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Govcon Giants Podcast
68 minutes | 7 days ago
090: Mike Melo - Serving people in the arena and highlighting values of leadership, integrity and hard work
Mike Melo president and CEO of ITA International started his company with his wife. Interestingly, it was Melo's father who inspired the name of his company, ITA. It is derived from a passage in a 1910 speech by Teddy Roosevelt referred to as "The Man in the Arena" in which Roosevelt praises those who work hard and demonstrate values of leadership, integrity, and hard work rather than simply sitting on the sidelines. ITA International LLC works toward a secure, stable and sustainable world. Their mission is to improve the lives of all people, especially their customers. They operate in over 20 locations worldwide. Founded in 2005, Mike and his wife’s company is a provider of integrated service in the areas of Operational Support, Marine Engineering, Cyber Operations and Data Analytics for those serving “In The Arena” in support of the US Government, Commercial Customers and Non-Government Organizations operating globally. In today’s episode, we discussed how Mike’s view on federal contracting shifted since first starting out, we discussed his recent acquisition and the methodology used to determine the good versus bad purchase in the business, the future of ITA and where the company is headed. We also dived into the beginning phases of growth, cash flow and contacts.
69 minutes | 11 days ago
089: Roberta Moore - How pure determination and a chance event lead to a whirlwind of character building experience
Roberta Moore founded AMOORER, Incorporated19 years ago in 2002 as a recently divorced, single parent of three boys. Amoorer Incorporated is an 8(a) graduate, HUBZonecertified, Woman-Owned Healthcare staffing small business. Roberta began her career as a DoD civil servant for 10 years before opening her business, Amoorer Inc in 2002 and embarking on her government contracting journey. A journey that would take her through many whirlwind experiences, some adventure and many character building. In this episode we discuss how a chance event led to her successfully winning her first contract which was OCONUS and met her 2nd mentor. A woman who gave Ms. Moore a back office which then allowed her business to really take off and begin to thrive. Ms. Moore has a reputation as a creative problem solver and effective manager capable of making a significant contribution to the corporate bottom-line. Ms. Moore Is a 2019 graduate of the Veterans Affairs Vetbizladies genesis cohort. In 2016 she graduated from the United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Emerging Leaders, accelerated streetwise MBAprogram. She has in-depth skills in the development of operational and strategic business planning as well as operations and marketing experience relating to all aspects of business development. Ms. Moore won several multi-million dollar healthcare staffing contracts with the federal government and private industry. She is responsible for setting revenue targets and managing P&L for divisions. She has extensive management experience in developing and defending budgets in support of government programs. Ms. Moore has detailed experience in financial and business planning and developing policies and procedures appropriate for management of government and private industry programs. Ms. Moore’s philosophy is “Commitment, Integrity, Personalized Service and Value for your money.
67 minutes | 20 days ago
088: Matthew Schoonover - Representing small firms, understanding joint ventures, and discussing the new Mentor Protege program.
With more than $247M dollars thrown at training and education of small businesses and little thrown into marketing we try and help showcase the ups and down of the business of govcon. Each week we bring on a speaker who has been involved in either growth as a small business, supporting small and medium size businesses or creates opportunities for either of the two categories In this episode, we bring you a 2-time guest, Matthew Schoonover, Principle of the law firm Schoonover and Moriarty. Matt has been supporting small businesses for more than a decade speaking, authoring legal news on the subject. On our first interview, episode 006 Back in 2019 we discussed Joint Ventures and Mentor Protege. Matt has a wide experience representing individual and corporate clients in a range of litigation matters, including commercial litigation, insurance-defense actions, and intellectual property litigation. He practiced in pretrial litigation, and have experience preparing and responding to pleadings; conducting informal fact investigations and formal discovery, including taking and defending party and non-party depositions; motion practice; and advocating for clients at hearings and in mediation. With that, we talked about expanding on the concept of joint ventures and the new Mentor Protege program. New rule and policy changes from the SBA and how it impacts small firms. Listen to this valuable interview as this is a free knowledge lesson into how a small medium size business can really grow leveraging the current 2021 SBA programs. So, take notes and you will definitely pick up very important knowledge from this week’s guest.
