Doan Speaks at NCR Small Business Conference
As prepared for delivery
Lurita Alexis Doan
U.S. General Services Administration
NCR Small Business Conference
Thank you Ann (Everett) for that warm introduction.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Well, I’ve only been on the job a week – this is just my second speech outside the agency - but we’re already getting some interesting headlines.
Because on Tuesday, I made a pledge to another audience.
You’d think I promised to eliminate all traffic on I-95, or bring the price of gas down to a buck-fifty a gallon. But that wasn’t it. What I said was this:
Business is where I started, where my roots are, and where I feel most at home.
I told that audience – just like I’m telling you – that the Federal government needs the innovative products and services that all of you can provide. I told the other group, and I’m telling you, that this Administrator intends to be your champion!
The first thing that means is a hard scrub of the process of getting a GSA schedule. We’ve already begun; we’re making some progress. The bottom line is this: I will not rest until it’s possible for a business to get a basic GSA schedule within 30 days. It will take some work, and it will take a little time, but we are going to get it done.
This conference put on by our National Capitol Region and our important partner, George Mason University’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center, is another way that we’re trying to boost your odds of doing business with the Federal government.
Regional Administrator Ann Everett and her team have put together a terrific half-day program that will send you off with practical information on how to become a GSA schedule contractor and how to market your schedules contract. You should also take advantage of the opportunity to network with some of our prime contractors, and to sit down for a one-on-one session with one of our counselors.
I’d like to thank Ann and her team, as well as our private sector partners, for their hard work and participation.
And let’s not forget our friends from George Mason. If anyone knows something about the little guy making a splash in a big pond, it’s the folks at Mason. Remember the basketball team’s run in the N-C-A-A tournament? We can take some lessons from that experience:
- First, bigger isn’t always better, and it doesn’t always win;
- Second, knowledge can beat numbers. It’s not the size of your team, it’s knowing the details – including the competition -- and planning your strategy accordingly.
- Third the David-like George Mason Patriots were like small businessmen up against corporate giants at every turn. So the last thing they showed us is that concentration, determination and perspiration can take you a heckuva long way.
Folks, I’ve been in your shoes. For over 10 years, I worked closely with GSA. I understand this agency from the ground up, the way a customer views it. Anyone who knows me will tell you I have high expectations, and the high energy needed to turn good ideas into best practices.
I think you’ll find me a good listener, and I do want your ideas. We have a bond. We know very well the crucial importance of customer focus, of decisive and timely decision making, and the need to create a culture of change within an organization to best meet our customers’ needs.
I’m going to stop in a moment – I know you have a busy day ahead. First, let me remind you that President Bush spoke right here in April to the Small Business Week Conference. Maybe some of you were there. If not, one of the things he said was that, while he holds an MBA, he learned the most about how the economy works when he was trying to meet a payroll.
To quote the President: “The entrepreneurs of this country not only create and run their own businesses, they work hard … there's something special about somebody who stands up and says, I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a hope.”
I’m proud that the President selected me – a small businesswoman – to head an agency that influences the spending of billions of taxpayer dollars each year. Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. And they account for nearly half of the country's overall employment.
That's why the President believes it makes sense to have small business at the cornerstone of his a pro-growth economic policy.
And it’s why I will do everything in my power to improve – as the conference organizers put it – your access to success.
Thank you for coming today, and thank you for your attention. I hope we stay in close touch.