Event Details

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Member Appreciation Event

  • Dates: 20 – 20 Jan, 2016

It's that time of the year again! Time for the board and our corporate partners to reach out and thank you, the members of our great chapter. This will be our third annual event so you would assume this is old hat for us. Think again! We treat this event like a proposal, and we will not just clean up some of the past performance and parade it for you like it was all new. No, sir! This year we will be thanking you, as we should; showering you with gifts, as you deserve; feeding you with great food, as you expect; all while we introduce to you a motivational and inspiring rendition of PropTalks.

PropTalks, modeled after the famous TED Talks, will have various members giving us short proposal words of wisdom or "war stories". On this night, you will hear about how members like you, or you yourself, grew, learned, overcame, or simply survived a proposal. Use these talks as motivation for your next effort or relay them to your team so everyone will learn. Brilliant!


5:30 – Registration/Networking (cash bar will be open)
6:00 – APMP-NCA Opening Remarks and Announcements/Introduction of New Board
6:15 – PROPTalk #1: Tara Rethore, Where You Start Matters
6:20 – Raffle #1
7:00 – PROPTalk #2: Chris Simmons, Stop Wasting Time on Proposals!
7:05 – Raffle #2
7:30 – PROPTalk #3: Kevin A. Switaj, From PhD to Proposals
7:35 – Raffle #3
7:40 – Awards Presentation
8:00 – PROPTalk #4: Mike Parkinson Capture Management/Sales Hacks
8:05 – Raffle #4
8:30 – PROPTalk #5: David Stearman, Getting to "Yes": Ask for What You Want!
8:35 – Raffle #5
8:45 – Raffle #6
9:00 – Conclusion 


6:15 PM PROPTalk #1: Tara Rethore, Where You Start Matters
Tara Rethore HeadhostGood strategy execution starts with what could be, not what is or what will be. Both are important. Yet where you start really does matter – including in the way you use strategy tools.  The same can be said for proposals – or BD or capture. Do you read that RFP from beginning to end? Or do you flip to the last page and work forward from there? Perhaps you start in the middle. When you shape the relationship (as part of developing business) do you first focus on capabilities or anticipate needs? Both are valuable; yet, we’d argue that this choice – where you start – can dramatically change the outcomes. So let’s talk!

CEO of
M. Beacon Enterprises, Tara Rethore works with organizations and leaders to develop realistic business strategies and to break them down into the key actions that allow them to succeed. Tara has successfully done everything she teaches, both as a senior executive at Fortune 500 corporations and as a consultant. Using discipline, humor, and honesty, she delivers engaging content and immediately actionable learning. She earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and an AB cum laude. She can also be found commenting on business strategy, execution, and results in Strategy for RealTM and on Twitter.

7:00 PM PROPTalk #2: Chris Simmons, Stop Wasting Time on Proposals!

Chris SimmonsTime has been one of the most talked about topics since the ancient Egyptians established the 24-hour day a long time ago. It is no coincidence that when asked about the most significant issues and challenges proposal professionals face, the responses most often mentioned are related to time. “Not enough time to respond”…. “No respect for proposal schedule deadlines”…. “Limited resources that increase time pressures,” and the list goes on, and on, and on. Unfortunately there isn’t enough time to describe all the ways you can better manage your proposal — I have time management challenges of my own and so do you! In the interest of time, this talk highlights some of the high-impact recommendations (and actions you can take) from an award-winning NCA eZine article that are guaranteed to help you get more out of your next proposal effort in less time.

Chris Simmons, CP APMP Fellow, founder and principal of Rainmakerz Consulting is a frequent APMP speaker who has a reputation for passionate, entertaining, practical, and content-rich sessions. A former APMP CNCA Board of Directors and an active Mentor in the Mentor/Protégé program, Chris has an MBA in Information Technology from University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

7:30 PM PROPTalk #3: Kevin A. Switaj, From PhD to Proposals

Kevin Swita HeadshotAs a Director of Proposal Development, people are always surprised to learn that I have a PhD in British history. I am often asked, “How did you get into proposals?” In my experience, the tools required to be a strong proposal professional are the same ones that a student gains from a humanities/liberal arts education. In my talk, I will discuss the skills central to being a historian that I have found useful in proposal development and management. These include strong communication skills (oral and written), strategic and innovative thinking, the ability to analyze data and information, and miscellaneous “soft skills.” I will conclude by discussing what proposal professionals should look for when hiring people with humanities/ liberal arts degrees. 

Kevin A. Swita, PhD CF APMP is the Director of Proposal Development for LongView International Technology Solutions, a mid-sized Government contractor based in Reston, VA. He earned his Doctorate in British History from Indiana University in 2009 upon completion of his dissertation, “Power in Forgetting: Memory and the Slave Trade in Victorian Britain.” He also has degrees in history from Villanova University (Master’s) and Rutgers University (Bachelor’s). His article on this topic, “From Historian to Proposal Professional: Applying the Skills of a Liberal Arts Education to Proposal Development,” was published in the Winter 2015 edition of Executive Summary.

8:00 PM PROPTalk #4: Mike Parkinson Capture Management/Sales Hacks
Mike ParkinsonLearn exactly why people buy your solution. Use this insight to make new opportunities, influence the RFP and win more proposals. Know the three reasons your current and future clients decide that they need a solution and the three reasons they choose your solution over your competitors’. All highly successful companies use these insights to eclipse their competition. 

Mike Parkinson, CPP APMP Fellow, is an internationally recognized visual communication and proposal expert, multi-published author and professional trainer. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company, a premier proposal creative services firm. Mike has spearheaded multi-billion dollar projects and helped his clients win billions of dollars. Mike’s training, Billion Dollar Graphics book and Graphic Cheat Sheet help companies win more proposals while saving money and time. 

8:30 PM PROPTalk #5: David Stearman, Getting to "Yes": Ask for What You Want!
David StearmanProposal professionals agree: Federal Government RFPs often are confusing, contradictory, or downright unintelligible. The impact on contractors responding to such RFPs is substantial: We have to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to decode the RFP, and then adjusting our proposals accordingly. 

The Q&A process therefore has become an increasingly important element of effective proposal management. You’d think that this process would be relatively simple: Identify the problems in the RFP, draft questions that address those problems, submit our questions, and then wait for the answers. Getting the answers we want, however, is not as straightforward as it may appear. This talk will present a concise, effective methodology for developing RFP questions that will give contractors a greater chance of getting the answers we want and need to make our proposals complete, compliant, and compelling—and, ultimately, successful. Use these principles to get to “Yes!” 

David Stearman, founder and principal of Proposal Strategy and Development Consulting LLC, is a strategic thought leader with more than 16 years of demonstrated success in the Government contracting world. His hands-on experience includes capture and proposal strategy development; proposal process assessment and improvement; and proposal writing, editing, coordination, and management. He has led/coached/mentored proposal teams and staffs in winning contracts–from small task orders to multi-billion dollar IDIQs–from Federal customers such as the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies.