Matchmaking heats up for $3B PROTECH contract

The matchmaking is starting to heat up for NOAA's $3 billion PROTECH contract, which is designed for large teams that can cover a broad swath of services. Are you ready to join the dance?

The matchmaking portion of a recent Deltek event that detailed the NOAA’s $3 billion PROTECH contract proved to be quite popular.

The conference set aside a portion of time for companies to meet one-on-one with other companies to see if they clicked enough to develop teaming agreements. As it turns out, contractors couldn't get enough.

“We walked out of there with probably 40 new business cards, and that’s going to help us with teaming arrangements for the PROTECH contract,” said Brittany Burkhart, capture manager at n-Link Corp.

PROTECH will be a full and open competition, and a request for proposals is estimated by Deltek to be released in October 2014.

N-Link is a women-owned small business that focuses on high-end enterprise IT solutions, and was one of eleven companies lined up against the wall at the event, waiting for a chance to network with other companies and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

“We’ve reached out to everyone who we met at the PROTECH event, and we’ve sent them a gap analysis,” Burkhart said. N-Link has been filling out non-disclosure agreements, and over the next couple of weeks, the company will meet with those potential teammates to discuss how to move forward, she said.

Companies are particularly interested in teaming because at the Deltek event, NOAA director Mitchel Ross said that his agency is putting a lot of value on teaming arrangements.

The domain areas – ocean, weather, fish, satellite technology and enterprise/infrastructure services – are large, so it is important that NOAA knows what each teammate's expertise areas are, said Jeffrey Ondris, eastern region director at Constellation West, another one of the companies who attended the event.

The company specializes in cybersecurity, IT engineering, emerging tech and most importantly for PROTECH, geospatial information systems.

Expertise within the contract domains is something Constellation West is focused on. “That’s going to be important for us as we pull together our team to go after NOAA PROTECH as a whole as well as be prepared for the individual task orders that might be released,” Ondris said.

The company is looking to team with both large and small contractors as partners, said Constellation West president and CEO Lisa Wolford. Small businesses are a great fit for teaming, she said, “We would position them for success as a member of the team.”

With its specialty in geospatial information systems, Constellation West is most interested in the weather and satellite services domains, and has a history of doing such work as a prime contractor for SATCOM, Wolford said. As for other domains, the company is currently “determining what the right position is for us as a company, and what the right teammates are,” Wolford said.

Past performance is just as important to NOAA as teaming is, which works in Integrated Systems Solutions’ favor, another one of the contractors at the event. ISS specializes in program management, engineering and technical services, and IT infrastructure services, and got its start supporting NOAA's satellite programs over five years ago, said president Steve James.

PROTECH is the ideal target for a company like ISS who has experience supporting NOAA offices such as the National Ocean Service, National Weather Service, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, and others, James said.

Combined with the company’s service-disabled veteran-owned small business status, PROTECH is a great fit, he said.

Strategy-wise, ISS’s approach will be partner-centric, and the company has been working with its team for over a year to be able to succeed in all five of the PROTECH domains, James said.

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