govmates, a free teaming/matchmaking platform for government contractors hosted their first Patriot Institute of Procurement on June 6, 2018 at GDIT’s facility in northern Virginia. With a maxed out capacity, a speaker list full of industry experts, and plenty of snacks, caffeine, and beer – I was super excited for this event and we at Richter & Company were proud sponsors. Today’s audience was full of senior executives at SDVOSBs so all the topics and conversations were focused on providing information in that forum. Let’s talk about some of the key things we learned while in attendance! It’s a really exciting time to be in government contracting! Between learning about new contracting options (OTAs anyone?), a healthy and strong environment for mergers & acquisitions, and tons of upcoming opportunities all across the government in FY19 – I left feeling incredibly energized. New Contracting Options – of course OTAs are the “new”, cool thing (check our blog for a quick lesson on what they are!) so it was great to hear from an expert. Stephen Rodriguez, of One Defense, mentioned DOD has built a chip size atomic clock, jet pack, and hover bike using OTAs. How cool is that? He also mentioned that even with increased use, there are is a lot of uncertainty on how and when to use OTAs from both the customer and contractor side of things. Should be interesting to see how this procurement method evolves in the next few years. Will there be more government oversight and red tape or will OTAs evolve into sophisticated procurement streams? They’re not new as we found out, but could there be potential for them to disrupt the marketplace the coming decade? Strong Environment for M&A – In a presentation by KippsdeSanto Managing Director Marc Marlin, we were presented with promising information that the current market is looking good and strong for M&A activity. Of course we’ve seen a lot of the big guys moving around recently – Leidos & Lockheed Martin IS&GS, Northrop Grumman & Orbital ATK, and GDIT & CSRA. We also learned a few tricks to looking attractive as a company if you’re looking to get bought. If you have at least 75% prime obligations and 75% of your obligations are in Full & Open competitions – you are sale-able! I had no idea about this basic rule of thumb, so it was definitely interesting to learn. Learning about the risk profiles was eye-opening, and helps us hone in on competitive profiles in our field even more. Who are the acquisition targets for the next cycle? Who are the buyers? Tons of Opportunities in FY19 – The incredibly smart ladies Lisa Shea Mundt and Amber Hart at AOC Key Solutions put together what we can expect to see across the federal government through FY19. Did you know the FY18 has $130B STILL LEFT to spend? It will likely push to FY19, which totals a projected $730B total for contractors! How is the acquisition lifecycle going to impact small businesses, large businesses, M&A activity with this possible pipeline of funding? The key buzzwords for FY19 focus on efficiency, transparency, IT modernization and cloud. There are tons of opportunities coming out. One sleeper agency most people forget – CENSUS! Census 2020 is coming and soon, so definitely take a look at where your company may be able to provide some services. This was a surprise! Wow, definitely makes sense given the timing, and now we can advise clients about smart positioning for bidding in that agency.