Kevin Boshears, the former director of the DHS Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization who helped minorities, women, and veterans while fostering strong and lasting collaboration with industry, died on Dec. 22 at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va. He was 62 years old.
Boshears was named director of the DHS Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in May 2003. He began serving as a procurement analyst at the Treasury Department in June 1995 and was named director of the Treasury Department’s OSDBU in February 1999.
Upon retiring in 2019, Boshears said his roots in family farming cultivated deep respect for “the heart of an entrepreneur” that led him to decades of dedication to helping up-and-coming businesses.
At a farewell party in May 2019 hosted by the Government Technology & Services Coalition, Boshears said he was reflecting on his career and the people he’s met over the years, “why I’ve done it this way and what compelled me to do it in the first place.”
“I thought it was an accident at the time, but it wasn’t … I’m a person of faith and I had no idea I was going to be called to do this,” he said.
Reflecting on his start as a contract specialist at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and his move to Treasury, Boshears noted that it “took me a while to figure out how to develop my passion of working with and helping small business” but he was driven by his respect for the “special, unique” characteristics of small businesses.
Boshears conducted training courses, made presentations, and handled briefings on contracting with small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone small, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, bringing his wealth of procurement knowledge and experience along with his memorable personal touch. He served on the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Directors’ Interagency Council and was awarded the Frances Perkins Vanguard Award for Exemplary Utilization of Women-Owned Small Businesses by a Federal Procurement Official along with the Gold Star Award for Excellence by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In recognition of outstanding leadership in developing, directing, and achieving the most successful small business inclusion program in the federal government, Boshears was presented with DHS’ Secretary’s Award for Leadership Excellence in 2018.
OSDBU Executive Director Darlene Bullock, who has led the office since Boshears’ retirement, called the news of her predecessor’s death “shocking and devastating.”
“Kevin was a mentor to us and I know we benefited from his kindness, knowledge, and willingness to assist whenever asked,” Bullock wrote on LinkedIn. “The world has lost a legend. Kevin was my mentor for the last 10 years and bought out my passion of assisting small businesses. He will be forever missed.”
Dwight Deneal, director of the Office of Small Business Programs at the Defense Logistics Agency, wrote that Boshears was “a mentor and a great public servant.”
“Everything I am as a Federal Small Business Advocate has solid foundations and tutelage of Kevin Boshears during my tenure at DHS/USCG,” Deneal said. “Rest well Kevin. Your life works have made a difference and impact into the betterment of our Nation.”
“Kevin was an advocate, a mentor, a guide, and a friend to all. He was thoughtful, caring and always gracious,” wrote former DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa. “He looked for solutions and answers through collaboration and cooperation. He removed obstacles and broke barriers. On the toughest of days, Kevin found a way to make us smile. I am forever grateful that I met and worked with Kevin over the course of 16 years. A true leader and passionate advocate for his programs, Kevin will be forever remembered by those whose lives he touched.”
Diagnosed more than two decades ago with multiple sclerosis, Boshears volunteered his time as a peer counselor for others with MS.
Boshears recalled that after his own diagnosis, he asked ‘why’ through prayer. “The reason you have MS is so you can be an example to others,” he said he discovered. “After I got my answer, I never questioned it again.”
Every morning when he got out of bed and took that first step, he added, “I thank God for letting me walk another day.”
Boshears is survived by his wife 32 years of Elizabeth Boshears, three children, two grandchildren, his parents, and two siblings. Services are private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.
Online condolences and fond memories may be offered to the family at www.laurelhillfuneralhome.com