The University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (Tennessee PTAC) had an impactful program period during the quarter of April 1 – June 30, 2021. The program exceeded all goals for the quarter in new client counseling (104), number of counseling hours (798) and sponsored training events (31 events/600 attendees). The Tennessee PTAC’s customer-survey-response average for the quarter was a 4.62 or 92.4% rating.
During the quarter, Tennessee PTAC provided counseling in all aspects of government contracting, including SAM registration, social economic program certifications, solicitation reviews, market research and strategies, GSA Schedules, Cyber Security Compliance, and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).
Tennessee PTAC has enhanced its services in Cyber Security and SBIR internal resources with the use of “Third Party Resources.” Tennessee PTAC assisted companies regarding Cyber Security by providing initial Cyber awareness counseling and training; guiding companies in implementing their own “Self-Assessment” requirements; and conducting Level 1 Cyber Security Compliance “Initial Assessments.” These assessments established the gaps to compliance and provided a plan of action. They are reserved for those clients with high potential to obtain/administer DOD contracts.
Tennessee PTAC assisted clients regarding SBIR Grant opportunities by reviewing grant proposals, conducting research on SBIR opportunities, and helping clients with developing technology “Pitch” presentations to government agencies.
Tennessee PTAC conducted very few counseling sessions in person. Most activity was conducted either through web or telephone conferencing. The reduction in Face-to-Face counseling actually improved program efficiency although some clients still prefer the Face-to-Face method.
All of the events sponsored by Tennessee PTAC during the quarter were conducted online. Of the 31 events sponsored, there were 3 major (networking) conferences, 12 Government Contracting 101 courses, and 11 Advance-training courses. There were 600 participants attending the events.
The Tennessee PTAC utilized its ZOOM Webinar License to conduct most training events including the conferences. Other webinar licenses used to supplement ZOOM include LunchPool software for networking programs, and MyBidMatches for matchmaking formats. In addition, Tennessee PTAC utilizes Qualtrics for training/conference evaluation surveys. These surveys help measure the training experience, speaker quality and determine what topics/program improvements need to be explored for future events. Google Drive is used to disperse speaker presentation files when necessary.
Tennessee PTAC made another concerted effort to engage more “manufacturing” companies during the quarter by sponsoring the “Tennessee Manufacturing Conference – Doing Business with the Government.” Held on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, between 9:00 AM TO 12:00 PM (CDT), the conference had 115 attendees.
The conference highlighted speakers from General Dynamics and Lockheed with Tennessee PTAC staff providing a doing business with the government session geared toward companies new to Department of Defense (DOD) contracting. The conference co-sponsored by the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) also provided a session on Cyber Security Compliance requirements for DOD contractors. The Tennessee PTAC was successful in maintaining its goal of providing programing accessible geographically in all regions of the state. Even though the training was online, it was advertised through our database and our co-sponsors regionally. Tennessee PTAC had “Government Contracting 101” training to assist “newcomers”, “Government Contracting 201” training as a follow-up to the introductory class. Tennessee PTAC sponsored several “advanced” training classes as well for the more experienced clients. The advanced training courses were advertised statewide.
Another part of Tennessee PTAC’s general strategy is to assist government agencies and large prime contractors connect with small businesses. The Tennessee PTAC sponsored a major virtual networking conference (developed mainly for the Memphis area; but broadcasted across the State of Tennessee) on June 9, 2021. The conference was titled: Memphis Connections and Opportunities Conference. The conference co-sponsors were Tennessee Small Business
Development Center and City of Memphis Office of Business Diversity and Compliance. The conference enabled attendees to hear from government agencies and large prime contractors interested in doing business with small businesses. Agencies and Large Prime Contractors included: