Procurement Technical Assistance Center and COVID-19: How it Relates to Government Contractors

Posted on 4/14/2020 1:43:51 PM

The Procurement Technical Assistance Program was established to expand the number of business capable of participating in government contracts. The program is administered by the Defense Logistics Agency’s Office of Small Business in cooperation with states and local governments and nonprofit organizations. The IUP Procurement Technical Assistance Program has participated in the program since 1991 and has assisted hundreds of Western Pennsylvania firms through the procurement process. The IUP PTAC is a unit in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology’s Management Services Group.

Under the program, the IUP PTAC helps businesses pursue and perform under contracts with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state and local governments, and government prime contractors. Ron Moreau, the IUP PTAC program director, provides outreach to firms in Allegheny, Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties.  

With the pandemic issues facing our country, many changes to pre-existing guidelines and rules are taking place on a daily basis. Agencies are urging and allowing contractor employees to telework, quarantine restrictions within contractor firms could lead to excusable delays, equitable adjustments are being considered to protect the health and safety of employees, performance periods are being extended, and contract modifications are being made that relate to costs, delivery schedules, terms and conditions, and personnel. It is most important that any federal contractor currently holding or performing on a government contract should reach out to their contracting officer with any concerns or adjustments that may be needed.

Under the President’s declaration, agencies are being encouraged to leverage the authority found in the Stafford Act to increase the micropurchase thresholds both domestically from $10,000 to $20,000 and outside the US to $30,000.  Under the Act, the simplified acquisition threshold can also be raised from $250,000 to $750,000 for domestic purchases. The increased thresholds are designed to reduce the “red tape” between contractors and the government while allowing a rapid response to the demands the agencies are facing.

With so many businesses shut down, those who are still open are now looking to the government for contracting opportunities. The IUP PTAC has been engaged with regional business and has responded to many questions from simple registrations processes to how to get on the list for disaster relief procurements. We have seen an uptick in new client enrollments who are willing and able to provide product and services during these trying times. The SBA HUBZone program, which encompasses all of Indiana County, has seen specific changes as well to allow for flexibility and functionality improvements for certified firms. The IUP PTAC is open for business (remotely) and continues to field phone calls and emails on all procurement subjects A–Z.

The federal government realizes that small businesses are the backbone of communities across the nation and will continue to support and count on their quality products and expertise while performing on government contracts. The IUP PTAC is pleased to be part of that overall mission.

For assistance, call 724-357-7824 or email rfmoreau@iup.edu.

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology