Gov. Grants and Contracting

Notes and annotations (in italics) from the vtSDA meeting 7/16/2008

Presenter: Joe Kuklis – President and CEO of GSP Consulting

Presentation on the nuts and bolts of federal grants and contracts.

  • earmarks
  • competitive
  • discretionary
  • procurement

    These are usually annual. Ideas are due in January. It will be 9-14 months before you would see money from an earmark.

    These would be competitive grant applications, like SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) grants.

    Never announced (fix the collapsed bridge in Minnesota).

    These are contracts to supply goods and services to an entity of the government.

    Soliciations are shown in Federal Business Opportuntities (BizOps

    Note that there are bunch of consultants who advertise a front end for, take care when doing a Google search that you actually end up at the government web site. No payment or registration is required to view the solicitations. Also check out the Federal Register.

    Vendors to the government, and grant recipients must be entered in the Central Contracting Registry or CCR. Bitter Experience Department:
    Note this is a multi-day process… be sure to start six or more weeks in advance of the time that you want to submit an application or respond to a solicitation, because you will need to be registered as a requirement of your submission.

    There are 1400 federal grant programs. Somewhere, somebody in the federal government wants to give you money. All you have to do is ask nicely.

    Strength and Needs Analysis


    Messaging — i.e. “how is this going to save $$$?”

    Legislative champions are critical

    Advocacy, how are you advocating.

    Note that the average legislative aide is about 24 years old, and they may have oversight and decision-making power over millions of dollars.

    US DOL Technology Planning Grant

    Other DOL Grants at

    Avoid grants that are “wired”. This is where the bid solicitation is written in some way that only a single company will be able to effective carry out the obligations of the bid. Sound illegal ? This works both ways, you can sometimes receive a “sole source” contract, whereby the contract doesn’t go out to bid because you are the only company capable of performing the work. Isn’t this illegal? In some cases there is a dollar threshold under which the governement entity isn’t required to go out to bid. Sometimes the entity will issue a series of smaller contracts, each one under the threshold, instead of a larger one that would otherwise have to go out to bid.

    Create collateral in advance such as

    White papers.


    Opportunities for presentations:

    Present to the people in DC (relevant subcommittee chairs)

    Present to your district representatives and senators

    Present at a “DC-Day” — usually 1x per year.

    Political considerations

    Get on the approved government procurement schedule, the GSA.

    See their web site at

    Be a subcontractor to a prime contractor.

    Most (all?) large contracts require set-asides for small, minority, women-owned etc. businesses.

    Theare a dollar percentage of the the full contract.

    You can be a sub for Lockheed-Martin!

    Note that a “small business” is less than 500 employees (!)

    Some federal grants require a match.

    The Players

    Program Managers – These are the folks who are responsible for overseeing the actual technical details of the contract or grant. They may be scientists and engineers themselves.

    Contract/Procurement/Grant Managers – These are the people who oversee the nuts and bolts of the adminstration of your grant or contract. Talk to these people when there are questions regarding billing, timing, indirect rates, etc.

    Small Business Liasons

    Prime Contractors

    Peer Companies

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