November 2020 - In This Issue:

The PTAC is a business and technology extension program of the UNC System. Our purpose is to generate employment and improve the general economic condition of the state by assisting North Carolina companies, including those eligible for business development programs for local, state and federal government contracts. We provide procurement technical assistance by offering no-fee and confidential counseling on selling your products and/or services to the appropriate local, state or federal government agency.

Interim PTAC Director 
Elizabeth City / Greenville

PTAC Advisor 
Asheville / Cullowhee

PTAC Advisor 
Raleigh / Chapel Hill / Durham

PTAC Advisor 
Fayetteville / Pembroke
PTAC Advisor/Events Coordinator
Hickory / Boone

PTAC Advisor

PTAC Advisor

PTAC Advisor

Supply Chain Advisor

November 10, 2020
November 12, 2020
December 8, 2020
Contracting Assistance Programs
By Robin Livingston, PTAC Advisor at Fayetteville State University

The State of North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) is an excellent resource for small and medium-sized businesses seeking local and state contracting opportunities. The website and registration are user friendly and generally easy to understand. Most entrepreneurs seeking contracting opportunities have their sights set on that big federal contract that will jump start their revenue stream or keep their business afloat.  As I consult with my clients, I remind them that as a smaller business with limited past performance and capabilities there is a high probability that they will not land a large federal contract.  I recommend clients getting started in contracting use IPS when pursuing contracting opportunities.

I find that most of my clients are happy with the Request for Bid (RFB) contracting opportunities I provide them via the IPS website.  Typically, the opportunities are smaller than federal contracting opportunities, but they are much easier to understand and have less requirements.  The opportunities offered on the State of North Carolina IPS website are local, which makes it significantly easier for smaller businesses to provide their products or services.  These types of contracts are opportunities for small and medium-size business to build past performance that will make their company more attractive to Prime Contractors and Federal Government Agencies.

After a business has registered in the electronic Vendor Portal (eVP), they will receive electronic notification of contracting opportunities posted on the State of North Carolina IPS website.
These opportunities are based on commodity codes provided by the registered business during the registration process. Registered businesses can also respond to RFBs electronically through IPS.  Additional information and training are also available on this website.

While we all would like to land that big federal contract, realistically speaking, it is not probable that a small or medium-sized business will be awarded that type of prime contract in the beginning stages of their contracting endeavors.  IPS serves as a viable alternative to those large federal contracts listed on FBO. If you are a small business interested in building past performance through local, state, and subcontracting opportunities, please contact your local PTAC Advisor.
PTAC Trivia Question:  
The Federal HUB Zone Program is designed to help small businesses located in areas with not much economic activity win federal contracts after acquiring the SBA HUB Zone certification.  How many certified federal HUB Zone companies are there currently in the state of North Carolina?

SBA Final Rule 
SBA issued its final rule making changes to its rules on joint ventures, the mentor protégé program, the Section 8(a) program, and much more.  This rule merges the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Mentor Protégé Program and the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program to eliminate confusion and remove unnecessary duplication of functions within SBA.  This rule also eliminates the requirement that 8(a) Participants seeking to be awarded an 8(a) contract as a joint venture submit the joint venture agreement to SBA for review and approval prior to contract award, revises several 8(a) BD program regulations to reduce unnecessary or excessive burdens on 8(a) Participants, and clarifies other related regulatory provisions to eliminate confusion among small businesses and procuring activities.  In addition, and in response to public comment, the rule requires a business concern to recertify its size and/or socioeconomic status for all set aside orders under unrestricted multiple award contracts, unless the contract authorized limited pools of concerns for which size and/or status was required.  DATES: This rule is effective on November 16, 2020, except for § 127.504 which was effective October 16, 2020.

