I always look forward to the SBA 8(a) Annual Conference because it brings so many like-minded people together for two things: collaboration and securing contracts.
This Annual Conference on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 brought a new venue. The beautiful Hotel Irvine hosted the conference this year and they sure did not disappoint. The morning keynote address was delivered by SBA District Director, Adalberto Quijada, who touched on the current climate of the SBA and the different certifications they offer (8a, women owned, veteran owned, and service disabled veteran owned).
The morning session consisted of topics related to:
- How to Do Business With the Department of General Services
- The Mentor-Protégé Program
- Audits and Compliance Strategies
- Developing a Contract Winning Strategy
The highlight of the conference by far was the Business Matchmaking. This was where suppliers and/or contractors may schedule “one-on-one” meetings with buyers from the Federal and State level, introduce their services, and discuss potential contract opportunities.
We had the privilege of securing appointments with Caltrans, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Reyes Construction. This is what we refer to as “planting the seed” or building relationships with such agencies.
We were also approached by Michael Schwartz with the SBA and are thankful that he took the time to commend us on the functionality of our business cards. He explained how he uses our business cards as an example to other organizations because as mentioned in his own words, “I was able to understand fully what your company does within the first 8 seconds of reading your card.”
In closing, many new connections were established, strengthened, and maintained. It was refreshing to also rekindle old relationships with colleagues that I have not seen in a couple of years such as the wonderful Rosemarie “Rosee” Culbertson, CEO of Material Acquisition Services (MAS).