Building the bridge

Related Links

"Smallworld"

Integrators are most comfortable working with companies they've worked with before, companies whose capabilities they can count on. Today, more small companies than ever are trying to get into the federal market, driven by declining private-sector sales. Breaking in can be tough, but it's possible.

Some companies are lucky enough to be absorbed, such as Base 2 Technologies Inc. in Silver Spring, Md. The small firm was working on a Justice Department contract when Unisys Corp. took it over, said Marlin Newell, Base 2's president. "Because of the timing, they took us on as a subcontractor," he said. "It was convenient for us to stay on the project at the time," and that launched a relationship that led to additional work.

There are options for companies with no government involvement at all, though. Representatives should attend regional networking events. Companies often run mentor/protege programs, and so does the Small Business Administration. A good private-sector track record will help a small firm make its case for federal work.

"Something that really impresses us is when they win awards" from organizations such as SBA, said Edward Weil Reyes, manager of supplier diversity at Unisys. "A company that achieves those awards would get our attention." Unisys began working with a company called SCI Consulting Inc. after it received awards from the Treasury Department and SBA, he said.

"It's really playing the numbers," said Laura Mangoba, founder and chief technology officer at Avatar Systems Development Inc. in Great Falls, Va. "You have to go to the open networking things; you have to get your foot in the door. I hate to say it's who you know, but it really is."

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.