Region 3 Advocate Convenes a Meeting of the Minds

By Elmo Rinaldi, Region 3 Advocate

In December, I had the opportunity to hold my first roundtable in Washington, D.C. Jerry Pierce, President of The Interamerica Group, offered his office and conference room for the meeting. Arriving early with the Senior Advisor to the Chief Counsel, Mitch Tyner, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jerry about his life story, which was quite amazing. A college football star at Dartmouth College, still holding the all-time record for tackles, to missionary work in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, to Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, to Assistant Secretary of Administration under George Bush and Jack Kemp, through further political committees and roles to his current successful company and small business. What a story Jerry has and he had even more to tell us from this newest chapter in his life.

Joining us in our roundtable was Jerry’s Director of Operations and Business Strategies, Kellen Dunning, and six other minority small business owners lead by Larry McKenney, President of Capitol Radiology (who started a landscaping business in D.C. and grew it to a $ 40 Million company.)

Rounding out the participants were Aaron Manaigo, Managing Partner of Global Political Solutions; Jorge Lazano, CEO and President of Condortech Services; Fernando Torres, President of Nanotech Computers; Jacob Daniels, President of Sonoran Policy Group; and Jackie Krick, ECU Communications President.

While sitting and listening, this passionate and enthusiastic group spoke, in turn, around the table, and it became apparent that they had several similar concerns, which was partly due to dealing with GSA bids and contracts.

The united focus was the lack of winning bids. They reported that large business are obtaining the vast majority of contracts. They believed that they and other small businesses could jumpstart the economy for the current administration and the country the fastest if small business could get 20-25 percent of all contracts offered by the federal government. They repeated to us almost in unison: “We are the experts. We do it faster, better and cheaper than large companies.”

This, in turn, led the Quality versus Best Value Act, an Executive Order from the 1990’s, which the group said prevents small business from getting work and contracts.

It was wonderful to see hard-working, passionate small business people sharing their frustrations and submitting a calculated resolution to take back to the Office of Advocacy.

Elmo Rinaldi is the Office of Advocacy’s regional advocate representing Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our Regional Advocates in the 10 SBA regions stand ready to hear from you about small business concerns and to help you level the playing field for small businesses in your state.