December 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.

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

December 3, 2020
December 8, 2020
December 10, 2020
Federal Offices of Small Business Programs Offer Contracting Assistance
By Joel Guge, PTAC Advisor at North Carolina State University

The government of the United States realizes the important role that small businesses play in the success of this country's economy.  Of all the agencies that make up the federal government, one of the best opportunities for assistance, and often the one that is most overlooked by small businesses, is an agency's Office of Small Business Programs.

These offices, while going by different names such as Office of Small Business Programs, Office of Small Business, Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization, have the same goal - providing guidance and support for small businesses that are doing business, or wish to do business, with that specific agency. These offices serve as a liaison between the specific agency and small business - helping a small business understand the agency's needs (what that agency purchases), helping with communication between the agency and the contractor, providing training opportunities for contractors, just to name some of the assistance offered. By providing this support and assistance, these offices not only help the small business, but also help the agency successfully fulfill its mission.

Number of the Month:  
Number of the Month:  35 - what is the significance of this number?
Cyber Referenced Solicitations to Begin with DoD Contracting Requirements 

Effective the 30th of November, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) plans to change its auto-award system and DIBBS process to adjust to the new requirement to only issue awards to businesses who have a cyber assessment posted in Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS).  The updated DFARS clause indicates that only certain businesses need to document a score in SPRS (those whose contracts require access to CUI).  DLA's official position on the topic will be published on DIBBS in a statement and will align with the existing DFARS clause.  Any business that is interested in pursuing a DoD contract will need to upload a self-assessment into the SPRS moving forward.

What the North Carolina PTAC will do:
  1. Help businesses read the cyber-related clauses and other instruction included in the solicitations they will bid on so that they know the particular contracting officer's requirements.
  2. Encourage all businesses to go through the cyber self-assessment and post their score in SPRS.  It is good for their cyber hygiene to consider the 110 points included in the assessment and if/when they ever need to have a score in SPRS, they'll be ready.  The requirement to list a score in SPRS does not include a minimum score that must be obtained for award so even businesses with a score of zero can receive an award.  The requirement is simply to post a score in SPRS.
It is possible that each agency will execute slightly differently at first so reviewing each solicitation for additional cyber-related guidance will be important for any company looking to submit a proposal that includes a cyber related condition.
Cybersecurity Contracting Preparations Update 

There are 17 practices in CMMC Level 1 that also map to NIST 800-171 capabilities.  They fall into four general domains: Access Control, Identification and Authentication, Media Protection, Physical Protection, System and Communication Protection, and System and Information Integrity.  Your clients should be implementing these right now.  The CMMC says these practices are "performed" and not just documented, managed, or optimized.  The first four practices are in the Access Control (AC) domain are:
  • AC.1.001 - Limit information system access to authorized users, processes acting on behalf of authorized users, or devices (including other information systems)
  • AC.1.002 - Limit information system access to the types of transactions and functions that authorized users are permitted to execute
  • AC.1.003 -Verify and control/limit connections to and use of external information systems
  • AC.1.004-Control information posted or processed on publicly accessible information systems.

Success Story 
Believers Trucking, LLC
By Joel Guge, PTAC Advisor at North Carolina State University

Etienne Hightower, owner and CEO of a local small business, wanted to grow his trucking company by gaining business and government contracting knowledge. His company, Believers Trucking LLC, located in Wake Forest started business in 2018. While experiencing steady growth, he wanted to expand into government contracting. Mr. Hightower submitted a request for business counseling with the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in November of 2019. After an initial contact with Believers, the SBTDC counselor referred Mr. Hightower to PTAC.

In the preliminary meeting with PTAC, Mr. Hightower and the PTAC Advisor discussed his company, and his goals for government contracting. The PTAC Advisor reviewed the government contracting process, with both state and federal agencies, along with business certifications available to Believers Trucking. The initial discussion included Believers' SAM registration, possible NAICS codes for the business, subcontracting opportunities, and contracting with local and state agencies. Mr. Hightower also had questions concerning working in disaster recovery. The PTAC Advisor discussed the processes to work with disaster recovery in North Carolina, and with FEMA. Mr. Hightower and PTAC discussed the need for, and importance of marketing Believers Trucking to government agencies. PTAC advised the client of the benefits of utilizing a capability statement, since it allows the company to target specific agencies. Another key marketing component, PTAC advised, was building Believers Trucking's Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) profile. PTAC assisted the client to complete this essential profile in order to reach potential contracting agencies and prime contracting businesses looking for Small Business Partners. Also, the PTAC Advisor suggested that Believers Trucking go through the process of being listed in the Disaster Response Registry, which helped increase their profile presence in SAM. The certifications discussion included both HUB, and NCDOT certification programs, along with federal business certifications available to Mr. Hightower.

After the initial meeting, Mr. Hightower decided that he wanted to focus on state and local contracting, in conjunction with the building up of Believers Trucking commercial contracting. All of which would not only provide revenue but would also increase Believers Trucking past performance record. These tasks would support his goal of moving into federal contracting. Mr. Hightower, with assistance from PTAC, completed and submitted his DBE application with NCDOT. Believers Trucking was consequently awarded their DBE certification, in August 2020. Believers Trucking has grown from 5 employees, at their initial contact with PTAC, to currently having 20 employees. These include 15 CDL drivers and 5 administrative positions - expanding from a one-man operation to a key support system which was a vital part of growing his Small Business. Believers Trucking has expanded their services offered, to include administrative, construction support, hauling, janitorial and trucking capabilities. Having recently been awarded a few state contracts, along with entering into Mentor-Protege program contracts, Believers Trucking is truly reaching for and capturing each goal they've set with PTAC. During this growth period, PTAC has also provided additional assistance with Believers capability statement, updating both the SAM registration and DSBS profile, researching appropriate NAICS codes for the additional services, and providing information on subcontracting opportunities.

Number of the Month:  
It has been 35 years since PTAC offices have been assisting small businesses with their government contracting efforts throughout the country.  The North Carolina PTAC program has been in existence for 34 of those years making it one of the original programs in the country.


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