75 minutes | a month ago
Making A Giant 007: Maria & Miguel Sanchez - Embracing inexperience and ignorance and taking one step at a time
In this episode we feature Miguel Sanchez. After discovering my videos while living in New York Miguel decides he wants to get into truck delivery providing courier services to the government. After months of no results he decided to switch gears and pursue the consulting route. In his research he learned that IT was a major marketplace with opportunity galore. I know how some people can see it as intimidating considering the size and scale of the contracts. Not Miguel, he decided that’s exactly where he fit in and went on his journey to find a partner company that was up for the task. After a few tries he found a partner who was currently doing IT projects but not maximizing their capabilities. With the knowledge he gained working directly with Maria hand in hand he was able to start pursuing some fairly substantial projects. Without spoiling the rest of the story he ended up landing something major. The part that I want to share with folks is that when you invest in yourself and your education it pays back dividends. If you are sitting on the sideline waiting for all the answers, for some magic bullet to show up, trying for years unsuccessfully maybe it’s time you found a new approach. Followed a mentor that has been where you’ve been, experienced some of the same setbacks. We showcase these real human stories to give you a sense of what’s possible. But none of this would not have happened if they did not invest in self education.
78 minutes | a month ago
087: Emily Harman - Diving deep into emotions, mindset, and positive intelligence as a government contractor and entrepreneur
Today’s interview, we talk about something very different. Emily Harman, has 38 years of service to the country as both a Naval Officer and civilian federal employee. Working hard and ultimately, retiring as a member of the Senior Executive Service in May 2019, the equivalent of a two star Admiral. In her retirement, Emily did the inner work and learned a very valuable tool: listening to the guidance of her inner voice and her authentic self, to create a roadmap for an authentic and fulfilling life. In this episode, we talked about several things about mindset, finding your niche, discovering what you really want and the importance of positive intelligence. Many of us are interested in only hearing the tactics and the technicalities in government contracting but it is really the mindset that we must first master before we can truly realize our authentic self and eventually pave our way into the ocean of opportunity that the government contracting has to offer.
47 minutes | a month ago
Making A Giant 006: Maria & Raffa Gibbard - On building your experience, creating your momentum, and winning bigger contracts
In today’s Making A Giant episode, our guest Raffa Gibbard is the CEO of Brave Once Contract Agency. She has over ten years experience in both construction and contracting with the Army. With her experience, Raffa understands what the customer needs and she knows how to supply it in a timely efficient manner. In 2019 Raffa came on to the scene as a GCG helping share her knowledge of the VA Entrepreneur / Employment Track. As a veteran she was able to successfully have the government help reimburse her for her training that we provided. Since that time, Raffa has partnered with several GCG students to get her first and second contracts. Following that initial past performance, she received a call from a federal agency for her first direct award. But that’s not where her story ends, Raffa continued to build on the successes of the past leading up to 7 contracts during a pandemic and now is being approached by a large company to partner on even bigger contracts. Stay tuned to hear a powerful conversation between Maria Martinez and Raffa Gibbard on momentum propelling future success.
64 minutes | 2 months ago
086: Helleni Moon - New entrepreneur breaking in the federal arena through agile and streamlined data management support services
Helleni (Donovan) Moon , CEO of EIDOS Technologies from Manassa, founded the company in 2015. Just a couple years later, EIDOS was nominated for the 2021 Prince William Chamber business award. She has over 20+ years of successful service delivery for both federal and civilian agencies and has contributed to their mission-critical government programs. Helleni provides strategic direction on corporate growth strategies, company culture, workforce and recruiting initiatives to capture top talent which is at the core for providing great customer support, quality service, and impactful changes. She firmly believes that organizations must invest in mature business practices and top talent to ensure we deliver with pique performance. The company is also certified in ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management Systems and ISO 20000-1:2018 for Technology Services. These two disciplines are at the forefront of their company culture. In this episode, Helleni and I discuss what it takes to grow a small business in the IT sector. What was hard now that still remains difficult today, how to prepare for the pressures ofbusiness, challenges, her past experience working for GD, Lockheed and much more in this conversation.
