By Terry Stroud, SBTDC PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University
One of the most frequent questions I am asked by small business owners is — Where do I find opportunities for government contracting?
At a recent event, I was fortunate to meet and have an interesting discussion with Mr. John Roberts, USDA Forest Service Acquisition Management Group Leader in Asheville, NC. Our discussion lead to Mr. Roberts covering the priority given to small businesses by the US National Park Service and USDA Forest Service. The most interesting part of the discussion was that he was in need of North Carolina-based small businesses to submit for opportunities. He advised that they often have to go out of state because of the lack of North Carolina company submissions. He went further to ask that NC PTAC assist them in finding qualified North Carolina-based businesses, hence, the inspiration for this article. Listed below are some of the key locations they are responsible for in North Carolina.
US National Parks, located throughout the state, include the following:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- Cape Lookout National Seashore
- Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
- Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
- Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
- Moores Creek National Battlefield
- Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
- Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail
- Wright Brothers National Memorial National Parks
US Forest Service locations, located throughout the state, include the:
- Uwharrie National Forests
Contracting opportunities with the USDA Forest Service include three kinds of contracts:
- Construction: Involves the construction, alteration or repair (including excavating and painting) of buildings, structures or other real property.
- Service: Directly engages the time and effort of a contractor whose primary purpose is to perform an identifiable task.
- Supply: Furnishing of a commodity, product or equipment. This also includes the manufacture, fabrication or processing of raw material into a finished product, and may also include procurement of raw materials.
Contracting opportunities with the US National Parks include:
- National Park Concessions: Food, lodging, tours, whitewater rafting, boating, and many other recreational activities and amenities in more than 100 national parks are managed by private businesses under contract to the National Park Service. The services provided by more than 600 “concessioners,” gross more than $1 billion every year and provide jobs for more than 25,000 people during peak season.
- Contracting and Procurement: National parks have buildings to construct, roads to pave, wastewater treatment plants to operate, and leaky roofs to repair. NPS offices purchase furniture, vehicles, office equipment and a host of other products. The National Park Service issues all bids and requests for proposals through the federal government’s electronic business portals.
Additionally, there are many micro-purchase opportunities available. Mr. Roberts advised that one of the issues preventing many companies from accepting the available micro purchase opportunities is that the companies are not set up to accept credit cards as a form of payment. This situation can easily be solved. There is no reason to allow something as simple as setting up a PayPal account for your business to accept CC payments to prevent you from participating in the opportunities available.
If you have an interest in the opportunities available with these agencies in NC, please contact your local SBTDC NC PTAC at www.sbtdc.org/programs/ptac/contact/.