33 more vendors chosen in $3 billion FAST blitz

In the latest series of awards under the Federal Acquisition Services for Technology (FAST) program the General Services Administration's National Capital Region last week selected 33 small and disadvantaged information technology vendors to provide up to $3 billion worth of services and equipment to federal agencies.

The 33 contracts are worth up to $90 million each and will run five years from the time each vendor receives its first task order. Francis Jones GSA's deputy director of the national FAST program said the agency is still awaiting approval of the awards from the Small Business Administration expected later this month.

Jones said SBA this month approved the 40 FAST contracts the region awarded about a month ago. The 33 vendors selected last week will compete for the same business as those 40 FAST vendors as well as dozens of other vendors that have won FAST contracts from other GSA regions. Jones said even more FAST contracts may be awarded in the coming months but most likely in smaller numbers.

"I don't know if we will award a number like 40 but there will be more coming out " Jones said. "We don't have an exact number of awards we're planning."

Small businesses that have won FAST awards view them as a vehicle by which to conduct business with federal agencies quickly and without having to go through too many procurement hoops. Kathryn Freeland chief executive officer of RGII Technologies Inc. Annapolis Md. said she will use her company's recent FAST award to quickly provide networking services to federal customers.

"It's all about marketing " Freeland said. "A lot of our client base doesn't have a contract vehicle in place to get to us quickly. With FAST in place the vehicle will be there."

Like all FAST vendors interviewed by FCW Freeland believes competition with more than 100 other companies with FAST contracts will be tough. But like her competitors Freeland believes RGII will succeed by exploiting its existing relationships with federal customers. "It is a very wide arena of companies " she said. "But the key will be the niche each contractor has developed for itself. We will market the contract to our existing client base. Because when the rubber hits the road it will boil down to who offers the best customer services."

Ed Kinard FAST project manager at Aaron B. Floyd Enterprises Inc. Alexandria Va. said FAST may entail "a little more competition than we need " but federal users will benefit by having a huge field of vendors offering quick access to products and services that might not be available elsewhere.

Larry Allen executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement questioned whether GSA was awarding too many contracts.

"If everybody has a contract the government's ability to leverage its buying power is diminished " Allen said.

"You already have the products and services offered through FAST on other contract vehicles " Allen said. "Why do you need another layer of contracts unless it's just to give the contracting office something to do?"

Allen acknowledged that FAST may have some economic benefit because of its focus on small businesses.Jones said GSA will hold a meeting of FAST vendors on July 29 in Falls Church Va. He said program officials will brief the vendors on how to accept and fill orders from agencies how to accept payment and how to address other issues governing the program. He said the companies will begin taking orders soon after the meeting probably early in August.

For a complete list of the latest FAST award winners visit our World Wide Web site at www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/fcwhome.htm.

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