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Simplify Your VA Veteran Owned Biz Certification


By Stephanie Scott

If you are a veteran owned business competing in the federal marketplace, it’s likely that you’ve heard complaints and horror stories about the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation verification, required to leverage veteran and service disabled veteran owned small businesses status with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Aviation Administration.

In my role as a VA Certified Verification Assistance Program Counselor with the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center, I’ve found that investing time on the front end to understand how the VA will evaluate your business and prepare prior to applying will simplify all phases of the application process as well as significantly decrease the likelihood of receiving a denial. Avoiding a denial is always my goal when working with veteran clients because firms denied CVE Verification must wait 6 months to reapply, which can be a lifetime in the world of federal contracting. I encourage veteran business owners to assess the trade off of being shut out of set aside and subcontracting opportunities for 6+ months versus taking the time to adequately inform and prepare themselves to apply. Read more

Congressional Research Service Reports for Federal Contractors

Earlier in 2014, four reports were compiled by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to address frequently addressed questions put forth by government contractors. If you find yourself with questions about Contract types, Evaluation of Past Performance, Termination of Federal Contracts, or the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), you may look at the reports (linked below) to get your questions answered! If you have further questions or need a deeper dive, don’t hesitate to contact your local PTAC Counselor.

Full Reports:

Contract Types Legal Overview 2015

Evaluating the “Past Performance” of Federal 2015

Terminating Contracts for the Government FAQ 2015

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) FAQ 2015


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Navigating Your Way to Success with iCompass Compliance Solutions

Alliance NW is less than a month away and Washington PTAC is hard at work to make sure the 2015 event lives up to the title of The Premier Government Contracting Outreach and Training Event in the Pacific Northwest.
Deborah Todd, who attended her first Alliance NW event in 2014, recently sat down with PTAC to share her insights about the value the event provides to the small business community and why YOU should attend.
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SBA Launches 2015 Emerging Leaders Initiative

The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within urban communities. [READ MORE]

Who SAM is referring to when asking about the Immediate Owner

If you’ve been in the System for Award Management (SAM) lately, you probably gave pause to a new question referencing an “immediate owner” or “higher level owner” while a million questions ran through your mind: What’s an immediate owner? Who is the immediate owner of my business? Is it me? What does FAR even stand for anyway? Why are they changing SAM again? Did I leave the oven on?

This is something every contractor needs to understand before November 1, 2014. Luckily our friends at SmallGovCon wrote a helpful post to answer the question and even include some examples which make the whole thing easier to digest. Check out the post here, and if you still have questions, contact a PTAC Counselor.

New Rules for Disadvantaged Businesses at WSDOT

Contractors, trade and labor organizations, small and disadvantaged businesses, and others interested in doing business with Washington State Department of Transportation are invited to comment on the agency’s proposed overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goal for Federal Aviation Administration funded contracts.

WSDOT is proposing a 6.9 percent overall DBE participation goal on FAA funded projects for federal fiscal years 2015 through 2017 (Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2017). Read more

Veteran Owned Business Contracting

By Tiffany Scroggs


The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to promote the Veterans First Contracting Program that provides Veteran Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOSB) a significant competitive advantage when competing on VA solicitations.  To be eligible to compete for VOSB and SDVOSB set aside contracts and sub-contracts with the VA, firms must first be verified by the VA.

The verification process can be intimidating.   Only 11% of the Veteran Owned Small Businesses that are registered to sell to the Federal government are verified by the VA.  Washington PTAC is working to increase that percentage.  Businesses that work with a certified PTAC Counselor are more likely to be verified.

“We provide the business another pair of eyes on their application to help ensure that the documentation they provide is in alignment with VA requirements” explained VA certified counselor Darrell Sundell at Green River Community College.

Eleven PTAC Counselors in Washington that have been certified by the VA to guide businesses through the process.   To learn more, contact a PTAC counselor near you or visit the VA Verification website.

NAICS Codes for the Procurement of Supplies:

Why Government Can’t Find You!

by Ashley Coronado


If you sell supplies to the federal government, or want to sell supplies to the federal government — this information is for you!

Recently, a federal government small business advocate expressed frustration to me after searching the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) using a specific manufacturing NAICS code and yielding zero results. Knowing that shouldn’t be the case, I took to DSBS and searched using a keyword instead. I found numerous businesses that appeared to be a possible fit, but they were using all wholesale NAICS codes. Neglecting to add the appropriate manufacturing NAICS code to their System for Award Management (SAM) profile resulted in not being found in a search. Read more

Alliance NW Conference Facilitates Collaborative Partnerships

From the Thurston EDC Economic Insider

Connections galore occurred at the Alliance NW Conference in Puyallup this March. A crowd of 600 small businesses, prime contractors, and government agencies gathered for workshops, match-making sessions, and networking with nearly 100 exhibitors.

Materials Testing & Consulting (MTC) of Olympia was one of those exhibitors. MTC’s Senior Project Manager Deane Ramsdell said the experience couldn’t have been better. “We’ve already signed a contract for a substantial project that came as a direct result of our attendance and have several more pending,” he said.


MTC performs geotechnical engineering, materials testing, special inspection, and environmental consulting. “This was a very unique experience,” continued Ramsdell. “Typically for our type of business, these events don’t generate business. It was a great success for MTC.”

Workshops were also presented by government purchasing experts and prime contractors on effectively finding, bidding, and winning contracts in the competitive government marketplace. “Alliance NW is by far the one government contracting event of the year that I will not miss. The number of ‘a-ha’s’ I had made it well worth the price of admission,” shared Kathryn Townsend of West Sound Workforce in Gig Harbor.

Every year we hear about businesses meeting at Alliance and soon after teaming up to bid on government contracts,” said Thurston EDC’s Tiffany Scroggs, the program director for the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). “More than ever businesses need to explore collaborative relationships. Alliance brings everyone together to explore these valuable partnerships.” The Alliance NW Conference is coordinated by the EDC in partnership PTAC, federal agencies, and prime contractors.


Key individuals from primes, governmental agencies, and military bases were candid about the best approach for doing business with them. “I was impressed by the willingness of all prime contractors to guide me through their processes,” said Greg Nuber of Big Blok in Vancouver.

If you missed out on this year’s event and the related insights, you’re invited to attend PTAC sponsored workshops and other government contracting events throughout the year, as well as meet one-on-one with a PTAC Counselor. Visit to learn more.