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SBA Revamps 8(a) Program

The Small Business Administration this week finalized regulations that bring admission requirements for the 8(a) program in line with Justice Department guidelines.

The new rules revise the social disadvantage standard for qualifying for the program. That move is expected to open the historically minority-dominated program to more white women entrepreneurs.

The new rules would expand the mentor-protégé program that encourages private-sector relationships, put a cap on sole-source contracts and allow small businesses to form joint ventures to pursue large government contracts.

SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez said the new regulations will "strengthen and improve the 8(a) program, [which has] proven its value time and again."

In fiscal 1997, the 8(a) program steered $6.4 billion in federal contracts to small, disadvantaged businesses. More than 6,000 firms participate in the program.

Dell Pushes Enterprise Envelope

The federal government will be a key customer for Dell Computer Corp.'s new line of high-end servers and workstations, according to Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of the Round Rock, Texas, computer maker.

"The U.S. government is Dell's largest customer," Dell said June 30. "We expect this will be quite an important product for us in the government."

The new products are part of Dell's continuing push into the $24 billion enterprise market, which it entered in 1996. Dell's new high-end products include workstations starting at less than $4,000 and servers starting at $9,600.

Dell also introduced new services this week. They include a server installation program, systems training and hardware and software customization to be provided by Wang Global, Billerica, Mass., and Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Pa.

EDS Takes Over Neighborhood

Don't count on Electronic Data Systems Corp. moving out of the Washington region anytime soon. The company signed papers in mid-June to build a new 200,000 square-foot building in Herndon, Va. - right next door to its existing offices. The Plano, Texas company will keep its existing office space in Herndon and use the new building for expansion. Construction is slated to begin this summer and should be completed next May.

EDS employs 114,000 workers, 4,100 of which are in the Washington region, company officials said.

Vredenburg Makes Investment

After three years of partnering on a host of projects, Vredenburg of Reston, Va., made a minority investment this week in Lanham, Md.-based Highland Technologies.

Highland, which will remain an independent company, will still work with other systems integrators and resellers. But Vredenburg's investment gives it exclusive rights to Highland's HighView software in the law enforcement and declassification markets. The amount of the minority investment was not disclosed.

Vredenburg provides a wide range of technical, financial and engineering services to government and commercial customers; Highland develops document imaging and database software products.

The two companies jointly developed a product for handling electronic Freedom of Information Act requests.

No Summer Doldrums at Vista

June was a busy month for Vista Information Technologies Inc. of McLean, Va. The company won a contract to run a telecommunications relay service center in Miami for MCI Communications Corp. and then hired 200 employees to staff the center. The MCI contract is potentially worth $25 million.

Started last year by former DynCorp executive Jim Duggan, Vista already has more than 1,000 employees in 24 locations. A recent acquisition brought Vista revenues to $85 million, company officials said.

Everybody's a Winner on ODIN

The competition is just beginning for the winners of NASA's Outsourcing Desktop Initiative (ODIN) contract. All seven companies that bid on the contract to manage desktop computers for NASA and other agencies received an award last month.

The first task orders are expected to come from NASA with work beginning Oct. 1, industry sources said. ODIN could be worth $5 billion over nine years.

Competing for that pot are: Boeing Co. of Seattle; Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; DynCorp of Reston, Va.; FDC Technologies Inc. of Bethesda, Md.; OAO Corp. of Greenbelt, Md.; RMS Information Systems of Vienna, Va.; and Wang Government Services of McLean, Va.

Federal R&D Gets a Boost

Federal funding for science and technology projects would double over the next 12 years under a bill introduced by Sens. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

The Federal Research Investment Act is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Commerce Committee this month.

The bill (S 2217) seeks to hike R&D funding from the current level of $35.7 billion to $68 billion by fiscal 2011.

The lawmakers said increased funding for research and development projects is necessary to remain competitive with countries such as Germany and Japan. Since 1965, funding has dropped from 2.2 percent of the gross domestic product to less than 1 percent today, they said.

Channeling Its Efforts

The government unit of Computer Associates International Inc., Islandia, N.Y., is following its chief executive officer's mandate to sell more products through the sales channel.

"To keep pace with the growth Wall Street expects, you need the help of the indirect channel," said CA's Joseph Quigg, senior vice president of the government unit in Reston, Va. "Obviously, we're looking to expand the number of feet on the street selling Computer Associates' products."

CEO Charles Wang expects 50 percent of the company's revenues to come from resellers by 2000, up from today's 20 percent.

Computer Associates reported sales of $4.7 billion for the year ended March 31, a 17 percent increase from a year ago.

Three Firms Battle for INS Work

Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. will compete for about $750 million in work over the next five years under a contract to modernize Immigration and Naturalization Service computer systems.

This week's award is part of the INS Service Technology Alliance Resources (STARS) project, a $1.2 billion effort.

NASA Web Site Rockets Ahead

NASA tops the charts with the most popular federal government Web site, according to a measurement of audience size conducted in May by RelevantKnowledge of Atlanta.

Agency Site Unique
Visitors
1 NASA nasa.gov 1.8 million
2 Library of Congress loc.gov 1.2 million
3 National Institutes of Health nih.gov 1.2 million
4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noaa.gov 1.1 million
5 U.S. Postal Service usps.gov 1.0 million
6 Education Department ed.gov 845,000
7 Treasury Department ustreas.gov 662,000
8 Census Bureau census.gov 559,000
9 National Park Service nps.gov 549,000
10 U.S. Geological Survey usgs.gov 549,000
11 National Technical Information Service fedworld.gov 519,000
12 Office of Personnel Management opm.gov 469,000
13 House of Representatives house.gov 423,000
14 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov 422,000
15 White House whitehouse.gov 399,000
16 General Services Administration gsa.gov 363,000
17 Transportation Department dot.gov 335,000
18 Securities and Exchange Commission sec.gov 331,000
19 FBI fbi.gov 297,000
20 Environmental Protection Agency epa.gov 287,000


Copyright 1998 Post-Newsweek Business Information, Inc. All rights reserved
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