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  • 15 Mar 2017 2:49 PM | Deleted user

    I’m sure you’ve heard the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well the same is true about your business. Your business is your baby and it take a whole team – a village if you will – to make it successful.

    So much of business is about relationships. It’s about connecting with people and connecting the people you know with each other. I was reminded of that again today when I connected one of my clients who is doing some coaching around government contracting with a member of our association. He’s working on a large proposal and needed a particular set of skills beyond the capabilities of his business. I was all too happy to connect the two and I hope, with their combined efforts, they can win the project.

    If you are running your business in a silo, I encourage you to step outside yourself and connect with other business owners. Running a successful business, especially in the government space, is about collaboration. You cannot be all things to all people and you would exhaust yourself if you tried. So get out and make a point of networking with businesses that are vertically integrated with yours. By doing so, you may find someone with whom you can partner in order to expand your capabilities.

    Remember, ANY percentage of SOMETHING, is a lot better than 100% of NOTHING.

  • 03 Mar 2017 3:35 PM | Deleted user

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA as it’s often referred to, develops and implements policies on farming, food and agriculture. Because of the breadth and scope of this department, there are 17 key agencies that support the USDA.  The link below will take you to the USDA Agencies and Offices page where you can see all of the agencies and offices that support the Department of Agriculture. These agencies cover a broad array of services including agricultural marketing and research services, farm services, food and nutrition services, food safety & inspection services, foreign agricultural service, forest service, resource conservation service and rural development, just to name a few. The scope of the USDA is so big that this is a Department you want to have in your sights.  

    The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is one of the 17 agencies in the USDA and it runs programs that foster the efficient, fair marketing of food, fiber and specialty crops.  The AMS has five commodity programs, an organic program, a science and technology program and a transportation and marketing program.  With these programs, the AMS, in effect, trades food commodities, administers organic standards, researches quality assurance standards and manages logistics for the food supply in the US and around the world.  And this is just ONE agency.

    Another key agency of the US Department of Agriculture is the Farm Service Agency (FSA).  This agency administers programs for farmers and ranchers including farm commodity, credit, crop insurance, environmental and emergency assistance programs.  Key programs for the FSA fall under the categories of conservation, energy, farm loans and disaster assistance.  The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is one of the FSA’s energy programs created under the 2008 Farm Bill.  BCAP is a primary component in the strategy to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, improve energy security, reduce carbon pollution and foster rural economic development and job creation.

    The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is the agency that administers nutrition assistance programs in the USDA.  They provide food, a healthy diet and nutrition information to children and low-income individuals in America. Programs like WIC, National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, Food Distribution and Farmers Market Nutrition all fall under the FNS.

    Another primary agency of the Department of Agriculture is the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).  FSIS is the public health agency of the USDA and they are responsible for ensuring the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is packaged correctly and is safe as per regulations.  The programs under this agency include the food recall program, food defense and emergency response and food safety education.

    The Foreign Agricultural Service (FSA) links US agriculture to the rest of the world market to enhance export opportunities and global food security.  Its major programs and services focus on trade policy, market development, export assistance, data and analysis and international development.

    The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands and encompasses 193 acres of land while the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary agency that works with private landowners.  Seventy percent of land in the US is privately owned, so the NRCS ensures the health of our Nation’s environment by working with landowners through conservation planning and assistance to benefit soil, water, air plants and animals.

    The Rural Development agency is committed to the future of rural communities by improving the quality of life of rural residents via increased economic opportunities.  The Rural Development agency provides assistance to the communities it serves with business programs, cooperative programs, rural utilities programs and community development programs.  The agency has a portfolio of $155 billion in loans and will administer $20 billion in loans, grants and loan guarantees through their programs in the current fiscal year.

    I’ve just touched on eight of the 17 key agencies that support the Department of Agriculture.  I encourage you to use the link provided to review the others offices and agencies that support the USDA. The depth and breadth of this department make for tons of opportunities for businesses in many different sectors.  As we progress through each of the 15 departments I trust you’ll discover a niche for your business.

    http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navtype=MA&navid=AGENCIES_OFFICES - Agencies and Offices of the USDA

  • 24 Feb 2017 3:06 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Commerce is one of the 15 executive departments of the federal government.  This mission of this department is to help make American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad so they can create jobs.  

    The Department of Commerce is made up of 12 different agencies that assist businesses, from those just launching to companies ready to expand into overseas markets.  The key agencies of this department are as follows: the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Economics & Statistics Administration, the Bureau of Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the National Technical Information Service, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office.

    The goal of the Bureau of Industry and Security is to promote national security, foreign policy and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system.  The bureau works in partnership with the private sector to meet its objectives as well as with the international community.  The bureau does its best to avoid actions that compromise the international competitiveness of US Industry while maintaining national security.

    The Economics & Statistics Administration plays three key roles in the department.  They distribute economic indicators and they oversee both the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Have you ever wondered where those numbers for New Residential Home Sales and Gross Domestic Product come from?  Well, the expert economists in this agency produce those numbers as well as reports, fact sheets and briefings on policy issues and current economic events.

    The mission of the Economic Development Administration is to provide grants and loans to non-profits, businesses and state or local governments in economically distressed communities in an effort to create new jobs, retain existing jobs and stimulate growth.  The EDA website has a wealth of information including information on their funding opportunities, investment programs, and their Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    The International Trade Administration works to improve the global business environment and assists US businesses compete here at home and abroad.  This agency is organized into four business units:

    1. U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service - Promotes US exports by small and mid-sized businesses

    2. Manufacturing and Service - Helps shape industry specific trade policy to strengthen US competitiveness abroad

    3. Market Access and Compliance - Creates trade opportunities via the removal of market access barriers

    4. Import Administration - Enforces US trade laws and agreements to safeguard against unfairly imported products.

    The Minority Business Development Agency is an entrepreneurially focused agency of the department that is committed to wealth creation in minority communities.  The mission is to actively promote the growth and competitiveness of Small, Mid-sized and Large MBE’s in the US.  This site has a great registration portal called Phoenix that allows you to enter your NAICS codes, and business description so that when contracting opportunities that match your capabilities come through the system, you are notified via email.

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the oldest physical science laboratory in the nation.  The agency was created to improve measurement infrastructure in an effort to increase US industrial competitiveness globally.  Today NIST measurements support technologies as small as Nano scale devices and a large as earthquake resistant skyscrapers.  Funding opportunities with NIST are usually grants related to scientific research.

    The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) touches your life every day with daily weather forecasts, severe weather alerts and warnings and climate monitoring. While the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is the largest central resource for government funded information, whether scientific, technical, engineering or business related.   The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s programs focus primarily on expanding broadband internet adoption in the US, promoting digital literacy and developing policy on issues relating the internet economy.

    The Patent and Trademark Office grants patents and registers trademarks.  The agency also advises other US government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy, protection and enforcement; and promoted more effective IP protection abroad.  Though contracting opportunities are not generally found in this department, they do procure goods and offer a link on their site with 2012-2015 forecast of the Small business opportunities.

    The US Department of Commerce may not be the most well-known of the departments of the executive branch but in my opinion, it is one of the more valuable departments. Because the goal of the department is to make sure that you, the small business owner, have the tools you need to be more competitive and innovative; the resources can prove usefule as you look to grow and expand your business.

  • 17 Feb 2017 3:04 PM | Deleted user

    A few weeks ago I began a series addressing each of the 15 Departments of the Federal Executive Branch of the government.  The goal is to give you the information you need to begin identifying departments who may be buying your products and services. 

    This department is one we are all familiar with.  The Department of Education is charged with establishing the policies for the nation’s schools and it coordinates most federal education assistance.  There are a dozen key agencies that support the Department of Education; some of which are familiar to us as well.  They include the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Federal Student Aid.  

    The aforementioned agencies are the ones that we think of when we think of the public school systems.  Curriculum, assistive technology, textbooks, testing, accreditations and more, from Pre-K - Graduate levels, are all handled by these agencies.  If your business supports educating Americans, it’s likely to fall under the Department of Education.  

