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Administrator Doan joins Senator Collins for Small Business Outreach Event

as prepared for delivery


Remarks by
Lurita A. Doan
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Small Business Matchmaker Conference
Portland, Maine
October 17, 2006

 


Good morning, and thank you very much, Senator Collins.  Ladies and gentlemen, you are so very blessed to have Senator Collins representing you in Washington, DC.  She’s tough; she’s knowledgeable; she’s fair and she’s respected by all who know her in Washington and throughout the nation.  Me included.

It’s a pleasure to be here with Senator Collins, Charles Summers of the Small Business Administration, Phil Varney of the DCMA Small Business Center, and GSA Regional Administrator Dennis Smith for this Small Business Matchmaking Conference.

Some of you may not know that Senator Collins presided over my confirmation hearing in May. As always, she was gracious, but said plainly that she had high expectations. She said that GSA, as the nation’s premier acquisition agency, had an awesome responsibility to be fiscally responsible and a government-wide leader in federal procurement.

I agree. I also told her that I didn’t think there was a single business process that couldn’t be improved at GSA. Today I’m thrilled to report to her and all of you that we have made significant progress.

How many of you have GSA Schedule?  Not bad, but no where near enough.

But for those of you who have one—thank you so much for bringing your business to GSA.

We are working very hard to try to speed up the time it takes you to get a GSA Schedule, and we’re trying to make that process easier for small businesses.

GSA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Smith has members of his staff on hand to assist you. They’re the ones to see for more information about GSA schedules and upcoming events and opportunities.

If the process of marketing to the federal government seems daunting, know that you have a friend standing up here. Before I was GSA Administrator, I was a small business owner and a GSA Schedules holder. I know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.

I started by business with only $25 and in part, because of GSA and its contracting vehicles, I’ve been able to live the American dream.

That’s why I’ve committed to simplifying the process and reducing the amount of time it takes to get on schedule. We have already cut the time from an average of 147 days to just under 90 days. That’s still not good enough, but it’s a step in the right direction.

You may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle to go after government contracts.  That’s a decision only you can make. What I can tell you is that we had no trouble coming up with the names of several small businesses from Maine that decided to take the plunge and are now working for uncle Sam.  The list includes:

- KMK Construction, Inc., of Eliot, Maine, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small construction firm;
- CCB, Inc. of Westbrook, a small, woman-owned construction firm;
- Ganneston Construction Corp. of Augusta, a small woman-owned construction firm;
- Lumus Construction, Inc., of Portland, a small, disadvantaged construction firm;
- and Fire Risk Management, Inc. of Bath, a small, veteran-owned business.  

Thanks so much for making GSA a success and saving the taxpayers’ money.

The reason why a GSA Schedule is important is that this is a small business’ first and best chance to be a prime contractor.  As a prime contractor you control your cash flow—and cash flow is destiny.  The other reason is simple: the U.S. Government is a great customer and always pays its bills.

At GSA, we buy billions of dollars in products and services each year. We help our colleagues acquire workspace, furniture, tools, computers and telephones, travel and transportation services, motor vehicles and everything they need to run their agencies. That’s our core mission – to provide goods and services at best value so they can concentrate on their core missions.

I know, and you know that the small businesses across our nation embody the energy and creativity that have made America great.  Small business leaders know the importance of customer focus, of decisive and timely decision-making, and of the need to create a culture of change and flexibility within an organization to best meet the needs of customers.

When we help you, we help ourselves.  When we tap into your energy, creativity, and decisiveness, we help GSA fulfill its mission. It’s win-win all around.

So, please, take advantage of the expertise assembled here today.  Learn the process, do the paperwork, and make sure you’re ready if an opportunity arises. But most of all:  don’t give up!

We live in a great country filled with opportunity.  All I ask is that you give GSA a chance to make your opportunities start now!

Thank you and good luck!


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