WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Alyha Khan

A simple message to contractors: Do your homework

Do you homework and then do some more homework. And forget the PowerPoint slide show.

That's the best way to bring something of value to your customers, according to a leading CIO whose agency spends billions each year on IT.

Steven Cooper, CIO of the Federal Aviation Administation’s Air Traffic Organization, said he has found it to be “extremely valuable” when industry representatives have done some preparation before they walk in the door.


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Cooper was asked his opinion on the subject March 1 at an event hosted by the Association of Management Consulting Firms.

When an industry representative can say “'We’ve given some thought about how we’d like to help you' – that creates an entirely different dialogue,” he told the audience.

He jokingly said he is no longer patient enough to sit through a 50-slide PowerPoint presentation. “I used to be pretty polite,” Cooper said. “But that’s not going to develop the relationship.”

Cooper encouraged industry members to do at least some homework so that when they meet with the government they can present solutions.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Mar 02, 2011 at 7:23 PM


Reader Comments

Fri, Mar 11, 2011 Frustrated SB

while I might not be so harsh - I have wondered whether anyone measures what some of these people/jobs accomplish. As a small business person we find - no answered/returned calls, no follow up, no information when we inquire about opportunities, and then being lied to when you finally do reach someone. Relationships matter? Heck yeah and if you don't know someone going in, you definitely have an hell of an uphill battle trying to develop a relationship when the people who could broker it won't.

Thu, Mar 10, 2011 Guy Timberlake Columbia, MD

In addition to not being relevant to the article, the previous comment by reader Henry Dolce sounds like someone NOT seeking business with government agencies any longer. In an industry where relationships are absolutely essential, I'm certain many of the acquisition professionals out there appreciate having their profession referred to as "the dumping ground for incompetent employees..." Guy Timberlake The American Small Business Coalition

Thu, Mar 3, 2011 Henry Dolce Bronxville, NY

The reality is that the majority of contracting officers are in their positons because they could not attain advancement in their chosen field of enterprise. Contracting and acquisitions has become the dumping ground for incompetent employees, particularly in the Federal government. COs are notoriously ill-informed about the requirements of their own agencies and they rarely have a clue about their own specifications or the FARS.

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