    With the Department of Education - and all of the departments, for that matter - I encourage you to think vertically.  Vertical integration is a big issue in corporate strategy, especially with firms reevaluating what parts of their value chain they want to keep and which parts to outsource.  For example, your company may perform binding services including spiral binding for workbooks.  A textbook publisher may outsource the binding portion of their business because it isn’t cost effective to have the equipment needed when that is such a small part of their overall business.  Your firm could be the partner to whom they outsource.  

    Continue thinking “outside the box” and look at grant opportunities for your business. We don’t often think about grants when we think of government contracts but those options are readily available as well.  The Office of Innovation and Improvement, for instance, makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and they administer more than 25 grant programs, i.e. Charter schools.  In this agency, in particular, and the Department of Education in general, you’ll find a lot of grant opportunities.

    The last few agencies that complete the 12 key agencies of the Department of Education are the Office for Civil Rights, the Institute for Education Sciences, the Office of English Language Acquisition, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics.  

    The Institute for Education Sciences provides the evidence on which education policies and practices are based via four centers; the evaluation center, research center, statistics center and the special education research center.  If your company conducts research or develops analytical software or manufactures assistive technology for special needs kids, then there may be contracting opportunities in the Institute of Education Sciences for you to consider.

    As I mentioned earlier, this series is to move you beyond the obvious needs you may think of when you consider some of these departments and see what actual niches may exist for your business.  The goal is to get you started down the right path so that you can truly see what opportunities await.  

    Good Luck.

  • 10 Feb 2017 3:02 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the principal agency for protecting the health and providing essential human services for all Americans, especially those least able to help themselves.  HHS represents one fourth of all federal expenditures and administers more grant dollars than all other agencies combined.  HHS’ Medicare program alone if the largest health insurer in the nation and administers more than $1 Billion in claims per year.

    The programs and services of the department are administered by 11 operating divisions.  The divisions include: 1. Administration for Children and Families, 2. Administration on Aging, 3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 4. Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry, 5. The CDC, 6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 7. The FDA, 8. Health Resources and Services Administration, 9. Indian Health Service, 10. National Institutes of Health, 11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    In addition to the aforementioned operating divisions, there are additional key agencies and organizations that make up this large and intricate department.  The Program Support Center is one such agency.  The Program Support Center is a federal entity that provides support services to all of the agencies in HHS and other federal government agencies the world over.  The services of the Program Support center include administrative operations, information technology support, financial management and strategic acquisitions.  The job of this agency is basically to ensure that all of the other agencies have the support they need to achieve their objectives.   

    Because this department is so large and intricately woven into pretty much every facet of our lives, the contracting and grant opportunities here are legion.  The HHS website does a great job (one of the best of the agencies I’ve discussed thus far) of educating businesses on how to best conduct business with HHS.  The HHS also has its own Mentor-Protégé Program for small businesses who wish to work with or team with large companies for contracts.

    With just a few clicks, you can get to the Forecast of HHS Contracting Opportunities for Small Business and have projections by quarter for all the money to be spent per agency, you can even drill down to find out specific bid descriptions, set asides (i.e. 8(a), Small business, GSA), and dollar amounts.  Scrolling through a few I saw bid amounts ranging from $100,000 to $5 Million for services including fingerprinting, security, landscaping and translation services.

    If you’d like to know more about this department that is responsible for about ¼ of all federal outlays, then attend the National Small Business Federal Contracting Summit in Washington, DC next Spring.

  • 03 Feb 2017 3:00 PM | Deleted user

    You are probably familiar with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more commonly known as HUD.  This department is oversees homes owned by the government and ensures that renters and tenants are treated fairly under the law.  The mission of HUD is to provide quality affordable housing for all and to create strong inclusive and sustainable communities.

    There are nine key organizations and several other organizations that support the department.  One of which is Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae).  You may be familiar with Fannie Mae as a national mortgage finance company, but Ginnie Mae has the only mortgage-backed security that enjoys the full faith and credit of the US Government.   FHA and VA loans are two of the most common loans that are backed by Ginnie Mae.

