Mary Bruce Joins JetCo Federal as Logistics Manager

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (December 17, 2021) JetCo Federal, a Grand Rapids-based supply chain management and logistics company, welcomed a new team member this month.

Mary Bruce

Mary Bruce

Mary Bruce joins the JetCo Federal team as a Logistics Manager. In this role, she coordinates logistics for deliveries, manages broker relationships, and supports our quality management systems.

Mary brings with her over 20 years of management, logistics, and freight brokerage experience. In her most recent position, Mary was a broker for a nationally recognized truckload carrier. She is a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) and has held several positions in logistics and operations management.

To learn more about the JetCo Federal team, please visit our leadership page.

JetCo Federal President Talks Defense Contracting on The Michigan Opportunity Podcast

JetCo Federal’s President, Sue Tellier, chats with host, Ed Clemente, about small business, defense contracting, and more on The Michigan Opportunity podcast. Listen to the full podcast (episode 39) on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) website.

JetCo Federal President to Moderate Webinar on Pathways to Government Procurement Success

JetCo Federal’s President, Sue Tellier, will moderate a Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) webinar titled “Government Procurement – Pathways to Success” on Monday, December 13 at 2 PM EST.

According to WIPP, to succeed in government contracting, it takes a well-laid plan, focus, patience, and resilience. The webinar will feature four women business owners as they share their story of trials and triumphs on the journey to success using WOSB, 8a, and HUBZone programs. 

To find more information and register for the event, visit WIPP’s website. 

Paul Laidler Joins JetCo Federal as Director of Operations

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (October 28, 2021) JetCo Federal, a Grand Rapids-based supply chain management and logistics company, welcomed a new team member this month.

Paul Laidler

Paul Laidler joins the JetCo Federal team as Director of Operations. In this role, he leads strategic planning, business development, and management of the company’s day-to-day operations. 

Laidler brings with him extensive experience in the logistics, supply chain, and manufacturing industries. In his most recent position, he served as assistant plant manager and process engineer for a contract manufacturer of machined, painted, and illuminated components for the aerospace, military, and automotive industries.

Laidler is a graduate of Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management.

To learn more about the JetCo Federal team, please visit our leadership page.

JetCo Federal President Elected to Women Impacting Public Policy Board of Directors

Grand Rapids, MICH (Oct 27, 2021) — Sue (Schweim) Tellier, Owner and President of Grand Rapids-based JetCo Federal, a supply chain management and logistics company, was recently elected as the new Leadership Advisory Council Vice Chair and a Member of the Board for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs—strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations.

(Schweim) Tellier will assume her positions on WIPP’s board starting January 1 of 2022 and will work with fellow board members to execute and deliver strategic objectives for the organization.

“WIPP is widely respected for their advocacy on behalf of women-owned small businesses, and their knowledge of programs that support women entrepreneurs,” said (Schweim) Tellier. “The business owners and leaders I have met through WIPP are already lifelong friends – they are women who generously share their time and talent. I’m honored to serve with them, and I’m excited to further WIPP’s mission.”

Kathie Fuce-Hobohm of Space, Inc. (also a Michigan business owner), Pamela O’Rourke of Icon Information Consultants, LaJuanna Russell of Business Management Associates, and Andrea Tsakanikas of CrewFacilities.com join (Schweim) Tellier as newly elected WIPP board members.

For more information about Women Impacting Public Policy, please visit www.wipp.org/.

Courtney Fairchild from Global Services

Woman-Owned Business Spotlight: Global Services

In this edition of our woman-owned small business spotlight series, we feature Global Services, headed by President and CEO, Courtney Fairchild. In 23 years within the arena of federal proposals and GSA Schedules, Global Services has empowered clients with over 3,000 contract awards valuing more than 20 billion dollars.

Global Services Logo

Author’s note: Global Services doesn’t just empower clients – they generously share knowledge that builds stronger compliance systems, which enable scale for sales. Also, they’re fun.

Courtney Fairchild shares her story with us:

Can you give us some background on your start with Global Services?

I have been with Global Services since our inception, and I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase the company seventeen years ago. Since the beginning, I worked in and developed every aspect of our business allowing it to morph along the way guided by client demand. For me, the only logical step was to make it my own!