72 minutes | 2 months ago
Making A Giant 005: Maria & James Lee - How an active soldier turned and idea into 2 sources sought wins
In today’s episode Maria interviewed James Lee, an IT professional who decided it was time to make his mark on the world. Without spoiling the story I will tell you that James had a little special someone who help spark the idea for pursuing laundry service contracts. That’s right! He did not pursue any sexy or sleek big money idea, it was something so simple that most people overlook. James always had ideas but the fear of failure always stopped him from moving forward. Since retirement, he knew that he was right around the corner and he needed to start looking at what his next journey would be after the military. After 16 years of military service, he finally decided to take a leap of faith in the entrepreneur field by creating Home Away From Home Laundry-Services. Now his company is a full-service linen supply and dry-cleaning company with multiple employees at various locations. They offer several services like dry cleaning, laundry, wash, dry and folding, alteration, pick up and drop off delivery services, and bidding on both federal and local state laundry services contracts. Pay particular attention to this episode because James does not live on the continental U.S. but his contracts are in Florida and California. Stay until the end to see what tips James shares about how he was able to pull off winning a contract from a tropical island.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
085: Wade Watts: Uniting the Defense, the academia, and entrepreneurial innovators in solving national security problems
Wade Watts serves as the inaugural National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) University Program Director (UPD) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). In this role, Wade is responsible for building collaboration between academia, the venture/business community, and the DoD by expanding defense innovation. To this position, Wade brings significant entrepreneur and academic experiences as the former founder, CEO, and COO of two startup companies, and an award-winning executive with more than 15 years of experience in management consulting positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and other firms. He served as CEO of his management consulting firm by establishing marketing campaigns and Internet presence for businesses through process engineering and strategic planning to maximize profits and customer satisfaction. He also worked as Chief Operating Officer of an Internet-based international business magazine that set up business opportunities and ventures between U.S. firms and businesses in Taiwan and managed offices in both locations. In his capacity with Booz Allen Hamilton, Wade was key to the international firm winning a $1 billion government contract, the largest in its history at that time. As the company's transition planning expert, he developed and authored a firm-wide Transition Strategic Plan, which standardized new procedures and implementation plans to move and integrate new business from incumbent companies/contractors to the firm's new contracts and business. Wade has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Public Administration from Troy University, and a Master of Airpower Art and Science from the Air Force’s premiere strategy school, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. Additionally, he has Project Manager Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certifications. In the academic world, Wade developed and taught graduate courses in Business Consulting and Project Management as Adjunct Faculty at Creighton University and served as a Capstone course mentor for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at Midland University in Omaha, Nebraska. His other leadership experience includes time in a senior Program Management capacity for Omaha-based Fiserv. He also worked as a Cybersecurity Initiative Program Manager for a financial services firm in Lincoln, NE, where he formed, led, and managed a Program Management Office. Wade is a veteran of the Air Force, having served in various aviation and staff positions throughout the globe, including assignments to United States Strategic Command and the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
70 minutes | 2 months ago
084: Aliahu "Alli" Bey - How A Multi-million dollar government contract opened opportunities into the Cybersecurity and Compliance space
Aliahu “Alli” Bey started his government contracting journey in 2015 after he was awarded a multi-million-dollar U.S. Air Force tactical weapons support contract. One portion of the contract provided cybersecurity on ruggedized deployable laptops. Mr. Alli Bey reached out to a former business colleague, Adam Austin, owner of a cyber company in Pennsylvania. Mr. Austin’s experience and involvement was a no-brainer and he was promptly brought on as a partner that led to developing Totem’s Cybersecurity Planning Tool, a revolutionary organizational software that meshes perfectly with cybersecurity and compliance requirements for our existing DoD contracts. Mr. Alli Bey, CEO of Haight Bey & Associates took expertise in supporting meteorological stations into a business. The veteran owned company specializes in industrial, commercial, and government systems sustainment and cybersecurity engineering solutions. Mr. Alli believes that proper cybersecurity and compliance are much more than pretty packaging and eye-catching graphics. As they have been awarded and currently execute government contracts, they help others customize a plan to get their company up to speed. Their company also provides cybersecurity consulting and training services to help others get compliant and secure through a very competitive cost.
