Alabama Contracting News

VA Direct Access Program: Webinar 12/2

The VA Office of Research and Development will provide information and resources on available VA technologies licensing for entrepreneurs and new businesses.

The goals of this event are to:

•           Inform the Veteran-Owned Small Business community, Veterans considering entrepreneurship and other interested parties about the opportunity to secure commercialization rights to inventions owned by the VA. The licensing prospect is made available using the VA Technology Transfer Program (TTP).

•           Communicate available resources and mechanisms for businesses and entrepreneurs to partner with the VA research community through engagement with the VA TTP.

•           Provide examples of available commercialization opportunities and success stories of businesses that partnered with the VA TTP to bring real products and services to market for the benefit of Veterans, the public, and the U.S. economy.

The value to individuals attending this information session are:

•           Get information about starting a new business based on technologies born out of VA funded research and development. VA TPP inventions positively impact the Veteran community and the public.

•           Gain insight about the potential to grow an existing business by acquiring the license for new technology that is ready for commercialization.

•           Learn about no-cost services provided by TechLink, the VA’s National Partnership Intermediary for technology transfer.

•           Ask questions to evaluate prospects available to business owners and prospective businesspersons via the VA TPP. You will also have a chance to explore partnership mechanisms, get insight about securing commercialization rights and other TPP commercialization support services.

Event Website:
https://vetbiz.va.gov/events/event-detail/?id=2eb5f604-af40-ec11-8c62-001dd80312dc

About the Program Office

The VA Technology Transfer Program (TTP) manages the protection and commercialization of VA intellectual property resulting from VA funded research and development activities conducted around the Nation. The TTP works with VA researchers to secure intellectual property protection for promising inventions. It then facilitates the transfer of these inventions to industry through licensing and cooperative research and development agreements. The VA TTP enables new discoveries to be translated into products and services for the benefit of Veterans, the public, and the US economy. The VA TTP seeks industry partnerships with entrepreneurs and businesses for its available commercialization opportunities. Through its National Partnership Intermediary, TechLink, the VA TTP offers no-cost licensing and partnership assistance to interested entrepreneurs and businesses and full access to available opportunities at http://techlinkcenter.org.

If you have questions about the virtual event, please contact the Direct Access Program by e-mail at directaccess@va.gov or by phone at 202-461-4694.

National PTAC Day – Sept 15, 2021

The Alabama PTAC Recognizes the Success of our Small Business Clients by Celebrating National PTAC Day!

PTAC Day logo

For 36 years, Alabama Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) have helped expand the number of small businesses that successfully compete for and win federal, state, and local contracts. This September, PTACs from around the country are coming together for one special day to celebrate the success of the tens of thousands of small businesses who have benefitted from training and technical assistance delivered by their local PTACs.

Ninety Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) – with over 300 local offices – form a nationwide network of more than 600 dedicated procurement professionals who work to help local businesses successfully sell their products and services to government agencies. In FY20, Alabama’s PTACs served 1,155 clients and helped them win over $200 million in government contracts and subcontracts. The more successful our nation’s small businesses are in the government marketplace, the stronger our regional and national economies grow. An Impact Snapshot for the Alabama PTAC is available here.

To celebrate the success of PTAC clients in communities across the country, the national PTAC network is hosting the fourth annual National PTAC Day on September 15th. It will be marked by events and community outreach at local and state levels to promote the effective work being done by PTACs across the country and the resulting success achieved by PTAC clients.

More information about National PTAC Day can be found at http://www.aptac-us.org/PTACday. Join the celebration!

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About the PTAC Program: The Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) was authorized by Congress in 1985 in an effort to expand the number of businesses capable of participating in the government marketplace. The Alabama PTAC is provided through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Program support is made possible by the University of Alabama for the purpose of providing procurement assistance to all businesses – particularly small businesses – interested in competing for contract awards.

GSA Announces SAM Redesign / Before & After Guide

After months of hard work incorporating much user and stakeholder feedback, GSA’s Integrated Award Environment (IAE) is pleased to announce an updated look and feel to beta.SAM.gov will debut on April 26, 2021. The new user experience includes not just a new homepage, but changes to beta.SAM.gov’s help pages and search function incorporating your ideas and suggestions for more useful function and design. For example, the newly designed header now provides a single level of quick access to important functions like search, databank, data services, workspace, and more.

To better address how you use the site, each domain in the new design of beta.SAM.gov (ex. contract opportunities, assistance listings, wage determinations, contract data reports, and the federal hierarchy) has a dedicated landing (home) page or starting point for users.   Help and training resources related to each domain will be conveniently accessible from each domain home page. 

