Size/Status Protests & Appeals

Late last month, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Hearings & Appeals (OHA) issued a decision adhering to its prior line of cases discussing when present effect will be given to an indication of interest (IOI) between a small business and its potential large business acquirer for size determination purposes.  As with prior cases, OHA conducts a fact-intensive analysis to determine whether the parties had an agreement in principle at the time the small business submits its bid on a federal procurement.  The case, Size Appeal of Enhanced Vision Systems Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5978, offers some helpful tips on how to avoid an affiliation finding when negotiating an IOI and still pursuing small business set-aside opportunities.

Background

On October 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Acquisition Operations – Strategic Acquisition Center (VA) issued a small business set-aside RFP for in-home video magnification closed-circuit televisions.  The solicitation had a 1,250 employee size standard.  Proposals were due on December 12, 2017.  Enhanced Vision Systems, Inc. (EVS) timely submitted its proposal and was subsequently acquired by Freedom Scientific, Inc., a subsidiary of VFO Holdings, BV.  The contracting officer notified bidders that EVS was the apparent successful offeror.  In response, FedBiz IT Solutions LLC (FedBiz), an unsuccessful offeror, challenged the awardee’s size arguing that EVS had already entered into negotiations at the time of its initial offer, and therefore should be considered affiliated with VFO, the acquiring large business.  The Area Office sustained the protest, finding EVS and VFO affiliated, and therefore exceeded the employee size standard for the procurement.


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I recently authored an article for Strategic Consulting Solutions, Inc. (SCS) GovCon Advisor – a monthly news source for the government contracts industry. The article outlines the requirements of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP), focusing on the Mentor-Protégé Agreement (MPA) and the recent Hendall case. As I point out, “The

According to American Express OPEN, “For the first time in history, the U.S. government has awarded 5 percent of federal government contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses—a big achievement for both the government and the approximately 9.4 million women-owned small businesses across the country.” On Thursday, March 17, I have the honor of presenting

Earlier this year, Geoff Orazem founded Eastern Foundry, an incubator for government contracting companies in Washington, D.C. The veteran-owned business will leverage professional service providers, coaches, mentors, and BD support teams to provide structured and personal coaching for small businesses seeking government contracts.

We had a great time meeting with Geoff and his clients in

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) are often protested concerning their eligibility in the small-business program. The VA generally has a great deal of discretion as to the factors it considers in determining eligibility. But can the VA rule a company ineligible as an SDVOSB without any notice or opportunity to address a specific reason for ineligibility? A recent case in the Court of Federal Claims, AmBuild Company, LLC v. United States, No. 14-786C (Oct. 10, 2014), provided an answer to this question.

AmBuild was the apparent lowest-cost bidder on a VA solicitation set-aside for SDVOSBs. The second lowest bidder, Welch Construction Inc., filed a protest challenging AmBuild’s SDVOSB status. Welch alleged that AmBuild was not controlled by a service-disabled veteran due to common ownership or management with other firms and did not meet the size requirements for a SDVOSB. The protest was considered by both the SBA and the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE), and each rejected Welch’s contentions.


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On October 20, Law360 published an article that I authored titled “A Large Loophole in the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.” In the article, I analyze a contractor’s ability to file an ostensible subcontractor size protest under a task order award, as addressed in two recent cases (Strata-G Solutions and U.S. Information Technologies Corp.) before the Small

We are dusting off our boots and heading to Tennessee. We’ll be at the SCS Annual Government Contracting Seminar in Oak Ridge, TN on October 28.

The conference is designed specifically for government contractors and will cover various topics relevant to the industry including compliance and proposal writing.

Our presentation, “Bid Protests and SBA Size/Status Protests: Filing and Defense Strategies” will include the following components:


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