    The Office of Public and Indian Housing ensures safe, affordable housing and creates opportunities for self-sufficiency and economic independence.  The Office of Multi-Family Housing is responsible for the overall management, development and direction of HUD’s multi-family housing programs; and the Office of Housing oversees the largest mortgage insurer in the world, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  The Office of Housing also regulates the housing industry business.    

    The Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard control is responsible for eliminating the lead-based paint hazard in private homes and low income housing in America.  This organization also leads the nation in addressing and education vulnerable residents about housing-related health hazards.

    The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administers and enforces federal laws to ensure Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.   The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is now the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  This agency was born out in the wake of the mortgage collapse out of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The mission of the organization is to provide effective supervision, regulation and housing mission oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and 12 Home Loan Banks to promote their safety and soundness.  The organization also supports housing finance, affordable housing and a stable and liquid mortgage market.

    The last two key organizations of HUD are the Office of Policy Development and Research and the Community Planning and Development.   Both have end goals of improving the lives of Americans and the communities in which they live, work and play.  The mission of Policy Development & Research is to move policy and improve American communities and lives by being the preeminent housing and research organization.  The Office of Community Planning and Development works toward that end by forming partnerships with all levels of government and private sector including both for profit and not-for-profit agencies.

    In the Department of Housing and Urban Development, contract opportunities abound.  Any contractors can find opportunities a plethora of opportunities among the five agencies focused of fair/safe housing.  In the Fair housing and Equal Opportunity section of the HUD site, www.hud.gov , there is a section devoted to Section 3 Economic Opportunities.  For those non-profits, HUD provides grant opportunities as well via the research and development organizations of the department.   Just remember that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has opportunities for more than just housing, so happy hunting.

  • 27 Jan 2017 2:55 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Labor supports the work force by improving working conditions and protecting employee benefits.  Business owners often look upon this department with the same distain that police officers regard Internal Affairs.  They are the administrator and enforcer of employment policies and their interest is, in fact, to the wage-earner, retiree and job seeker (the employee) and not the employer.

    That doesn’t mean that the Department of Labor offers neither grant nor contracting opportunities for your business, however.  Two of the nine key agencies that support the department, the Employment and Training Administration and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), are focused on today’s hot topic: Getting Americans back to work.  Because this is such a pressing issue, contracts and grants abound for those companies who train or retrain employees.  In 2013 alone, the US Department of Labor allocated 6% of its total spend of $1,622,141,239 on Vocational/Technical training and another 1% on Other Education & Training Services

    Two other agencies are focused on safety.  The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA as it’s commonly called, is charged with assuring a safe and healthy working environment by setting and enforcing safety standards.  The Mine Safety & Health Administration is charged with the same tasks as OSHA but specifically relating to prevention of death, disease and injury in the Nation’s mines.  An integral component required for each of these agencies to meet their objectives is training and education.

    Another two agencies are dedicated to employment issues relating to specific groups of individuals.  The Women’s Bureau develops policies and standards to protect the interests of women in the workforce.  The agency advocates for women’s equality and the economic security of women and their families.  The Office of Disability Employment Services’ mission is to develop disability employment-related policies and practices with the goal of affecting an increase in the employment of individuals with disabilities.

    The Employee Benefits Security Administration is charged with the daunting task of educating and assisting the 150 million Americans covered by over 718,000 private retirement plans, 2.6 million health plans and other plans totaling over$6.5 Trillion in assets.  And the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and publishes all of the data and statistics about the labor force and makes that information available to the general public.

    The last key agency in the US Department of Labor is the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.  This agency is tasked with ensuring workers around the globe are treated fairly and can share in the benefit of the global economy.  By using all available international channels, this agency improves working conditions, raises living standards and addresses the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations.

    There is a common thread that links almost every agency in this department together; and that commonality is training & education.  Whether that’s actual job training for those individuals who wish to get back into the workforce, benefits training and education for the active and retired workforce, safety training to make for a safer work environment or workplace training to expand opportunities for equality in the workforce for women and the disabled; companies who are in the training sector or are vertically aligned with this industry can benefit from the grant and contacting opportunities in the Department of Labor.

