Lani MacRae | Small Business Program Manager, Dept of Energy

Small Business Success Tips Podcast (episode 18)

Summary: Lani MacRae provides a general overview to DOE and then offers specific tips and superb advice to help small businesses develop capability statements that grab the attention of contracting officers.  

Guest Bio:  Lani MacRae is the Small Business Program Manager with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)  where she helps small businesses navigate available resources and opportunities with the DOE. She is based in Golden, Colorado, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) the only federal lab dedicated to research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Lani has been with the DOE since 1991 and has a well-deserved reputation for being a strong resource and ally to small businesses in the federal marketplace.

U.S. Department of Energy has a decentralized procurement process for buying goods and services which is carried out by the contracting offices primarily at field locations. The Headquarters Procurement Services office buys for many of the program elements and offices at headquarters. 

In this episode, Lani MacRae explains: 

  • how research is the real focus at the Department of Energy, innovations and inventions, rather than simply energy
  • that 85% of the budget is for 17 national labs tackling critical scientific challenges and large scale, complex research and development challenges, such as building a cyclotron and major clean up initiatives, like from the Manhattan Project 
  • the importance of understanding the recent trends and changes in GSA schedules, best in class vehicles, and subcontracting
  • how DOE contract officers conduct market research, the typical '6 second review' and 'the Z pattern' read of small business capability statements
  • the 6 required capability statements elements: CAGE code, DUNS number, NAICS, socioeconomic categories, core competencies and past performance (relevant to target contract); plus payment vehicles (credit/purchase cards), GSA schedule numbers, federal contract vehicles
  • branding considerations: consistency across websites, business cards, letterhead, etc.

  • Dynamic visual impressions: positive imagery in photos

  • design traps ie colors that disappear when printed in B&W, cluttered content and other distractions


Host:  Neil McDonnell is an experienced small business owner and seasoned entrepreneur. An Army veteran, president of SV Mac Pack, and the founder of the 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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