Colleen Burns | PCR, SBA Area V (El Paso, TX)

meet the experts Jun 18, 2018

Small Business Success Tips Podcast (episode 11)

Summary: Colleen Burns discusses the different contracting roles at agencies, how small businesses must be proactively building relationships, promoting their qualifications and researching opportunities, working with PCRs and specialists to open more doors within federal agencies and the importance of continuing education.

Guest Bio: Colleen Burns is Area-wide Procurement Center Representative for the SBA's Area 5. Based in El Paso, Texas, Colleen provides oversight and review over federal agencies in El Paso, Odessa, Lubbock TX; Cannon, Holloman & parts of ALB NM and Denver CO. She manages complete portfolios of large Prime contractors working with federal government to ensure reporting in eSRS and compliance with small business program

In Colorado, she supports Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation, as well as, the VA, GSA, SBA, and Fort Carson. In New Mexico, Colleen supports Cannon Air Force Base, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Holloman Air Force Base, and the Albuquerque VA Medical Center. In Texas, she supports Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, the VA's El Paso Healthcare System, the Army's Mission and Installation Contracting Command, and the VA's William Beaumont Medical Center. 

El Paso Inc, calls Colleen Burns "a force to be reckoned with when it comes to ensuring that military installations, federal agencies and contractors give a required share of work to small businesses in El Paso and southern New Mexico."

Her past experience includes a "top-secret post at the Pentagon" as chief of contracting for the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, or REF. The REF’s mission was to make sure troops in Iraq and Afghanistan had quick access to the newest military and private-sector equipment and emerging technology.

In this episode, Colleen Burns discusses: 

  • her role as 'a champion for the underdog' promoting small businesses to federal agencies
  • how she builds relationship between the small business specialists in each of the 25 – 30 federal agencies she is responsible
  • PCR operational plans, using market research and J & As (Justification and Approval)

  • why businesses must update DSBS every 30-90 days showing past performance and references, and demonstrating your business can actually do the requirement

  • the importance of actively responding to Sources Sought, or RFIs, so that PCRs can get contracts set aside for small businesses
  • why capability statements must be 1-2 pages only, written for the benefit of the contracting officers, concise, easy to read with clearly stated critical details (NAICS, contact info, certifications) and without distracting design or unnecessary expense
  • how small business specialists are the gateway to the organization
  • why businesses should proactively introduce themselves to small business specialists or ask PCRs for assistance, if necessary
  • monthly events hosted by select small business specialists allowing companies to present their capability briefings to real contracting officers (Fort Bliss and Fort Hood)
  • how PCRs and specialists can advise small businesses about un-publicized opportunities available on various subcontracting sub-nets
  • how to stay abreast of all the regulation changes with free training from Score,  PTACs, and Small Business Development Centers
  • the benefits of university continuing education courses in acquisition and small business, and professional organizations which offer certified education units in acquisition

  • the importance of fully understanding contracts, the contract clauses, and obligations 

Listen to the Full Episode

Host:  Neil McDonnell is an experienced small business owner and seasoned entrepreneur. An Army veteran and the founder HUBZone Chamber of Commerce, Neil is a government contracting subject expert and HUBZone advocate for media and conferences.

His podcast series offers key information and tips to help small businesses gain insight into government agencies and large prime contractors and develop strategies to effectively present services.



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