In this interview with Lisa King, Administrator of Contracts and Small Business, we discuss Kirlin’s role in working with federal and state governments to increase business and stimulate economic growth; and the resulting opportunities for subcontractors. Lisa’s overarching responsibility is the manager of the small business program. Her core responsibilities include the review and understanding of contracts, as well as interpreting contracts to identify Kirlin’s responsibilities. Lisa helps to establish goals within the small business program. She also volunteers with the SBA to help bring government and industry together and foster understanding between the government and construction industry.
Kirlin’s Overview of Subcontractor Opportunities.
Kirlin’s participation in Federal contracts with the Department of Defense, offers subcontracting opportunity for Small Business concerns, further stimulating economic growth across the United States. That effort includes meeting and exceeding our goals regarding sales and revenue opportunities for small businesses subcontractors. Our success in working with subcontractors helps ensure future contracting opportunities – tying our financial rewards very closely with subcontractors. Because of these commitments, subcontractors play a vital role in Kirlin’s business. We strive to develop new business relationships with large and small subcontractors, minority businesses, as well as service disabled and disadvantaged firms.
Whether we are the prime contractor (which means we bid on and win a contract directly from a government agency); or Kirlin is the first- tier sub to a large prime contractor who holds the government contract; there are several ways Kirlin supports small business participation in our contracts:
- The core support system is the development of Subcontractor Participation Plans and Goals. Federal contracts have small business participation goals associated with them. Kirlin’s achievements as the prime contractor or first-tier sub are reported to Congress. These results are directly tied to the Small Business goals of our primary government customer, the Department of Defense. Subcontracting Plan goals are a percentage of the total value of the contract itself – with additional goals for individual social-economic categories. To increase the ability for Small Business subcontractors to participate in our contracts, Kirlin breaks down larger scopes of work into smaller skill-specific opportunities such as the supply of piping and components, flooring, roofing, electrical work, and other items, specific to individual projects.
- Kirlin also encourages Small Business participation in Federal contracting, by participating in the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Mentor Protégé Programs. The SBA’s All Small and 8(a) Mentor Protégé programs allow Kirlin to Joint Venture with Small Businesses. These businesses would not be able to participate on Federal contracts without Kirlin’s help. Mentoring is one of several ways Kirlin ensures the success of Small Business subcontractors in federal and state contracting programs. The Mentor Protégé programs allow Kirlin to develop strategic partnerships that help qualified Small Business contractors perform optimally.
Kirlin is required to assist contractors as we participate in SBA’s Mentor Protégé programs. One form of assistance is business and operational guidance to determine what it is that a subcontractor needs to increase its win percentage – both with Kirlin, the Federal government and with various commercial contracting opportunities. Kirlin also provides business development support to subcontractors, helping them target specific categories of business that are relevant to their expertise. Often, our assistance my address general business issues. For example, we make sure subcontractors know how to get bonding, or we provide them with technical support. We help subcontractors by identifying what they need to do to participate in the both the federal and state arenas. Kirlin is a strategic teaming resource, assisting small subcontractors to expand their performance capabilities – the benefit of which is passed on to our customers.
- Outreach and Networking is not only a strategic means of identifying new subcontractors to participate on our contracts, but it’s also an integral part of demonstrating “good faith” in Kirlin’s commitment to Small Business. We are active in various activities to communicate the opportunities that apply to small businesses. These activities may include conducting an event at Kirlin Headquarters; participating in matchmaking where we meet one-on-one with Small Businesses; or speaking at events focused on Small Businesses.
Expanding Opportunities for Subcontractors.
Kirlin’s commitment to small business and specifically to the SBA encourages and enables the growth of subcontractors. Some of our small business partners have obtained multi-year construction contracts valued in the millions, that without Kirlin’s help, they would not have previously acquired. Multi-year contracts represent long-term sustainable revenue for the small business community. Kirlin has been instrumental in helping small businesses transition from SBA’s 8A-qualified firms to the All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program. The joint venture relationships from the Mentor Protégé program expands opportunities for Kirlin to help other small businesses, who can now participate in the contracts resulting from this beneficial program.