Catapult scores GSA's sizable small-biz deal

The General Services Administration awarded a sizable set-aside contract for small businesses yesterday that many owners believe is too big for 8(a) firms.

GSA Information Technology Infrastructure Technology Global Operations (GITGO) aims to merge GSA's three major services ? the Federal Technology Service, the Federal Supply Service and the Public Buildings Service ? as GSA's reorganization plan dictates. IT infrastructure operations must now work agencywide.

Catapult Technology won the $200 million contract, which is for one year and four option years, according to GSA. The company is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business on the Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services Governmentwide Acquisition Contract, a GWAC for small 8(a) firms.
Catapult Technology could not be reached for comment.

Many companies qualified to compete for the contract passed on the opportunity, believing that GSA asked for more than they could offer. Despite the contract's size, GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said small-business owners had to believe it was within their grasp to deliver on the order.

"Rather than looking at it as something that is too big," Doan said in September 2006, "the minority business community needs to say, 'Our time has come.'"

The contract also caught Capitol Hill's attention. In October 2006, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), then chairwoman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and now its ranking member, asked GSA to further narrow the field of candidates to businesses certified in Historically Underutilized Business Zones. Doan said no. In a letter, she wrote that she believed the candidate field matched what GSA's marketing research determined as the best option.

In a statement today, Snowe said she still believes GSA missed out on benefiting HUBZone businesses.

"GSA's decision to award a single order displaced multiple incumbent small businesses, and I believe this opportunity should have gone to the economically distressed areas ? that need it the most," she said. "Instead, weaknesses in the process may have allowed large businesses to capture this opportunity."

Snowe said she hopes GSA's move to encourage small business contracting will echo in other departments' contracting offices. The government has failed to meet its goals related to sending contracts to small businesses.

Matthew Weigelt is a reporter with Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Federal Computer Week.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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