…and the Award for Outstanding Vendor Communication
goes to DHS ICE!

As we draw closer this week to Thanksgiving, Government Technology & Services Coalition and ICE gave those attending the inaugural GTSC ICE Day 2017 one more thing to be thankful for this year.  Throughout my 34-year acquisition career, I have attended many conferences promising to provide “open communication” between industry and those government executives involved in the federal acquisition process.  However, this event was a far cry from the dry-stuffing, and overcooked meat of Thanksgivings past…it was like dining at a gourmet meal: 

1.       Decision Makers & Stakeholders in the same room: To start, GTSC brought the right people to the conversation by including ICE’s key decision makers and stakeholders to discuss their priorities and challenges both short and long-term. 

2.       Mission Message supported by Actions Underway: Secondly, ICE leadership more than delivered when it came to engaging industry with meaningful dialogue.  Keynote speaker, Thomas Homan, Acting Director for ICE brought the entire room to their feet in a standing ovation as he highlighted the powerful ICE mission and his passion and commitment was awe inspiring.    

a)   Major ICE initiatives were discussed in detail by their respective program owners

b)  Timelines were clearly articulated allowing all to understand which are slated for FY18 and which would wait until 2019.

c)   Tech enabling ICE Mission: A panel discussion on how technology is enabling the ICE mission was a compelling example of an effectively cross-matrixed team.  The panel included the Chief of Acquisition for the IT Division along with his Section Chief to interact with the Deputy Chief Technology Officer. 

Hearing the unique perspectives of each of these players presented a clear roadmap to how ICE is using IT to better achieve the mission and the role each office plays in achieving successful outcomes. 

Although the entire session exuded the definition of “communication,” it was perhaps best emphasized by the Director of Acquisition and Head of Contracting Activity, Bill Weinberg, who spoke about ICE wanting to meet with industry in one-on-one meetings.  Now before you start thinking ‘Oh, right, I’ve heard that one before!’ he asked the room, “How many of you here today have I met with?”  To my amazement nearly 80% of the room raised their hands!  The remaining 20% were scrambling to copy down his email address. 

How many federal officials holding key roles in the acquisition process would get that response if they asked the same question?  But shouldn’t they, if they want industry to understand what they are trying to buy?  Promoting open communication between government and industry is something to be grateful for-- anytime of the year!

P.S. Oh, and one more thing to be thankful for...annual events ;)

About the Author:

Katherine Valltos is Vice President Acquisition for Evermay Consulting Group, and brings over 34 years of federal acquisition experience both as an operational contracting officer and a senior leader within the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Acquisition Management’s Directorate, a full-service acquisition center serving not only the DOI but all other federal agencies. Ms. Valltos co-founded the Interior’s GovWorks organization which later merged into the Office of the Secretary, Interior Business Center.  Inter-Agency contracting provided Ms. Valltos the unique opportunity to reach across governmental boundaries to serve a diverse and dynamic client-base of over 50 federal agencies both DoD and civilian.

For more than a decade, Evermay Consulting Group has provided advisory services to firms looking to enhance their understanding of DHS and other agencies' missions. With services now including Capture and Proposal, Evermay is uniquely poised to offer clients holistic insight from across the breadth of the procurement system, from mission, to direction and how opportunities play into the whole. Our team is comprised of former government acquisition and industry program leaders who have not only lived the mission, but have been agents of change from within the government procurement system itself.  Evermay’s unbiased dedication to mission and mentorship has made them actively-sought advisors who daily help meet the challenges of homeland protection. www.evermayconsulting.com

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