Conference: Fed Contracting Despite Sequestration

By Ron Dory
Ron Dory
Ron Dory
May 23, 2013 Updated: May 23, 2013

Rockville, Md.—Federal and state contractors and business owners seeking to become government contractors had an opportunity to learn from one another and talk one-on-one with federal contracting managers at the 10th annual GovConNet Procurement Conference in Rockville, Md. on Friday, May 17. 

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce event attracted over 800 participants to the daylong conference.

At a time when the sequestration has federal contractors uncertain about their relationship with the federal government, the conference provided an opportunity for prospective federal contractors to learn about the current needs in federal procurement and to increase their competitive standing. 

“We had more concentration of conversation [this time]. The new element this year during the expo period is the “Ask the Doctor” booth. And [with that] we are offering an opportunity for our attendees to get a quick reaction and a quick answer to some of their legal, accounting, HR [human resources], and financial questions,” said Georgette Godwin, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

Companies designated ‘Doctors’ to answer business related questions included Jackson Kelly, PLLC, which answered legal questions; Aronson, LLC, which answered accounting questions; and Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC, which answered retirement benefit questions. 

The “Ask the Doctor” segment of the day followed the morning breakout sessions with panels exploring multiple aspects of conducting business with federal agencies.

In the Intelligence and Cyber panel, Deon Viergutz, director of operations cyber solutions at Lockheed Martin, discussed security risks for large and small companies and cyber security trends in the security marketplace. 

SAIC, a large scientific engineering and systems integration company headquartered in McLean, Va., sought to identify business trends and to connect with small businesses at the conference.

“We believe in teaming with small businesses. It’s very important to our mission and it’s very important that we stay in touch with the small business community. …[This conference] is a great place to meet new small businesses and to get reacquainted with some that we have known before and to also meet with our government customers who attend and go to some of the breakout sessions to hear what is going on small business wise in their particular agencies,” said Michael Townsend, assistant vice president of SAIC.

On, a website that lists federal contracting opportunities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) solicits proposals for diverse products and service contracts that include radiation instrument repair services, conservation policy development, education and training. 

TargetGov is a company that helps business owners to identify government buyers. 

“One tip would be to use the language of your target agency in describing your core competencies, past performance and differentiators. This means always researching first to find out exactly what they need, and how they describe it in exactly what terminology, phrases and descriptive elements. Then incorporate these elements in your capability statement,” said Gloria Berthold Larkin, founder of TargetGov and a GovConNet conference breakout session leader, through e-mail correspondence.

Ron Dory