All help resources will be centralized at the Federal Service Desk (FSD.gov) and the new help landing page will highlight the most popular help topics. 

The new search experience addresses numerous issues raised by our users and enhances the overall search experience.  The new design makes it easier to find and use advanced search filters.  We received lots of feedback about the date filters and responded with design changes that make it easier to find and use advanced search filters. Based on suggestions, we’ve made other improvements aimed at making search easier to use including  a more compact design and a calendar picker. We also added more options to view and organize your search results. 

To provide more flexibility, you can start a new search from the menu bar on any page, a search bar on the home page, or search bars on the domain landing pages.  To guide users to the specific data they need, you can select a domain directly from the homepage. Note that all search areas now ask for some filter or keyword to be used before showing any results.  The workspace, roles, or data entry pages, or access will not change.  

The new design is being intentionally introduced to beta.SAM.gov users ahead of the integration of legacy SAM.gov into the beta.SAM.gov environment (happening on May 24, 2021) so you can take advantage of the improved user experience as soon as possible.  For a deeper dive into the new design ahead of the April 26, 2021 launch, watch this Before and After Video or read our Before and After Guide. Again, your feedback is crucial to the design and development of GSA systems and we welcome your thoughts on the usability and functionality of beta.SAM.gov!  Please share your comments with the feedback tool located at the footer of each page.

Extension of the 8a Program

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and the Appropriations Act permit businesses who were participants in the 8(a) Business Development program on or before September 9, 2020, to extend their participation in the program for a period of one year. SBA is expected to publish a final rule incorporating this mandate on January 13, 2021.

Below are key takeaways for government contractors seeking to extend participation in the 8(a) program.
 
Eligibility Requirements
 
Through the unpublished rule, SBA has further clarified that it believes that any firms participating in the 8(a) program as of the date the national disaster was declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic (March 13, 2020) should receive the program extension.
 
Accordingly, to be eligible for the one-year extension you must:

  • Have been in the 8(a) program as of March 13, 2020, or September 9, 2020.

You are not eligible for the one-year extension if you:

  • Graduated or otherwise left the program prior to March 13, 2020;
  • Were a participant between March 13, 2020, and September 9, 2020, but were terminated, early graduated, or voluntarily withdrew; or
  • Were admitted after September 9, 2020.

How Will the Extension Be Implemented?

  • If you were an 8(a) participant between March 13, 2020, and the date the rule is published, the extension is automatic, unless your company declines the extension.
  • If you were a participant as of March 13, 2020, but have since graduated, you must notify SBA of your intent to be readmitted for a period of one year from date of completion of the program term (e.g., if you graduated on November 25, 2020, your program participation would be extended until November 25, 2021).
    • This notification must be received by SBA no later than 60 days after the rule is published.
    • You must certify that you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
    • All requests for re-admittance must be submitted to: Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416 or via email to 8aQuestions@sba.gov.

It is important to keep in mind that participants must continue to comply with all applicable 8(a) eligibility requirements. Additionally, SBA has confirmed that in order to be eligible to receive 8(a) sole-source contracts during the extended program term, the participant must have met the 50% non-8(a) business activity target (or made good faith efforts to meet that target) during its ninth program year.

The final rule, which will have immediate effect, is expected to be published January 13. While the rule will have immediate effect, SBA is providing for a 60-day comment period.

Source: Piliero-Mazza-Law

GSA Webinar on Public Building Services 10/28/20

Join the GSA Region 4 Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization for an overview on Doing Business with GSA Region 4 Public Building services. During this webinar our Acquisition Director for GSA Region 4 PBS will provide training on how to do business with Public Building Services, understand Internal IDIQ’s, Construction Projects (to include Capital Courthouse), Janitorial, and Facilities Management.

Wednesday, October 28, 202010:30 am – 12:00 pm, EST
Web-Conferencing via MeetingSpace
Webinar URL will be provided once you register.
Registration closes TUESDAY, October 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm, est.
LINK WILL BE SENT ON TUESDAY, October 27, 2020 by 5:00 pm, est.
This event is free of charge, but space is limited.

Invitations are not transferableRegister here: https://forms.gle/i6zXvnSJYdT49pp37

Now Hiring: PTAC Procurement Specialist

The Alabama PTAC is accepting applications for a full time Procurement Specialist at Alabama State University (ASU). Do you have experience in government contracting? Do you have a passion for helping small businesses succeed? Can you help companies compete for contract opportunities at the federal, state, and local level?

Apply online with ASU.
Position closes 9/10/20.

TKO Seminar June 23

The Defense Logistics Agency is offering a virtual Training, Knowledge, and Opportunities (TKO) Seminar on June 23rd, 2020.

Click here to register: https://tko.dla.mil/
Then select DLA Land & Maritime.

“The TKO seminar is a session that teaches vendors how to START doing business with Defense Logistics Agency. Vendors learn how to find open solicitations, how to submit a quote through the DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS), the procedures for viewing/downloading drawings, and how to use Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF) to get paid. There will also be many other relevant topics of discussion. This course is designed for dealers, distributors, and manufacturers, but NOT a company that provides services.

TKO Frequently Asked Questions

Defense Pricing & Contracting COVID-19 Resources

DPC Announcements

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Limited Exemption and Waiver from Certain Federal Contracting Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Requirements, as of March 17, 2020Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019): Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities and National Interest Action (NIA) Code, as of March 13, 2020

DPC Memorandums

Determining and Making Commercial Item Procurements to Respond to COVID-19, dated March 31, 2020Reporting COVID-19 Related Actions to the Federal Procurement Data System, dated March 31, 2020Managing Defense Contracts Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus, dated March 30, 2020Doing Business with the Department – Supporting the Response to COVID-19, dated March 27, 2020Defense Industrial Base Contract Considerations, dated March 20, 2020Contract Place of Performance – Public Health Considerations, dated March 20, 2020Planning for Potential Novel Coronavirus Contract Impacts, dated March 11, 2020Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities – Disaster or Emergency Assistance Activities, dated March 6, 2020Continuation of Essential Contractor Services, dated March 5, 2020

Class Deviations

Class Deviation 2020-O0011 – Submission of Interim Vouchers Under Classified Contracts, dated March 27, 2020
Class Deviation 2020-O0010 – Progress Payment Rates, dated March 20, 2020

USD(A&S) Memorandums

Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, dated March 20, 2020

OMB Resources

OMB Memorandum on Managing Contract Performance Issues Associated with COVID-19, dated March 20, 2020

Military Component Memorandums

USAF – Creative Contracting Techniques for Maintaining Financial Health of DIB, dated March 26, 2020USAF – AF Acquisition Task Force on COVID-19, dated March 25, 2020USAF – Mission Essential Activities during COVID-19, dated March 21, 2020USAF – Department of the Air Force Mission Essential Activities during COVID-19, dated March 17, 2020USN – Use of COVID-19 Language within DON Contracts, dated March 26, 2020USN – (Intent and Direction) Withholds and Retentions During COVID-19, dated March 20, 2020USA – Promoting Resiliency of the DIB during COVID-19 Pandemic (to industry), dated March 24 2020USA – Promoting Resiliency of the DIB during COVID-19 Pandemic (internal), dated March 24 2020USA – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement) (DASA(P)) Response to the Cornoavirus Disease (COVID-19), dated March 12, 2020

Acquisition Related COVID-19 Resources and Links

https://www.acquisition.gov/coronavirus Provides quick access to key COVID-19 documents of interest to the acquisition community.https://intelshare.intelink.gov/sites/ocs/COVID-19 Joint Staff J-4 site that provides Operational Contract Support information related to COVID-19. (Website is CAC enabled access only.)https://community.max.gov/x/dUCafg Enables rapid information-sharing within the acquisition workforce of agency generated artifacts (e.g., templates, best practices) related to COVID-19. (Website is CAC enabled/government authorized access only.)

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

• The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
• Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
• SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
• Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
• These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
• SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
• For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
• Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.

Note: Alabama PTAC cannot provide assistance with disaster loan applications, as they are not directly related to government contracting; our funding partner, the Defense Logistics Agency, specifically restricts us from providing this type of business assistance. Our colleagues across the hall, at the Alabama SBDC Network may be able to provide additional assistance.

OSHA Handbook

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to promote the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

American employers and workers want safe and healthful places in which to work. They want everyone on the job to go home whole and healthy each day. Determined to make that dream possible, OSHA is committed to assuring – so far as possible – that every working man and woman in the nation has safe and healthful working conditions. OSHA believes that providing workers with a safe workplace is central to their ability to enjoy health, security and the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

OSHA seeks to cut unnecessary rules, regulations and red tape. It is eliminating thousands of pages of outdated regulations and continues to rewrite standards in plain English. OSHA is paring down its regulatory agenda so that it more accurately reflects realistic goals that best serve the needs of American employers and employees. Confronted by the realities and demands to keep pace with the workforce and problems of the future, OSHA is developing new strategies to reduce occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Coupled with strong, effective and fair enforcement, OSHA strives to provide improved outreach, education and compliance assistance to America’s employers and employees.

OSHA’s Small Business Handbook is available for download here:
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/smallbusiness/small-business.pdf