, said the program is open to fraud because of the way oversight is divided. The federal government passes the money to states, then states pass it to community action agencies, and the agencies pass it to contractors who work with customers.

    "It's such a Rube Goldberg operation it should be setting off alarm bells," she said.

    Energy Department spokeswoman Christina Kielich defended the program, saying the federal government monitors state operations and does a thorough review at least every two years of the local organizations. In addition, states are getting their money in increments and must demonstrate quality control to get more.

    The program helps low-income families take steps to reduce their home energy expenses, from caulking leaky windows to replacing heating and cooling systems. The Energy Department says 6.2 million households have benefited since it began in 1976, saving the average household about $350 a year on energy bills.

    In addition to receiving an infusion of stimulus money, the program was expanded to cover families making up to twice the federal poverty level, or $44,100 for a family of four. Also, the average amount that can be spent per house was more than doubled to $6,500.

    The funding for New York is going up from $20.1 million last year to $395 million. California's share is soaring from $6.3 million to $185.8 million. Virginia's is going up 23 1/2 times, from $4 million annually to $94.1 million.

    "I was stunned," said Shea Hollifield, Virginia's deputy director of housing. "Spending that much money will be a challenge."

    In Texas, the state's share is increasing nearly 60 times, from $5.6 million to $327 million. To spend the money efficiently and on time, state officials decided to go beyond the community organizations that normally distribute it and route $100 million to large cities.

    "They have experience in administering large, complicated programs," said Gordon Anderson, spokesman for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

    States are hurrying to find qualified weatherization workers and caulk-ready homes.

    Wisconsin set up weatherization "boot camps" to train workers. West Virginia used to give new workers on-the-job training but is now looking to move to classrooms and online.

    Alabama plans to train home builders in how to bid for weatherization contracts. Russell Davis, vice president of the Alabama Home Builders Association, said builders who once had no interest in weatherization contracts now see them as a way to keep their crews busy.

    In many states, qualified homeowners are already on waiting lists. But some states don't have enough recipients signed up.

    "We are out of clients. We need clients bad," said Cade Gunnells, weatherization coordinator for three counties in central Alabama.

    To help find them, states are updating Web sites about the expanded program and working with nonprofit groups, churches and the news media to get the word out. Charles Uptain, a 73-year-old retiree, had his Montgomery home repaired in the weatherized program last year. His utility bills went down by about $60 a month after workers fixed leaky windows, replaced cracked panes, re-taped air-conditioning ducts and blew in new insulation. Uptain's house required 2 1/2 days of work and slightly more than $3,000.

    "This wasn't wasteful spending. This was well-spent money," Uptain said.  Read the full article


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    Jul 13, 2009

    GovPartners is proud to sponsor The 5th Annual National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo July 20-23, 2009, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    This conference will bring together business owners, both small and large, and Federal Government representatives to share best practices of how to do business together. The conference will also include sessions on Federal Contracting for small businesses that are just breaking into the public sector.

    The comprehensive conference agenda will include sessions that take attendees through the life cycle of small business Federal contracting. General sessions and breakouts will be led by small business owners as well as representatives from various Federal Agencies. Topics will include:

    • Contracting 101 and 201
    • Marketing and selling to the Federal Government
    • Legislation affecting small businesses
    • Legal issues with Government contracting
    • Managing small business finances
    • Successful business strategies
    • Subcontracting
    • And more!

    This conference is an ideal mix of learning and networking opportunities. Registration is limited so early registration is highly encouraged.

    The conference is open to both government and non-government personnel. Find out more here!



    Cynthia said: GovPartners will attend this important event. Visit the cyber cafe and networking area for GovPartners promotional materials and informatiom. We hope to see you there.
    Jul 19, 2009
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