On Oct. 23, 2014, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson gave the Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity Management to Kevin Boshears for contributions to providing contracts to small, disadvantaged or minority-owned business. (Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler)

‘Incredible Public Servant’ Boshears Reflects on Career Driven by Passion

The retiring guiding force of the Department of Homeland Security’s small-business outreach 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.

Kevin 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.

At a farewell party Wednesday, Government Technology & Services Coalition CEO Kristina Tanasichuk described Boshears as “one of the most gracious government people that I’ve ever worked with,” who answers every call and every email without fail.

“He has been an incredible public servant — he has been a servant to the small-business community,” Tanasichuk said.

Boshears said that as retirement has approached he’s been 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.

“I hold you in high esteem just from your efforts as an entrepreneur,” he said.

Boshears encouraged small businesses to take advantage of the Small Business Administration’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program, as the joint ventures can still be considered for small business set-asides.

“If it works for you it’s a dynamite way to go, but like everything else you have to make sure it’s lined up properly,” he said.

He also advised watching “like a hawk what’s going on with category management.”

“Find out what the agencies you do businesses with are planning to do, and those you are seeking to do business with plan to do,” he said.

Come retirement, though, Boshears vowed he’s “not going to do anything in federal contracting — not even remotely.”

The OSDBU chief, who was diagnosed 20 years ago with multiple sclerosis, plans to volunteer 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 gets out of bed and takes that first step, he added, “I thank God for letting me walk another day.”

Why Losing DHS OSDBU Director Kevin Boshears Matters

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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