Anthony Jimenez is fighting back against a series of Washington Post articles that have questioned his ethics and the business practices of his company, MicroTech.
One of the claims in the Post articles by Robert O’Harrow Jr. is that MicroTech misrepresented itself when it won a small business contract with the Veterans Affairs in 2006.
Jimenez disputes the authenticity of some of the documents O’Harrow includes with his article; O’Harrow claims one document is a cover sheet for the VA award to MicroTech.
However, Jimenez told me that he’s never seen that document, and it is not a cover sheet. It is not the correct form, and it was not signed by VA or by MicroTech officials.
In an email he sent me, Jimenez included the actual cover sheet and the request for quotes for the contract that O’Harrow is using as a centerpiece for his article. Jimenez is adamant that O’Harrow mischaracterized the contract as a small-business contract.
O’Harrow might be comparing apples and oranges [my words, not Jimenez’s] because VA counts the contract as a small business contract.
But the contract was competed as a full and open contract, so from Jimenez’s perspective, it was not a small business contract. But it’s OK for VA to claim the contract as a small business contract because MicroTech qualifies as a small business.
That, however, has nothing to do with any representations made by Jimenez and MicroTech because they won the contract in a full and open competition.
The Post article also makes a big deal about how 90 percent of the revenue is flowed through MicroTech to its partner, a reseller of Microsoft products. That’s not unusual, though, because it’s a contract for software. MicroTech doesn’t write software; they facilitate the purchase of the software by VA.
It’s a classic reseller arrangement. MicroTech has the relationship with the customer and the product, and revenue simply passes through the company.
O’Harrow also goes after a company called OBXTek, which was No. 1 on Washington Technology’s 2013 Fast 50, because MicroTech sold a small business contract to OBXTek that MicroTech had grown too large to keep.
Jimenez’s son and a former employee are owners of the company, but I’m not sure why that’s wrong.
Would it have been better for MicroTech to close down the contract and lay off the people who were working on it? Instead, it sold the contract to OBXTek, which in turned hired several MicroTech employees to continue support the contract.
To repeat what I wrote yesterday, I’m perplexed by the effort the Post has put into this story to paint Jimenez and MicroTech as bad guys, or worse--cheats and criminals.
There are legitimate policy questions that surround small business procurement practices, but that debate is poorly served by stories that come across as personal attacks.
The comments to my first blog on these series have been mixed, with some supporting Jimenez and others being very critical.
My favorite is one person who obviously doesn’t like the company or Jimenez.
The commenter wrote that he or she would never recommend MicroTech’s work, but “they didn’t break a single law, but the Post article implies they did and that is disgusting and bogus.”
In a way, that commenter sums up my feelings; by making this investigation all about MicroTech, the opportunity to foster a discussion about small business policies is lost.
Posted on Nov 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM9 comments
I usually don’t go into media criticism, but the Washington Post story on Tony Jimenez and his company MicroTech made me cringe a bit.
The thrust of Robert O’Harrow Jr.’s story is that companies using small business programs can outgrow those programs, but continue to win small business contracts. That’s an old story in the government market, but it still deserves to be examined.
What I don’t understand, though, is why make Jimenez and MicroTech the poster children for flaws in a well-intentioned program? Why is the story only about one entrepreneur and one company?
As I read the article, I kept waiting for the accusations of wrongdoing or proof of illegal activities, but none came.
Instead, it is a description of how Jimenez and MicroTech work inside the system; however, the tenor of the story is that because Jimenez is successful, he’s therefore done something wrong.
The proof of Jimenez’s corruption: He drives a Mercedes. He has a home in Great Falls, Va. And e-gad! He likes mixed-martial arts.
Come on, we deserve better from the Washington Post. O’Harrow had three researchers helping him on this story, and there isn’t one other company mentioned. If he is trying to make the point that the small business set aside program is broken, then why not have some statistics to support that position?
The American Small Business League puts out an annual report naming some of the largest companies in the world that are receiving federal small business contracts.
Why not review some of the findings of Government Accountability Office reports or reports from the Small Business Administration’s inspector general that talk about large businesses getting small business contracts?
Instead, the Post stoops to a personal attack. Maybe it’s sexier, but it’s misleading and unfair.
I don’t want to sound like an apologist for Jimenez and MicroTech; I agree with O’Harrow’s statement in the story in that MicroTech’s success “illuminates the challenges and complexities at the heart of government programs to help small-business entrepreneurs.”
MicroTech is solidly in the mid-tier of the government contracting space, so it’s a legitimate question to ask if they should still be able to participate in small business programs.
But that is a question of policy, not proof of corruption, which is how O’Harrow’s story reads. I guess we'll get more on Thursday when part two examines MicroTech and its contract with Veterans Affairs. Jimenez is an Army veteran with a 30 percent disability, so the company also qualifies as a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business.
That status apparently is more fodder for an attack.
But it seems to me that Jimenez and MicroTech are being attacked because of their success, and that shouldn't be a crime.
Posted on Nov 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM26 comments
The acquisition engine is still humming along over at Deltek, with the software and market research firm adding Centurion Research Solutions to its stable.
The company announced the acquisition today, saying it supplements the market research capabilities Deltek added when it acquired Input in 2010 and FedSources in 2011 to create its GovWin IQ database offering.
“We’ve been talking for a while, and we are excited about the value the combination of the two companies can deliver," said Mike Corkery, Deltek CEO.
He declined to disclose the purchase price or Centurion’s annual revenue, but Deltek is picking up 59 employees.
The addition of Centurion brings more market research data on architecture and engineering opportunities, which Corkery said was particularly attractive to Deltek. Centurion also has data on IT, professional services, energy, and operations and maintenance contracts.
Centurion also brings its Opportunity Assessment Now offering, which is a data analytics tool that allows users to analyze an opportunity and assess the likelihood of winning it.
“We think that analytical platform will be a very interesting addition to our product set,” he said.
“Think about what is going on in today’s market with budgets narrowing and competition tightening,” Corkery said. “You need to be able to deploy your business development resources efficiently. Now, our customers will have full visibility of the opportunities that are out there and the analytical tools to know exactly what to pursue.”
According to Centurion’s website, the Opportunity Assessment Now tool, collects on 10 factors that influence the winning of a contract, including contract requirements, competitive landscape, teaming, management capabilities, technical capabilities, past performance and award tendencies.
The result is a clearer understanding of the likelihood of winning a given opportunity, according to the company.
Several details still need to be worked out as Centurion becomes integrated into Deltek’s GovWin offering. These include how the opportunity databases will be combined, and what the user experience will look like.
“The customer is going to get access to a broader set of capabilities, not less,” Corkery said.
The reasoning behind the Centurion acquisition is consistent with the Deltek strategy that Corkery described to me in an earlier interview at the annual Insights user conference last month.
“More risk is being pushed to contractors. There are more fixed price contracts and more low costs contracts. You have to run your business better,” he said at the time.
The addition of Centurion’s Opportunity Assessment Now tool lines up nicely with that “run your business better” thinking that Corkery talked about.
Going forward, acquisitions will continue to be a part of Deltek’s growth strategy, with a focus on adding capabilities and access to new markets.
The Centurion deal fits squarely in the realm of adding new capabilities, Corkery said.
Deltek’s most recent acquisition was the purchase of Acumen in July, which brought more project management capabilities.
While Centurion was a competitor with Deltek’s GovWin offerings, Corkery said the acquisition isn’t about removing competition, but about adding capabilities for the customer.
“What we are delivering has never been more valuable, and as the market narrows, our customers need more intelligence to pursue the right opportunities,” he said. “This gives our customers the actionable information they need.”
Posted on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM3 comments