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July 2021 - Delving Into the Public Sector

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

There are many free resources to help you better understand selling to the Federal Government. We will review some of the primary resources in detail and, at the end of this article, I have listed additional ones to dig into for more information.

Delving into Public Sector Are you considering pursuing federal sales as a vertical market? Or are you new to the selling to federal government and wondering how you can better understand this important vertical? If so, this issue of Delving into Public Sector is for you. There are many free resources to help you better understand selling to the Federal Government. We will review some of the primary resources in detail and, at the end of this article, I have listed additional ones to dig into for more information.

MAS Office Hours In the past year the General Services Administration (GSA) has started MAS (Multiple Award Schedule) Office Hours. These are monthly webinars that cover different topics each month with a chance to ask MAS experts questions on each call. You can register for all of the MAS Office Hours and you will also receive a copy of the presentation each month. They have also started putting some of the recordings on the GSA YouTube Channel.

GSA (General Services Administration) YouTube channel Everyone is on YouTube now including GSA. They have their own channel where they post a lot of different recordings including the afore mentioned MAS Office Hours. So, now there is a library of trainings you have access to on your own time. QPC (Quality Partnership Council) Per the GSA website, the Quality Partnership Council (QPC) “is the GSA Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center’s (IWAC) Supplier and Industry Engagement Forum. QPC exists to foster a common understanding between customer, contractor, and GSA. Council communication, education and collaborative efforts are focused on continuous improvement of processes, policies, and service to customers and each other.” The QPC is for any supplier that holds a GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contract in the Furniture and Furnishings category. The QPC has a board that consists of representation from industry for the Furniture and Furnishing Schedules and GSA. Board members remain in their position for a four-year period. The current industry board members are:

Furniture: Suzanne Renz, Haworth Director of Government Sales and Carol Espinosa, Principal Freedom Interiors Furniture Services: Allyn Richert, President Trade products and Dimitri Mortsakis, Director of Sales and Marketing CRS Furnishing and Floor Coverings: David Maynes, Director of Government Markets Atlas and Randa Thayer, VP of Government and Education Strategic Accounts Southeast Shaw Indus- tries, Inc.

In addition to the industry board members, there are 8 GSA board members. Per the QPC website, “These GSA board members are committed to partnering with industry in engaging internal and external stakeholders as needed to ensure the best possible outcomes to problem resolution and improvement efforts, planning educational webinars to address member needs and communicate key initiatives and operational issues, and incorporating voice of the customer to QPC discussions and efforts.” I encourage you to register to be a member of the QPC and then attend the meetings. Currently they are doing two virtual meetings per year so there is no excuse for not participating! You will learn and have the opportunity to meet new people at GSA, at agencies and in the industry.

Below are some nuggets of information that were discussed at the most recent QPC meeting.

  • Be on the look out for some BPAs. One from Region 9/10 and one from Department of Education

  • Public Building Services (PBS) center for workplace strategy is looking at what the workplace looks like post covid for government agencies, and they are looking at a “home office in a box” concept for those employees who will be working from home or hybrid, to ensure they have good, ergonomic furniture to work from

  • The QPC recently started spotlighting small businesses and the two this meeting were Seating Concepts and DATUM

  • The Air Force was a featured speaker and they spoke to the success of the Seating BPA, the ability for the Air Force to use the NAVY BPA for items not under an Air Force BPA and the upcoming systems and modular BPA which has an anticipated award date in 2022

  • Catalog Management spoke to the new Common Catalog Platform (CCP) which will replace Schedule Input Program (SIPS) which is about a year away - I know many manufacturers are very excited about this and cannot wait for this to happen

  • There were also some great breakouts at this QPC: Data and Marketing, Contractor Teaming Agreements, MAS Consolidation update, Office relocation and reconfiguration, MAS contract administration, and Flooring

If you would like to review the slides or listen to the recording you can access everything at the above link for the QPC under Event resources.

Clubhouse Lastly, I would like to invite all of you to join us on Clubhouse. There is a Contract Interiors Club which hosts rooms with different topics throughout the week and I host a room called Demystifying Public Sector every other Wednesday where we dig into Federal as well as State/Local/Education and Cooperative. Reach out to me or connect with me on LinkedIn to get more information.

Some other resources for Federal knowledge:

LinkedIn: GSA

Summit Insight:

(Note: Judy’s book on Government Contracting is excellent!!)

Bloomberg Government: Great resource and has a lot of FREE webinars you can attend,

Deltek: Great resource and has a lot of FREE webinars you can attend,

About Michelle Warren

Michelle Warren is President of Catalyst Consulting Group, a firm specializing in providing strategic solutions to the commercial furniture industry to enhance companies' sales and positioning within their industry and distribution. Michelle has been in the commercial furniture industry for over 25 years with experience on both the dealer and manufacturer side of the industry. She has experience at the EVP, VP and National Sales Manager level for large and small manufacturers.


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