53 minutes | 2 months ago
Making a Giant with Maria and Liseth Velez. Women, veteran, CEO talks about her first win and the future
In today’s episode of Making a Giant we present to you veteran business owner Liseth Velez, CEO of LJV Development. She has recently become a superstar at the Govcon EDU breakout sessions as her company continues to land contract after contract both at the federal and state government levels. Started out in the military as an HVAC Technician, Liseth is no stranger to hardwork or the construction industry. When she formed her company LJV, she immediately started to win small projects and dove into the private sector flipping homes. Yet even with her past experience and revenue under her belt, the government sector was risk averse and wanted to see more. I remember the very first time meeting her at a conference here in South Florida where I moderated a panel discussing government contracting. Miss Velez attended the conference while she was supposed to be recovering from a recent surgery and was walking on crutches. She literally Uber-ed 45 minutes from her hotel to Miami to attend an event in another city exposing herself to like minded individuals which I would say is pretty remarkable. Many of us out there would rather make excuses than to do the hard work. Liseth did the opposite. She took advantage of her time off and used it to help catapult her business, I knew at that point she would be a star in the making. Learning that she was in the construction industry serving New England as do I, we exchanged information and has been friends since that day. I’m so happy for her success and can’t wait to see what the next few years has in store for LJV. Over the next 60 minutes, Maria and Liseth discuss her early beginnings as a newly formed company with no federal past performance doing all that she can to get early wins. Enjoy this episode with the two of my favorite students Maria and Liseth.
71 minutes | 3 months ago
083: Anthony Closson - How A USAF veteran built a massive contracting company from the ground up
Anthony Closson is a USAF Veteran and the Founder and CEO of Colossal Contracting- an SDVOSB Value-Added Reseller and IT Solutions Provider that has broken away from the pack bringing them to the forefront of the Defense and Civilian Industries by embodying their foundation as a company built upon military core values. Anthony brings to the table more than a decade of executive leadership experience and over 15 years of managing IT integrations. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds a Master’s of Business Administration with a Specialization in Project Management. While deployed in Iraq and when working stateside at Joint Base Andrews, Closson learned first hand about the value of the relationship between government employees and civilian contractors. Taking that knowledge, experience, work ethic and sense of responsibility for the success of any of their customer’s missions, Anthony established Colossal as a dynamic force within a crowded and challenging industry. A decade later, Colossal now supports mission-critical systems and services across dozens of government agencies on a global scale, growing the company every year since its inception in 2009. Colossal now holds five GWAC’s and an array of agency specific BPAs and IDIQs. Anthony’s intensity and motivation are equal in business and philanthropy as Colossal is an avid sponsor for nonprofit organizations. Last year Colossal was selected as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Small Employer of the Year for their efforts in hiring and supporting the members of our armed services. The company is proud to claim that more than 1 in 4 employees are veterans, reservists or members of the national guard. Anthony led Colossal’s first ever “22 For You Day” partnering with Mission22, a non-profit dedicated to veteran suicide prevention and raised over $30,000 for the cause. As his company continues to expand, Closson has not lost sight of the importance of taking care of your customers personally and specifically embodying the role of a servant leader by guiding the entire company to operate with intentionality and integrity. He is humbled by this opportunity to share his journey, his successes, his mistakes and the lessons he has learned with other small business owners and industry professionals so they can too can succeed.
56 minutes | 3 months ago
Making a Giant with Maria and Alex Omeke. Applying your knowledge to the real world: A cab driver’s son story of winning his first contract
Hey listeners, this is Eric! As some of you may know from listening to the last few week’s episodes we have a new podcast entitled Making A Giant. The show featured the students of GovCon EDU who recently won their first contract. It is a much different perspective from our traditional podcast format where we interview experts in contracting. This show features everyday people who decided to take the plunge into the world of federal procurement and was successfully awarded with their very first contract. Many of my listeners had a difficult time identifying with the multi-million dollar business owners and wanted to hear from the person who is just starting out. This week’s episode of Making A Giant I want you to meet Alex. Alex’ dad was a cab driver so he was part of running the operation by answering the house phone since he was a kid. He was contracted out by a big company that did I.T. stuff overseas where he started at the bottom, got a good mentor and was able to work himself to the top. Then he realize that he could do much better contracting and make money for himself so he did just that. He is now in Hawaii doing what he did for others but for himself, meet today’s guest making a Giant with Alex Omeke.
62 minutes | 3 months ago
082: Melissa Burant - The free government resource that all small businesses should use, PTAC
For the first time ever we are interviewing someone from APTAC (Association of Pocurement Technical Assistance Centers). If you have never heard of APTAC or PTAC for short, the non-organization has offices around the country in every state that provide free and low cost training and technical assistance for small businesses. They host workshops and matchmaking events, offer one-on-one counseling and can provide you with resources to reach federal, state and local government agencies. My recommendation is that every small business owner should at the very least try and get acquainted with their local PTAC. If not for the fact that the organization is funded bytax payers, so to do a free consultation is a no brainer. Our guest today, Melissa Burant is a Government Contracting Specialist with the Iowa Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) serving clients in Scott and Clinton counties. Before working at PTAC Melissa served as a federal contracting officer at the Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, and has more than 15 years of federal service. In this episode she shares: ▪how to help small businesses avoid pitfalls ▪some of the service offered by PTAC ▪small business horror story and more
60 minutes | 4 months ago
Making a Giant with Maria and Leilani Lacusong. From Accountant to 8a Contractor
In our second episode of Making a Giant Maria sits down and speak to Leilani Lacusong. Leilani is an accountant that saw the great opportunities in government contracting. She made some bold moves from applying for her 8a, to contacting Eric for help and driving from state to state “for the love of contracting”. Today she has won a few sole source with the help of the Govcon Giants community. Listen as she tells us her journey to win her first contract.