What is your proudest moment for the company?

My proudest moment for our company was crossing the $1,000,000 revenue threshold in our early years. I remembered a statistic in American Express Small Business Reports that less than 3% of Women-Owned Businesses had revenue in excess of $1,000,000 and I was thrilled to be a part of this elite group.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with Global Services?

Over seven years ago, just as I had poised Global Services to truly grow, it became clear to me that my business partner was not interested in taking this journey or risk any further.  Believing in myself, and what I had created over time, I decided to purchase the other half of our company. Since that time, I have been able to lead Global Services to over 66% revenue growth.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Embrace your fear. A lot of people think entrepreneurship is about not being afraid, but the truth is that it is more about acknowledging the fear. As you take risks, it is essential that you recognize, analyze, and experience your fear in order to be able to push past it.

Do you have any suggestions on resources that women-owned small businesses should use?

Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) is a strong resource for all WOSBs who want to grow their businesses. WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs—strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. I am honored to serve on the WIPP Board of Directors.

Another author’s note: Courtney is a badass WOSB advocate. She demonstrates support of women entrepreneurs routinely – with her actions and her guidance. I met Courtney through WIPP. She was welcoming, and she’s encouraged me to increase my involvement with the organization.

To learn more about Global Services, please visit https://www.globalservicesinc.com/.

Breaking Down OTAs in Government Contracting

Other Transaction Authority (OTA), also referred to as Other Transactions (OTs), are procurement methods other than contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. They allow flexible business arrangements to obtain research and development to support technology advancement or to quickly develop a prototype outside of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). In other words, OTAs are a way for small businesses to work with the government without dealing with red tape.

OTA Details

OTA prototype contracts can be up to $250 million in value and can be fixed-price, expenditure-based, or hybrid. Additionally, they:

  • Must use a nontraditional defense contractor,
  • Have all participants be small businesses,
  • Or, have at least a third of its total cost paid by parties other than the government.

Agencies must be authorized by Congress to use OTs and government Contracting Officers must have Agreement Officer authority to award OTs. The following federal agencies currently have Congressional authorization for OTs, but there are specific OT requirements, limitations, and restrictions for each agency:

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Human Health Services (HHS)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO)
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Why OTAs?

OTAs have become a core element of the Department of Defense’s approach to technology and acquisition. DoD OTA obligations increased 75% in fiscal year 2019 and have increased 712% since fiscal year 2015. Why? Congress has been giving the Department of Defense OTAs to allow the Pentagon to take more risks in acquisition and fail before money is spent building a whole program.

Overall, OTAs are becoming more popular in government contracting and an increase in these opportunities could occur in the coming years.

Where can I find OTAs or Research and Development (R&D) opportunities?

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) R&D uses the Federal Contract Opportunities website at SAM.gov to post their opportunities using Broad Agency Announcements (BAA). More information on how to find these opportunities can be found on the DLA website.

Federal AI Efforts and NDAA 2021

On January 1, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of fiscal year 2021 (NDAA 2021) was passed. Among the information in NDAA 2021 were several legislative provisions that will shape the government’s approach to artificial intelligence (AI) over the next few years. Three of the key AI provisions in NDAA 2021 include the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) establishing a voluntary risk management framework; the launching of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative; and the Department of Defense (DoD) assessing its ability to acquire AI responsibly and ethically.

NIST Voluntary Risk Management Framework

NDAA 2021 directs NIST to establish a voluntary risk management framework for the use of AI and assessing the trustworthiness of AI systems. It also instructs NIST to define measurable standards within that framework. Finally, NDAA 2021 also expands NIST’s mission to include:

  • Advancing collaborative frameworks, standards, and guidelines for AI;
  • Supporting the development of a risk-mitigation framework for AI systems;
  • And supporting the development of technical standards and guidelines to promote trustworthy AI systems.

National Artificial Intelligence Initiative

NDAA 2021 called for the creation of a government-wide AI initiative to coordinate AI research and development. The framework for this includes a new National AI Initiative Office based in the White House, under which the new Interagency AI Committee and external National AI Advisory Committee will be based. This new framework will ensure the U.S. is a leader in the development and use of trustworthy AI systems.

Department of Defense & Acquiring AI Responsibly

Lastly, NDAA 2021 called for the Secretary of Defense to determine if the DoD has the ability and expertise to ensure AI technology acquired is ethically and responsibly developed. Additionally, it provided the DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) the authority to acquire AI technologies in support of defense missions.

Overall, NDAA 2021 laid out several provisions that will shape the government’s approach to AI over the next few years. AI technology has recently come into focus and the new efforts from NDAA 2021 show that it will continue to be an area of focus for the government. To learn more about government contracting opportunities, contact our team.

Tech Transfer: Bridging the Gap Between the Abstract and Commercial Application

Ask most people to describe how their favorite app or gadget came to be, and you’ll get a version of the garage origin story, where a visionary genius and her team of misfits work all night, fueled by passion and coffee, to bring their idea to life. Sheer force of will and a lucky investor meeting is all it takes to make it, as long as you have the guts. A version like this story is told in the startup myths of tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook: daring startups that happened to make it big.

Reality, of course, never quite measures up to the hype.

Ideas come to market in a variety of different ways – genius entrepreneur included – but much of the innovation we interact with day-to-day started as a question in an institution. Some are abstract, “How do we measure the temperature of a star?” while some are very specific, “How do we create a camera that fits in a small spacecraft?” And some, as in the case of both of those questions, end up having applications beyond their original purpose. It turns out that measuring star temperature at a distance works well for infrared thermometers and small cameras are great for phones as well as spacecraft.

Bridging the gap between the abstract and specialized questions, and their commercial application is a process known as tech transfer. In addition to thermometers and cameras, tech transfer has also brought us the internet, LASIK, cordless vacuums, and solar power.

The tech transfer process is typically implemented in three parts: design, prototype, and commercialization. In most institutions and government agencies, there is a formalized process for at least some part of that chain. Researchers may have to provide practical justification for budgets, or there may be a liaison office specifically seeking commercial technology applications. The results can be licensing agreements, joint ventures, or even new companies capitalized by public-private partnerships or direct investment.

The practical implications of this process are not just for large organizations on the cutting edges of their field. The Federal government, as well as many state agencies, have established funding and goals to create a pipeline in (and out) for innovative products.

Through programs like SBIR and STTR, they solicit best-in-class technology to solve problems ranging from reducing single-use plastics to better missile telemetry. In 2018, the federal government spent over 71 billion dollars at universities alone, a significant portion of which passed through spin-offs, joint ventures, or other partnerships.

Medium and small businesses, working directly or through an experienced prime contractor, can leverage their specific expertise to identify these tech transfer opportunities and create new markets. Although many of these tech transfer stories start out in a garage, the long term effects allow for endless possibilities. If you would like to learn more about working with an experienced prime contractor, contact us.

3 Tips to Build Lasting Customer Relations

The key to establishing a relationship with our customers is to have a solid understanding of who they are. First, I do research on what their company offers, their products and/or services, and the industries they serve. This helps me understand what JetCo Federal can offer to each of our complex and unique customers. Also, I like to know what their mission statements and goals are so that I can align with them on a personal and professional level. My goal is always to build rapport quickly so that they see that we are responsive and attentive to their needs. There are three tips that I recommend for building productive customer relations:

  1. Treat others the way that you want to be treated. This is one of our core values, and we are intentional with how we communicate with our customers. I always try to put myself in their shoes before I respond via email, phone, or in person. In return they respect me, the company I represent, and ultimately, they appreciate the services that we offer their company.
  2. Smile through the phone. Display an infectious joy that they can feel over the phone, via email, and in person. Even when there are issues that need to be resolved, the goal is to always flood them with kindness and help in any productive way possible.
  3. Be Intentional. Put an effort into learning about your customers. Ask them questions about their family, weekend, vacations, etc. This allows for connections to develop, which ultimately helps with each interaction.

Customer Relations in the Government Contracting Industry

Keeping strong customer relations benefits our current business, as well as new business opportunities in the future.  As a customer service representative and accounts coordinator for JetCo Federal, my goal is to always be responsive, helpful, and productive. It is crucial to be open to learning more about our current order fulfillment processes, our current customers, and their products. In turn, productive customer service relations helps our sales, marketing, and operations teams achieve their goals in helping our customers win. Want to connect with our customer service? Contact our team today.