December | 2019
Your Quarterly News & Updates
New Year Resolutions for Government Contractors
by Patty Cox
During the winter in Montana, business owners often take time to develop a plan for the coming year. Consider these resolutions as you strategize and grow your government sales plan for the New Year.
Create or enhance your company’s Capability Statement.

This important tool for communicating your core competencies is a great way to introduce your product or services to government decision makers. A one-page snapshot of your business tells the story of your company and highlights your past performance. For capability statement resources and for tips on how to craft a capability statement check out Gloria Larkin’s article!

Learn something new.

Adaptability is key to success in as a contractor. Recently, moved to Opportunities. Take some time to explore the new format and filters. is the name of the new, modernized system. Even though it says "Beta", it is currently authoritative for Assistance Listings. Wage Determinations, and Contract Opportunities. Find helpful videos on GSA’s YouTube Channel. Your Montana PTAC Counselor can tell you how to tap into other online learning opportunities such as the webinars.
Plan for change.

Are your small business certifications in compliance? Do you know when your SAM registration, or small business certification, such as HUBZone or SDVOSB will expire? If you plan to make any material changes in your company’s corporate structure, ownership percentages, or location in the coming year check with your Montana PTAC counselor, first. Major business changes may impact your government contract compliance. We can advise you on the steps and requirements to help you plan for changes in your business.  

Get Organized.

Do you have five years’ worth of SAM printouts and old agreements piled up around your office? Are your passwords written on a million sticky notes? Take some time organize paper and electronic files. There is no magic bullet on choosing how to organize files—the structure will depend on your business. It is a good idea to use categories to structure your filing systems.
Small steps in planning keep small businesses competitive in the government marketplace. Check in with your local counselor to see how PTAC can help you stay on track in 2020. 
Wildfire Contracting 2020
by John Schneeberger
Great Falls based Action Plumbing Plus nominated for the 2020 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Veteran Owned Business of the Year award.
by Lillian Sunwall
This deserving candidate was nominated by the team at Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA). The company is a skilled trade firm specializing in plumbing contracting and is owned by Steven Hix. Steve is a disabled veteran and has owned the company since 2003. Steve served in the U.S. Marine Corp and has also served in the Army Reserves, Navy Reserves, and Montana Air National Guard.
The firm employs 12 people – including two apprentices – paying nearly $270,000 in annual wages. Historically, the company has focused its revenue on major construction projects and government contracts with federal, state and local agencies across Montana.

PTAC at GFDA has been assisting Action Plumbing with its government contracting efforts, primarily sub-contract bids, since 2009. Action has been subscribing to PTAC bidmatch services to stay informed of opportunities and in 2016, the company won two prime contracts, one with the USDA Forest Service for $247,807 and another for $1.5 million from the National Park Service! In 2017, PTAC assisted the company with its Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) verification through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE). The SDVOSB verification can be beneficial when competing for federal set-aside opportunities. 

PTAC then referred Action Plumbing Plus to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at GFDA for general business consultation and cash flow/profitability training, helping to increase the company’s profitability 150% and helped the company grow to its current level. 
Congratulations on being nominated for the 2020 U.S. SBA Veteran Owned Business of the Year award! 
Obsolete System Used by Wildland Fire Suppression Contractors to be Replaced in March
by Phillip Luebke
Companies that have agreements with government agencies to provide support for wildland fire suppression or all-hazard incidents will have a new system to learn before the 2020 fire season. The Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS), which has been in use since 2003, is being replaced by the Interagency Resource Ordering Capability (IROC).

While ROSS is primarily used by government personnel, it does feature a web interface that permits fire contractors to log in and update their availability on their own (“self-status”). In addition to indicating whether they are available for immediate dispatch or are unable to respond, fire contractors in the Northern Rockies can choose how far they are willing to travel to respond to incidents.

The options currently in ROSS include the following:
·          Local: Available within the dispatch center area
·          GACC: Available within the Northern Rockies Geographic Area
·          Nationally: Available nationwide
Receipts-Based Small Business Size Standards Adjust for Inflation
by Phillip Luebke
Earlier this year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) increased the receipts-based business size standards for 518 industries . These adjustments were made to account for inflation that has occurred since the last adjustment in 2014. The SBA will continue to review size standards every five years, as mandated by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

As a reminder, size standards are the dividing line between small businesses and “other than small businesses.” When you update your entity registration in the System for Award Management (SAM), one of the many things you are attesting to is your company’s size, which determines your eligibility for small business contracting programs.
How to Search for Federal Contract Opportunities in
by Rosalind Dix is a new website that will be housing several government sites under one website. GSA has started the process of moving websites over to beta.sam with the most recent move being Now that has been decommissioned, government contractors need to go to to search for opportunities to bid on. 
The Montana PTAC has created a tutorial on how to use the search function and filters on the new site.  
New Cybersecurity Certification Requirements Coming in 2020
by Christy Cummings Dawson
January 9th - Billings
Location: Big Sky Economic Development
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
January 16th - Billings
Location: Big Sky Economic Development
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
January 23rd - Billings
Location: Big Sky Economic Development
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm