GSA targets small businesses

GSA has adopted a tough-love
approach toward small businesses, agency administrator David J. Barram says.
GSA wants to usher disadvantaged and small
businesses into the mainstream, FTS commissioner Dennis J. Fischer says.

The General Services Administration wants small businesses to take part in its Seat
Management Program.

GSA officials, already under fire from the Small Business Administration for its
handling of smaller companies [GCN, April 6, Page 3], urged small businesses to get
involved with the program during a recent meeting in Washington.

Representatives of the eight winning Seat Management vendors joined GSA officials in
encouraging small business owners to take part at the meet-and-greet function.

“We want to reach out to small and disadvantaged businesses, [and] get them more
and more into the action, into the mainstream,” said Dennis J. Fischer, commissioner
of GSA’s Federal Technology Service. FTS spearheads the Seat Management Program.

“We did nothing special and ended up with one small business and one large
women-owned business,” Fischer said, referring to MultiMax Inc. of Largo, Md., an
8(a) vendor, and EER Systems Inc. of Seabrook, Md., respectively.

GSA officials and the desktop outsourcing vendors told small business representatives
the success of the Seat Management Program depends on small companies.

The Seat Management Program treats desktop services as a utility supplied by a single
provider, such as a telephone company.

Gabriele Krivonak, federal information segment manager at IBM Corp., said the company
wants to work with subcontractors that already work with agencies. “We’re
looking for people with on-site support” in place, she said.

“We need organizations that know the agencies and locations or have technology
that would be helpful,” said Jerry Wesbecher, vice president of civilian business
development for Wang Government Services Inc. in McLean, Va. Many subcontractors will
be needed during the company’s 10-year contract, Wesbecher said.

Dietra L. Ford, associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Enterprise Development,
said GSA holds pre-award and post-award networking sessions for major contracts.

GSA’s treatment of small businesses has changed from a “big brother to a
tough-love approach,” GSA Administrator David J. Barram told attendees in Washington.
“Small businesses need the opportunity to play on a level playing field.’’

Barram added, “The small businesses that survive are the ones that will keep up
with the changing environment.”   


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