News | Oct. 20, 2020

DLA Energy maximizes small business opportunities

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Energy is helping small businesses succeed awarding $1.2 billion in contracts in fiscal 2020.

For eight consecutive years, DLA Energy has exceeded its small business goals awarding on average 28% of contracts to small firms.

“Small businesses generate more than 47% of the U.S. economy, 65% of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness,” said the Director of DLA Energy Office of Small Business Programs Gregory Thevenin. “A successful year is not a number. It’s about how well we educate small firms on how to do business to DLA Energy and work with our acquisition professionals and senior leaders to emphasize the significance of small businesses.” 

According to the Small Business Administration, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. These firms have fewer than 500 employees and a maximum of $38.5 million in average annual receipts. 

Thevenin credits DLA Energy's cadre of acquisition professionals for being the key to continually driving small business participation.

“It’s a team effort,” Thevenin said. “The DLA Energy Office of Small Business Programs manages the program, but it’s our contracting officers, contract specialists, policy analysts who make things happen.”

Joshua Catlin, deputy director of DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Products, said DLA Energy’s success with small business contracts begins with commitment to meeting small business goals at all levels of the organization.

“From the initial market research and acquisition planning stages of the procurement, continuing into negotiations and through award, we are committed to maximizing opportunities for small business participation,” Catlin said.

Catlin outlined how his team analyzes contract trends to identify opportunities for small business involvement. 

“For our domestic programs, we determine where small businesses competed during the previous procurement cycle and conduct market research to identify potential new suppliers,” he said. “We use that analysis to identify and set-aside requirements where small businesses can compete most effectively.”

To further support small businesses, Catlin and his team hold pre-proposal conferences to orient both new and historical offerors to the latest programs and solicitations.

DLA’s Office of Small Business Programs helps small businesses work with DLA informing them on what DLA buys and the required DLA business applications. There are educational events, including a monthly webinar Doing Business with DLA, to provide technical procurement guidance. Small businesses are encouraged to find upcoming opportunities through DLA's Small Business Outreach Calendar where they can discover matchmaking events, attend classes or connect with other small businesses in similar industries.

One of the many Procurement Technical Assistant Centers across the nation can assist businesses with registration in systems such as the System for Award Management, identification of contract opportunities, help in understanding requirements and in preparing and submitting bids. The program is administered by DLA's Office of Small Business in cooperation with states, local governments and nonprofit organizations.