GSA awards contract vehicle to 8(a) companies

More than 400 companies have won spots on the General Services Administration's new Section 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services contract, known as Stars.

With a ceiling of $15 billion over seven years and eight distinct functional areas, Stars reflects the success of its predecessor contract, the Federal Acquisition Services Technology contract, or Fast, GSA officials said.

Over its seven-year life, Fast was used to award about $2 billion in contracts to nearly 200 small businesses.

Stars has seven more functional areas than Fast. They are:

  • Customer computer programming services

  • Computer systems design services

  • Computer facilities management services

  • Data processing, hosting and related services

  • Other computer related services

  • Internet publishing and broadcasting

  • All other information services

  • Wired telecommunications carriers.

  • Like Fast, the new contract is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal designed to offer 8(a) businesses a vehicle to win work with federal agencies.

    Throughout the contract's three-year period and two two-year options, the companies will compete with each other for task orders of up to $3 million each within their functional areas. GSA awarded contracts to 434 companies.

    For one of the winning companies, Stars increases the efficiency of governmentwide acquisition contracts.

    "Because the rates have already been negotiated, the projects will accelerate without the traditional paperwork," said Ola Bamgbose, president and chief executive officer of e-Management Inc. of Silver Spring, Md.

    e-Management became an 8(a) last year and has $4 million in annual revenue, Bamgbose said. Its largest customer is the Energy Department. The company won a spot on Stars under the computer systems and design services functional area.

    Another benefit of Stars, Bamgbose said, "is that we can offer a variety of contracts for our customers to select from, so it is easier for them to choose, and we can invest more of our time in providing better services."

    Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc. of McLean, Va., also won Stars, despite its graduation from 8(a) status a few weeks before winning the contract, said Nora Taylor, vice president of contracts. Arrowhead won a spot in four functional areas: computer systems design services, computer facilities management services, other computer related service and wired telecommunication carriers.

    Arrowhead primarily provides the Defense Department with satellite and wireless telecommunication work, but it plans to use Stars to grow "the computer related and IT side of our business," Taylor said.

    Stars has received largely favorable reviews. "The expectations are that 8(a) Stars will eclipse its predecessors as far as the number of contracts. ? It gives us additional options and flexibility," said Woodie Sharpless, vice president of business development for Technical and Management Resources Inc.

    Before Stars, TMR of Fairfax, Va., primarily provided the Justice and Defense departments with IT solutions. With its inclusion under four functional areas, Sharpless said Stars will help TMR continue support of those customers. TMR can bid for task orders under the programming, systems design, facilities management and other computer-related services functional areas.

    While Stars does not prevent TMR and Arrowhead from competing against smaller 8(a) businesses, Taylor praised the contract for its potential to help 8(a) businesses that are not as big as Arrowhead and are "just getting their bearings."

    Both e-Management and Arrowhead have already put the new contract to use. According to Bamgbose, e-Management will feature 8(a) Stars as a "premier contracting offer," at an IT conference this week. Arrowhead pitched the vehicle to customers as early as two days after the award announcement.

    "We didn't waste any time," Taylor said.

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