  • 20 Jan 2017 2:53 PM | Deleted user

    The Department of Transportation is another familiar department.  It establishes the nation’s transportation policy.  The Department of Transportation oversees aviation, highways, mass transit, railroads, ports, pipelines and more.  

    There are 12 key agencies that support the DOT in its mission to oversee the movement of products and people across the United States. There is a separate agency that handles each of the modes of transportation.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handles aviation; the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for highways; the Federal Transit Administration monitors all public transit systems; the Federal Railroad Administration is in charge of railroads; the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for pipelines; and the Maritime Administration promotes the seamless integration of waterborne transportation with other segments of the transportation system.

    Although the responsibilities of the aforementioned agencies appear obvious, some agencies are charged with much broader tasks.  The Maritime Administration for example works in a wide array of areas involving ships, shipping, shipbuilding, ship disposal, port and vessel operations, and national security.  The agency maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve in cases of war and national emergencies and also maintains the viability of the U.S merchant marine.  The Maritime Administration also administers the America’s Marine Highway program and is responsible for the 25,000+ miles of coastal, intercostal and inland waterways.  If you are in the transportation industry and can make use of these underutilized Marine Highways, there may be federal grant money available for you.  Check out this link http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20013.pdf  for details on the America’s Marine Highway Grant Notice of Funds Availability.

    Other key agencies of the Department of Transportation are the Bureau of Transportation Statistics - a statistical agency that administers data collection, analysis and reporting and ensures the most cost effective use of transportation monitoring resources; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - that directs highway safety programs; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - who’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries;  the Research and Innovative Technology Administration - charged with deploying cutting edge technologies to improve the nation’s transportation systems; the Surface Transportation Board - an economic regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes; and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation - that operates constructs and maintains that part of the St Lawrence  Seaway between Port of Montreal, Canada and Lake Erie that lies within the US.  

    Most people only of the usual planes, trains and automobiles when they think of DOT contracting opportunities.  They don’t realize that research companies that are pioneering cars that drive themselves or cars that hover and fly have a place in the DOT in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.  Nor do they think about the arbitrators and mediators who settle disputes in the Surface Transportation Board.

    So whether you are a trucker, a pilot, a merchant marine or a railway engineer, the Department of Transportation has got you covered.  And if your business supports these folks or the adjacent industries, there are probably contracting opportunities awaiting you at the DOT.

  • 13 Jan 2017 2:51 PM | Deleted user

    Most of you know of my banking background so today’s topic - Department of Treasury - was rather exciting for me to delve into.  The Department of Treasury is responsible for economic, financial, tax, and fiscal policies.  The main thing I think of when it comes to this department is the manufacture of coins and currency, but they do a lot more than print money.  Nine key agencies make up the Department of Treasury and these agencies support various functions of the Treasury.  

    The US Mint, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Bureau of the Public Debt deal with the money in production and circulation and the debt instruments.  The US Mint was created on April 2, 1792, when the new Congress passed The Coinage Act.  The Mint was the first federal building erected under the Constitution and their job today remains the same, to coin money.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has the daunting task of producing Federal Reserve Notes.  They print billions of dollars each year for delivery into the Federal Reserve System.  The purpose of the Bureau of Public Debt is to borrow money to operate the federal government, account for the debt and provide reimbursable support to other federal agencies.  They borrow by selling Treasury bills, notes, bonds and US Savings Bonds

    The Internal Revenue Services is the nation’s tax collection agency.  The IRS’s mission is to help the compliant taxpayers understand the tax law while ensuring the noncompliant few pay their fair share (remember this is information I am gathering from public sources and presenting to you.  In short, don’t shoot the messenger, lol).  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the IRS is one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators.  In the fiscal year 2010 they collected $2.3 trillion in revenue and processed 230 million returns.  In the same year, they spent just 53 cents for each $100 collected.  Evil genius or efficiency, you decide

    The 1800 employees in the Financial Management Service provide central payment services to Federal Program Agencies operate the government’s collection and deposit system and oversee daily cash flow of $89 Billion.  This agency provides accounting and reporting services and collects delinquent debt owed to the government.

