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Records and Goals for Small, Minority, and Disadvantaged Businesses

STATEMENT OF
TAMELA RIGGS
DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER
OFFICE OF ACQUISITION MANAGEMENT
PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
PUBLIC BUILDINGS, AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
AND INFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

 

Good afternoon, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss doing business with the government, and the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) record and goals for Small, Minority and Disadvantaged Businesses.  I am Tamela Riggs, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Public Buildings Service, Office of Acquisition Management at GSA.  It is my pleasure to be here today.

As the premier acquisition agency of the Federal Government, GSA’s mission is to help Federal agencies better serve the public by offering, at best value, superior workplaces, expert solutions, acquisition services, and management policies.

GSA’s focus on small business starts with our agency leaders who recognize the importance of small businesses’ ability to get the work of the agency completed. We know that small businesses are the engine of our national economy and that they bring new and innovative solutions to Government challenges. A successful and strong small business community is integral to job creation, community empowerment and economic revitalization.

Our agency works hard to improve small business access to our procurement programs.  GSA has continually increased its efforts to purchase products and services from small businesses, which has led to not only meeting our small business goals, but exceeding them.

At GSA, in FY 2008, over $1.8 billion, or 38.75 percent of all prime contract procurement dollars, went to small businesses.  That impressive result is higher than the goal set by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and an increase of 13 percent over the FY 2007 level of $1.6 billion.  We are proud that we have surpassed both the SBA goal and all of the socio-economic goals for federal agencies in FY 2008.

GSA is comprised of two services: the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Public Buildings Service (PBS).  FAS creates procurement vehicles that cover more than four million commercial products  and services, while PBS procures services related to Real Estate, Design and Construction, Disposal, Environmental and Operation and Maintenance.  GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) provides resources for obtaining contract information relating to small businesses.

PBS’ largest contracting areas are repair and alteration of buildings; construction of buildings; and operations and maintenance. In FY 08, of the more than $2.4 billion eligible in these areas, $1.2 billion, or 50%, was awarded to small businesses.

We are proud that we were able to exceed our goals in 2008, and look forward to continued significant small business awards.  However, we recognize that the large influx of funding for recovery projects, while increasing the overall amount PBS is able to award to small businesses, may negatively impact our percentage goals.  Many of our projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, by nature of their size, complexity, and expedited delivery requirements, are likely to be won by large businesses.  Therefore, GSA has significantly increased its small business outreach and education efforts, to heighten the small business community’s awareness of Recovery Act contracting opportunities.

GSA remains committed to negotiating aggressive small business subcontracting plans with prime contractors.  We are now publicizing prime contractor contact information online at gsa.gov, and hosting partnering events that provide opportunities for small businesses to present qualifications and form relationships with prime contractors.  To further our achievements in subcontracting, GSA recently launched our Mentor-Protégé Program.  This program is designed to encourage and motivate GSA prime contractors to assist all categories of small businesses and enhance the small businesses’ performance capabilities.

GSA’s support for small business doesn’t end with our direct GSA contracting.  GSA has a strong record of helping other Federal agencies achieve small business contracting through the FAS Multiple Award Schedules Program (MAS Program) and Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs).

The MAS Program provides ordering activities with a simplified procurement process whereby GSA establishes contracts with firms for commercial products and services. This Program offers agencies a broad range of products and services from private sector vendors and suppliers at fair and reasonable prices that have been pre-negotiated by GSA.

The MAS program offers small businesses an expansive avenue of potential work with other Federal, State and Local Governments, international bodies, and the Legislative and Judicial branches.  I am happy to report that 80 percent of the companies which hold GSA Schedule contracts are small businesses.  In FY 2008, through the Schedules Program, Federal agencies awarded over $13 billion in schedule orders to small businesses, which is approximately 36% of the total dollars spent through the program.

The ordering procedures applicable to the Schedules Program encourage ordering activities to consider and, where applicable, give preference to small businesses.  The e-Tools available to customers promote increased access to the small business community by allowing customers to search the various socio-economic categories.  Contracting officers may make socioeconomic status a primary evaluation factor when making a best value determination. In addition to the Schedules program, GSA offers a range of small business acquisition vehicles and solutions through our Small Business GWAC Center for information technology (IT) services and IT service-based solutions.

GSA has many resources available to help small businesses and provide them with useful information.  Business activities are supported by program experts at GSA Headquarters, through OSBU, centers in 11 regional offices, and by small business technical advisors in our procurement offices.  Our small business website (www.gsa.gov/sbu) provides links to a variety of resources and small business publications.

Madam Chairwoman, our agency is strong, innovative and determined to find new and promising ways to ensure our small business communities continue to partner and excel when working with us.  I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.  I will be happy to answer any questions you and other members of the Committee may have.


Congressional Testimony on Small Businesses