The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has announced its annual award winners. OSDBU established the Annual Small Business and Small Business Advocate Awards Program to recognize small businesses, small business advocates, and a mentor-protégé team that have shown outstanding performance in advancing the Department’s mission.
Dorothy Woolfolk, Contract Specialist Office of Procurement Operations (OPO) has won one of the Small Business Advocate Awards. OSDBU said that throughout Fiscal Year 2019, Woolfolk demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the continued success of the DHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Woolfolk represented the Department at multiple DHS small business outreach events at the Homeland Security Acquisition Institute (HSAI). She met with more than 30 small business companies and educated them on how to participate and compete for funding under the SBIR program. Woolfolk has fostered relationships with small businesses, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Program Managers, Contracting Officer’s Representatives, and S&T SBIR team. Woolfolk’s efforts contributed to a positive outcome for the DHS Headquarters Office of Procurement Operations exceeding its small business and socio-economic prime contracting goals, as well as the continued success of the DHS SBIR Program.
The next Small Business Advocate Award winner, Rosie Zaragoza-Santos, is Senior Contract Specialist Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In Fiscal Year 2019, CBP operations were faced with an unprecedented flow of migrants seeking asylum in the United States. The existing facilities and infrastructure did not exist to accommodate the processing of these individuals. Facilities for housing and legal processing were needed, as well as services to ensure the welfare of asylum seekers. In response to the humanitarian crisis, CBP required multiple temporary steel-framed structures and related services. She conducted market research and worked tirelessly to ensure the timely award of contracts that increased capacity by 6,000 people. Her actions led to the stand up of five structures along the Southwest Border. She was also responsible for ensuring that the facilities had the necessary supplies and services to meet the daily needs of the migrants and operators. She accomplished this by awarding contracts to small businesses for clothing, snacks, hygiene kits, blankets, drinking water, diapers, wipes, and baby formula. Her work with the small business community was not isolated to the humanitarian crisis. More than 99 percent (99.6 percent) of Zaragoza-Santos’ awards went to small businesses, with obligations totaling more than $150 million.
Yvonne Wright, Contracting Officer, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) was also awarded the Small Business Advocate Award. During Fiscal Year 2019, Wright was instrumental in taking necessary actions to award the FLETC Driver Training Support Services (DTSS) contract as a competitive service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) set-aside. OSDBU said Wright’s tireless efforts with phone calls, consultations with FLETC’s small business specialist, and utilizing other market research techniques, allowed her to make the determination that the requirement could continue under the SDVOSB program. Ultimately, Wright was able to support both the small business program as well as FLETC’s training mission by awarding the DTSS to a SDVOSB concern. In addition, Wright made extra effort to assist small business contractors with a myriad of contract administration issues such as the importance of submitting proper invoices, providing the documentation that supports invoicing, providing submittals in a timely manner so as to ensure compliance with contractual terms and conditions, providing the information needed for Service Contract Act wage adjustments, and providing procurement guidance to small businesses that are new to federal contracting. In one instance, Wright worked unselfishly to assist a small business contractor having performance issues to resolution and to a corrective path to successful performance. Her efforts have aided in FLETC exceeding all component small and socio-economic prime contracting goals.
Thomas Thompson, Unit Chief, Information Technology Acquisition Division, has been recognized as a Small Business Advocate for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Thompson has participated in capability briefings with small business vendors and presented at ICE industry day events. OSDBU praised his efforts, describing him as reliable, consistent, and available to assist the small business community on how to do business with ICE. He is straightforward, exhibiting openness, honesty, and integrity in his advocacy for the small business program.
Stacey Huther, contracting officer, was named the Small Business Advocate for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). She has been an effective advocate and leader in her role as a contracting officer within the Credentialing, Screening and Intelligence Acquisition Division in TSA Contracting and Procurement. Huther’s leadership and business acumen were instrumental in a recent award for Protective Security Officer Services, which resulted in a small business set-aside for the first time in the requirement’s history. Guard Services are extremely important given the heightened level of security of all federal buildings. The Program Management Office (PMO) was naturally concerned about any change in service provider for this requirement. Huther provided clear, effective, and consistent communication to the program office, and her leadership allowed TSA to reduce requirement formulation by approximately six months. She combined the on-boarding and transition time, reducing this process from 95 days to 60 days. This allowed TSA to avoid a bridge contract and oversight cost associated with managing two contractors. As a result, Huther awarded a five-year contract vehicle valued at $74 million dollars and contributed to TSA exceeding its small business prime contracting goal.
