Remarks by GSA's Administrator Perry at the 4th Annual Champions of Veterans Enterprise Awards
Champions of Veterans Enterprise Program
June 14, 2005
Thank you Secretary (Gordon) Mansfield for that kind introduction.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m honored to participate in this Fourth Annual Champions of Veterans Enterprise Awards Ceremony.
I certainly want to commend Secretary Mansfield, Assistant Secretary Bill Campbell, and the VA’s Small Business Champion, Scott Denniston and the entire VA team for having this ceremony to recognize the good work of individuals and organizations in the federal government that are expanding business opportunities for America’s veterans.
When President Bush signed Executive Order 13360 last October, GSA, like other agencies, was given some specific marching orders. During the past year, the GSA team has made good progress and we are strongly committed to achieve the goals the President outlined.
For Fiscal Year 2004, GSA awarded over $65 million in contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. That amount was more than double the amount awarded in 2003.
For the first 6 months of Fiscal Year 2005, GSA has already exceeded the amount for the full year of 2004, with over $68 million in contracts awarded through this past March 31. So clearly, GSA has really focused on increasing the amount of contracts awarded to service-disabled veteran-owned small business and we are making real progress.
Much of the credit for this progress goes to Brad Scott, GSA’s Regional Administrator in Kansas City. Brad is GSA’s designated senior official responsible for implementing the President’s Executive Order 13360. He has a strong personal commitment to this initiative and he has worked tirelessly with GSA Commissioners and his fellow Regional Administrators to develop a very specific strategy and action plan to meet our three percent (3%) goal.
The growth in the number of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with GSA Schedule Contracts has been very encouraging. We have 517 such contracts in place as of this month. This gives these firms greater visibility to contracting officers at GSA and at all other federal agencies who use GSA Schedule Contracts to make purchases.
GSA is continuing its outreach efforts to get more veteran-owned businesses on Schedule and competing for federal contracts. Eight procurement conferences specifically targeted at veterans have been scheduled for this year at various locations around the country.
In fact, I hope to see many of you in early September when GSA and the VA hold our procurement conference in Phoenix. We hope to have Arizona Senator John McCain, a noted veteran, address us.
By the way, all GSA procurement conferences can be viewed at our webpage for veterans – www.gsa.gov/service-disabled.
Finally, I’d like to point out that GSA will meet the President’s Executive Order directive to award a Governmentwide Acquisition Contract or GWAC for service-disabled veteran-owned small business to provide IT services to the federal government.
Our solicitation for companies interested in participating on this GWAC will close June 30th. We are expecting many proposals to be evaluated and contracts to be awarded in the first half of 2006. Once in place, this GWAC will offer a contracting vehicle that any federal agency can use to solicit proposals from IT firms owned by service-disabled veterans.
I’m proud to see GSA associates from two of our Regional Offices of the Federal Technology Service (FTS) here today to accept awards for their work in this area. Accepting for Region 8 in Denver is Pennie Estrada of the Small business Utilization Center. Accepting for Region 10 is Dayna Ebersole of the FTS Customer Relations Management staff.
Pennie, Dayna, congratulations, and please convey my thanks to your fellow associates on this outstanding accomplishment. I’m also very pleased that Brad Scott is receiving an Individual Enterprise Award. Tom Brown, who works closely with Brad on the service-disabled initiative, is here to accept the award.
I would also like to recognize our Associate Administrator for Small Business Utilization, Felipe Mendoza – himself a veteran – for the hard work that he and his team have put into this initiative for veterans.
In closing, let me say that all of us at GSA pledge that we will continue to build on the foundation we’ve already established to help veteran-owned small business become better positioned for federal contracting opportunities. It’s the least we can do as part of our effort to every veteran – “Thank you for your service to our country.”
Thank you very much.