Pentagon Transitioning its COVID-19 Acquisition Task Force to Permanent Office 
By Jared Serbu, Federal News Network
The Joint Acquisition Task Force the Pentagon set up to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic isn't going away, even when the pandemic finally does.  Defense officials have decided to turn it into a permanent assisted acquisition organization to help other federal agencies deal with complex procurement problems.  The department set up the task force earlier this year to serve as the single coordinator for the acquisition support it offered to other agencies during the COVID response. Since then, it's executed more than $3 billion in contracts for other agencies - mostly the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

But senior DoD leaders determined the interagency cooperation function needs to be an enduring capability.  Starting in 2021, the Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) will become the Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell (DA2C), and will be part of the existing Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC).

The cell will continue to support DoD and interagency partners for the COVID-19 crisis and also serve as DoD's first line for acquisition support in the event of future national emergencies.  DoD has long had well-established channels to work with FEMA to support responses to natural disasters.  What it didn't have, until recently, is a centralized organization to build and maintain relationships with other federal agencies who might need assisted acquisition services.

Besides the $3 billion in contracts the JATF helped process for end items like personal protective equipment, it also helped HHS use the new Defense Production Act authorities that department gained under the CARES Act to help build domestic production capacity for critical medical items.

Civilian Agency Contract Spending Reaches Record High in Fiscal 2020 
Courtney Bublé, Government Executive
Civilian agencies' contract spending hit a record high of $228 billion in fiscal 2020, an increase of 17% ($33.5 billion) from 2019.  The surge in spending is mainly due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

The Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Energy departments drove the increase in spending, Bloomberg Government said in a report recently released following the close of the fiscal year on September 30.  Of the $228 billion, 26% or $59.4 billion went to small businesses, a $6.5 billion increase from fiscal 2019. 
HHS, which spent $41.2 billion in fiscal 2020 in contract obligations, accounted for 44% of the $33.5 billion in overall increased civilian contract spending.  The majority of HHS' spending was for vaccines, research, ventilators and other pandemic-related efforts. 

VA's spending in contracts totaled $33.1 billion in fiscal 2020.  The majority of the VA's increase in spending from fiscal 2019 was due to "community care" which could have been driven by...treatment for veterans in their communities for COVID.

As for the Energy Department, its $35.4 billion in contracts predominantly went to two nuclear research labs.  The labs have 'super computersdoing coronavirus research and funding could have also contributed to 'revamping the nuclear arsenal.'
Success Story 
Blashfield Sign Company
By Robin Livingston, PTAC Advisor at Fayetteville State University

The Blashfield Sign Company, Inc. was established in 1986 by Matt Blashfield.  They are a full-service sign company providing professional quality service to the military, city and state government, construction, retail, land development and professional environments agencies in the eastern United States and around the world.  Blashfield Sign Company has received numerous regional and national design and manufacturing awards. They have a professional staff trained and educated in advertising, graphic design, marketing, woodworking, welding, and fabrication. They are also OSHA certified and make preserving our environment a priority.

Matt Blashfield is the Founder and Owner of Blashfield Sign Company, Inc. and has over 35 years' experience manufacturing signs. The company is located in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina and was referred to the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Office by the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) for assistance with government contracting. Blashfield Sign Company became a client of the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and started receiving PTAC services in July 2015.  Since then, Matt and his staff have utilized PTAC for their contracting assistance with registrations and certifications of set-aside programs.  We have identified contracting opportunities at the local, state, and government level for their company.  Blashfield Sign Company has been awarded over 4 million in government contracts to date.  We continue to provide services and make recommendations to create economic growth for Blashfield Sign Company, Inc., and the state of North Carolina.

Blashfield Sign Company, Inc. is a growing small business with a tremendous amount of potential.  They have proven to be one of the premier sign manufacturing companies on the east coast.  The North Carolina PTAC is a viable resource, and we will continue to assist Blashfield Sign Company with their economic growth through local, state, and government contracting opportunities.  Founder and Owner, Matt Blashfield stated, "SBTDC and PTAC is an excellent resource for small and mid-size businesses and have been instrumental in our company's growing success."

For more information on Blashfield Sign Company, Inc., please visit  or on Instagram at BLASHFIELD_SIGNS_INC.

PTAC Trivia Answer:  
There are currently 231 small businesses located in North Carolina with an active federal HUB Zone certification.


5 West Hargett St., Suite 600
Raleigh, NC 27601