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Small Business Award Advocate is Kimberly Witcher, Small Business Specialist as USSS. Witcher coordinated and hosted the first Small Business Industry Day at the USSS. She has since coordinated and hosted another successful Small Business Industry Day with plans for more. Witcher represents the USSS at the monthly DHS Vendor Outreach Sessions. She understands the capabilities of small businesses and relayed vendor competencies to the appropriate acquisition personnel. Witcher ensured USSS remained on target with its small business goals and reviewed all the Small Business Review Forms, recommending small business set-asides when feasible. Her actions contributed to the USSS exceeding all its small business and socio-economic prime contracting goals.
Nilesh Nayak, Contract Specialist Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also wins a Small Business Advocate Award. In Fiscal year 2019, FEMA’s Office of the Chief Component Procurement Officer IT Section awarded 1,445 procurement actions totaling $417 million. Nayak was responsible for 42 of those procurement actions valued at $23.1 million. Of these 42 actions, he awarded 27 to small businesses, for a total of $19.4 million (84 percent). OSDBU said the key to Nayak’s success in small business utilization is his knowledge of the small business program, his dedicated work ethic, and his ability to effectively assist program officials with market research. His market research efforts objectively focused on fair and thorough consideration of the small business community, therefore creating more opportunities for small businesses.
The Small Business Advocate Award for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) went to Sharon J. Jackson, Procurement Analyst. Jackson is a senior procurement analyst and small business specialist in the USCG, Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC) who has made lasting and noteworthy improvements to the SFLC-Contracting and Procurement Division small business program. During Fiscal Year 2019, she effectively participated in 12 USCG small business vendor engagements, resulting in five shipyards following through with the process of obtaining drydock certification in the West Coast. She engaged a small business vendor at the International Work-boat Show, which resulted in that vendor submitting its first ever proposal on a 110-foot ship repair availability. Jackson also provided small business training to approximately 1,800 SFLC procurement professionals and customers, which played an integral role in USCG Contracting Enterprise achieving or exceeding its small business and socio-economic goals for FY 2019. Most notable was the SFLC achieving the highest percentage across the enterprise for small business prime participation at 66.55 percent.
Michael Hamlett, Management Program Analyst at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), was also awarded a Small Business Advocate Award. In Fiscal Year 2019, Hamlett was instrumental in leading, executing, and representing USCIS in numerous small business events. He held widely attended reverse industry events, six small business matchmaking events, two small disadvantaged business conferences, and four USCIS-hosted quarterly industry calls. He spearheaded an industry engagement effort by hosting quarterly calls with industry, which provided a great opportunity to communicate USCIS acquisition updates and other priorities. He also took the lead in preparing and collecting survey responses to ensure continuous improvements of USCIS industry outreach events. OSDBU said Hamlett’s dedication and effective communication strategy greatly benefited small business firms and contributed to the Office of Procurement Operations’ FY 2019 small business goal achievements. His performance and dedication contributed to the Component exceeding its small business and socio-economic prime contracting goals.
OSDBU also announced its Mentor-Protégé Team Award, to recognize a team’s outstanding working relationship and the substantial developmental assistance provided to the protégé. The award recognizes specific accomplishments and highlights how the partnership enhanced the protégé’s ability to successfully compete for federal contracts. The winner this time around is the Deloitte/TechOp team.
During the Deloitte Consulting and TechOp Solutions International three-year mentor-protégé agreement, they worked closely to implement best practices, recognize administrative efficiencies, cultivate staff growth and development, and identify business development opportunities. By partnering with Deloitte, TechOp aimed to increase the quantity and estimated value of contracts and subcontracts awarded. In fiscal year 2019, this contributed to TechOp being awarded three prime contracts – two within DHS and one with the U.S. Department of Education, Freedom of Information Act. Ultimately, TechOp’s relationship with their mentor played a key role in their proposal response and subsequent delivery of services, which resulted in the current support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on critical capability and contractual deliverables, which enabled a team of customer service representatives to resolve incidents and efficiently support CBP’s mission to facilitate legitimate trade and travel.
The awards would not be complete of course without recognizing the small businesses themselves. The United States, and its security community, have some of the best small businesses in the world, working tirelessly and creating innovative solutions to today’s homeland security challenges.
OSDBU’s Small Business Award recognizes small businesses that have provided outstanding contract support in the advancement of the various Department of Homeland Security (DHS) missions during Fiscal Year 2019. These small businesses are recognized for a variety of reasons such as creative or unique solutions to DHS requirements; extraordinary customer service and/or significant value; productivity and efficiency gains; innovative ideas to a specific contract task; and cost, time, and manpower savings for the Department.
The winners are:
Intelligent Waves, LLC
TechOp Solutions International, Inc
B&O Joint Venture, LLC
Allways Shred, Inc. dba: ProShred Security
Akira Technologies, Inc.
Trilogy Secured Services, LLC
Information Discovery Services, LLC
Total Systems Technologies Corporation
Logistics Applications, Inc.
Phoenix Marine, LLC
Renova Environmental Services, LLC