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau is charged with collecting excise tax on alcohol, tobacco, firearms and ammunition.  They also ensure compliance with tobacco and alcohol permitting, labeling and marketing requirements to protect consumers.  This agency is the newest in the Department of Treasury and was formed in January 2003 when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was reorganized under the provisions of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is designed to make the consumer financial products and services work best for you.  They educate consumers about predatory or abusive practices, they enforce consumer protection laws and they analyze data to better understand consumer, financial service providers and the market.

    The last two we should all remember well from 2008.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) both handle the supervision and regulation of banks, savings and loans, thrifts, etc.  The OTS is the agency that shut down Washington Mutual bank, the largest thrift in the nation.  Supervisory responsibility for federal savings associations transferred from the OTS to the OCC on July 21, 2011.  The OCC is the watchdog for banks and has the power to examine national banks and federal thrifts, approve or deny applications for new charters, take supervisory action against noncompliant banks or thrifts and issue rules and regulations governing investments, lending and other practices.

    The Treasury Department, as you can see, packs quite a punch.  They print, coin and borrow money, control financial institutions, enforce taxation, provide central payment solutions, and protect our consumer rights regarding financial products.  Look further into each of these agencies to uncover contracting opportunities that may exist for you.  Keep in mind that certain functions, like printing money, will never be outsourced.

  • 11 Jan 2017 2:56 PM | Deleted user

    You may be familiar with several different agencies within the government like the Department of Education, Department of Justice and Department of Defense; but what about those departments that are not so commonplace, like the Department of Interior.  I mean, what the heck do they do anyway?  By the way, it has nothing to do with interior design.  Not that I thought that or anything.

    That got me thinking.  If I’m in this stuff every day and I am not familiar with some of it, surely you may have some questions.  I discovered there are 15 Executive Departments under the Federal Executive Branch of the government and a host of Independent Agencies and Government Corporations.[1]  I have decided to address one department every week for the next several weeks.  This way, you’ll learn about what the department does, what agencies provide support to that department and, most importantly, how you can position your company to the department and related agencies.  This should be able to shed some light on the recurring question, “What Agency is buying what I do/make/sell?”   

    The first one up for discussion - in no particular order - is the Department of Interior.  This department is responsible for managing and conserving most federally owned land.  As an aside, I wonder why they don’t call themselves the department of exterior, wouldn’t that make more sense?  Come on, the Department of Education is about education, the Department of Labor is about the work force, but the Department of Interior preserves exterior spaces?  Really?  I can’t have been the only one confused, but I digress.

    There are several key agencies that are associated with the Department of Interior.  They include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Geological Survey (USGS), Mineral Management Service, National Interagency Fire Center, National Park Service and Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation & Enforcement[2].  Although some of the agency names are self-explanatory; others, not so much.  The Bureau of Land Management, for example, not only manages recreation and conservation of federally owned lands, but also wild horses and burros - crazy right?  The Bureau of Reclamation manages water in the West and is the second largest producers of hydroelectric power.  The Mineral Management Service is charged with environmentally and economically responsible development of our offshore resources.

    So let’s think of the possibilities.  Veterinarians, Firefighters, Drilling experts (both offshore and surface), Engineers, Geological experts, Landscape Design firms, and any company that provides the equipment needed in any of these fields.  These are all needs that the aforementioned agencies and this department would have, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

    I know you’ve heard it before and you’ve probably read it from me a few times in the past.  The federal government buys EVERYTHING!  Peering into this one department and its nine key agencies has proven how true that statement is.  Tune in next week as we dive into another department and see what contracting opportunities may be waiting for you.

    [1] http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/Executive.shtml - Federal Executive Branch

    [2] http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/Executive/Interior.shtml# - Department of Interior information with link to the 9 associated agencies

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