102 minutes | 4 months ago
081: My next guest needs no introduction… Steven Koprince of Koprince Law
Today’s guest needs no introduction... Mr. Steven Koprince of Koprince Law founded the blog SmallGovCon, where he has written more than 1,100 posts on government contracting legal issues. The site is viewed by thousands of readers each month and is one of the official must read websites for learning about new rules, changing policies and court findings in federal procurement. Steven is the author ofThe Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts(AMACOM Books, 2012) and Steven has also written comprehensive handbooks entitledJoint Ventures,SBA Size and Affiliation Rules, and The 8(a) Program. Steven has been quoted in several national news outlets, has appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts, and has spoken to dozens of audiences across the country on government contracting matters. In today’s conversation we discuss: ▪his background and personal journey into the world of government ▪small business tip learned from years of experience ▪top 5 mistakes all businesses make when tackling government contracting. As a nine-time speaker at the national conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Steven knows a thing or two about government contracting. We are so happy to finally have him here on our show. Turn off all your devices, grab a notepad and be prepared to take copious notes.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
REPOST: Episode 001: Narjis Ali – Launching a NASA Award Winning IT Security Company
We are taking you back to our very first episode... Narjis B. Ali is the President and CEO of Sure Secure Solutions, an 8a Woman Owned Information Technology (IT) Security company founded in 2004. The companies core capabilities include Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Content Management and Information Management. She has received numerous awards dating back to 2012 and most recently the prestigious 2016 US Small Business Administration and NASA Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award 2016 and 2017. For show notes visit https://govcongiants.com/podcast/01
64 minutes | 4 months ago
081: Making a Giant with Maria and Chris Facey: The mad guitarist lands a 21 Million IDIQ in transportation
Hey GovCon Giants today, we are mixing things up a little bit. Starting this month, we will be featuring an all-new podcast that we call Making A Giant. That's right, Making A Giant. This podcast will showcase persons, businesses who got their very first win, not their 10th contract, not some large multi-million dollar contract, but their very first one. In today's very first episode of Making A Giant, we feature someone who I know as the Mad Guitarist. Chris Facey joined Govcon EDU, and on our weekly Tuesday calls always has a guitar or series of guitars and his background. He's a freight broker and was helping my company, Evankoff ship out critical PPE during the midst of the global pandemic. Well, one day while Chris was watching a video clip from Wesley, the 16-year-old military contractor, he became inspired to stop just learning and decide to take action. He found a transportation readiness contract on beta.sam, that his team qualified for, and he decided to pursue it. With my help and the sample proposals from inside the courses, he was able to a respond and qualify for the final awardees list. And a few weeks later, he was notified that he at one, a spot on the $21 million IDIQ, transportation readiness contract. Stay tuned for this upcoming episode between Maria and Chris discussing all of the details that took place in between.
68 minutes | 5 months ago
080: Robb Wong - Best tips and advice from the Former Associate Administrator, Govt. Contracting & Business Development
In today's episode. We meet with the man who spent the last four years fighting for the little guy. Robb Wong was sworn in as Associate Administrator Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, GCBD, in March of 2017, where he advocated for small businesses and represents them on behalf of the President of the United States. Historically the Associate Administrator Government Contracting Business Development overseas over $500 billion and total federal spending, helps ensure that small businesses can compete for federal opportunities. Robb strategy was straightforward. #1, make SBA certifications more useful. #2, Increase the supply of contracts reserved for the various small business programs and #3 improved GCBD customer service. Highlights of the team's three-year accomplishments include small business contract opportunities grew a total of 33%, HUBZone program revamped for the first time in 20 years, WOSB formal certification, improving teaming opportunities for all 8a, HUBZone, WOSB, SDVOSB's, subcontract and goals increase to create more opportunities. Rob's philosophy is cemented. And the belief that Small businesses are the job generators that will help make America great again. In today's episode, we talk about Rob's accomplishments at the SBA. What changes are needed to ensure small businesses continue to win at receiving government contracts? What he would like to see happen after his retirement to push the needle forward for small firms. He continues to give to small businesses. He regularly meets with and counsel small business farms weekly at a local breakfast spot down the street from his residence. Stay tuned for our next Govcon Giant.
72 minutes | 5 months ago
079: Judy Bradt - Fierce, Determined and Best Selling Author of Government Contracts Made EasiER.
Judy Bradt needs no introduction in the government contracting world. For more than 32 years, she's been helping people in federal contracting as a consultant, speaker and author. She's helped thousands of businesses from solopreneurs to multi-million dollar corporations find their fast track success in the federal arena. Judy says there's no such thing as doing business with the federal government, instead of asking what can I bid, winners focus on the right question, Who's my buyer? That's because winners know you do business with people whose needs, fears and priorities aren't in those databases. Today, we go over her story and journey coming into the govcon world and how she led 5,000+ Canadian firms to win more than $250 million in US government contracts, publish guides on US federal solicitations, market for technology architect engineering services and her latest book. Please welcome our next Giant, Judy Bradt.
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