Speaker Series:  How to Win: Insights into Government Proposal Evaluation (May 2017)

How to Win: Insights into Government Proposal Evaluation

Date: May 24, 2017, 5:30 PM

Westin Tysons Corner, VA

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For our May speaker series, the APMP-NCA chapter is pleased to present a full panel of current and previous Federal Government proposal evaluators. These panelists will provide answers to the proposal evaluation questions you have been dying to ask! 

The proposal evaluation criteria listed in Section M or its equivalent in an RFP is certainly one of the key factors that a company considers in developing its solution. The criteria have become almost cliché in the hierarchical relationship of values described, such as the technical approach is more important than management section which is more important than past performance references but the price factor is more important than all other combined. Similarly, in recent years an increasing number of RFPs have come out as Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA). Although in the latter case, the GSA has recently discouraged the use of LPTA except for the purchase of commodities.

The result of this standard approach to evaluation factors is that companies are often left with little insight into the discriminators and how selection boards evaluate proposals. Some recent Government responses indicate an evaluation approach using automated key word search tools, allowing the Government to quickly identify discrepancies or compliance issues.

This panel will address how the Government approaches evaluation. Are there response techniques offerors should avoid? What methods of response help the evaluators? Does language matter? Do they care about future or present tense, passive or active voice? What types of graphics help or hurt an evaluation? How does the offeror identify hot button issues and what is the best way to respond to them? What types of questions help the Government clarify proposal requirements? How will the GSA ruling on LPTA impact proposals and evaluations? How does the BOE write-up affect Government evaluation of pricing submissions? Are there things to avoid in the BOE? Things that have a positive effect on evaluation?

Primary and secondary audience targets: Absolutely any member of the business development lifecycle; Executives, Business Development, Capture Managers, Proposal Managers, Program Managers, Volume Leads, etc. will benefit, regardless of what sector or what market – government (federal, state, local) and commercial

 Why is it important for audience members to attend this session now? What are the situational/environmental factors that make a strong case for signing up? The recent release of the president’s budget with significant increases for some federal agencies and drastic reductions for others will create uncertainty about available funds for contracts. This funding uncertainty coupled with accompanying changes in mission, scope, and authority will create an environment where the Government will be even more careful with the allocation of contract funds as well as increasing efforts to get more of the dollars expended. Consequently, organizations need to be on the top of their game in competing for contract wins. Additionally, how will the recent GSA decision on LPTA impact how the Government will weight criteria and how will selection boards apply instructions during their evaluations? How does the Government approach evaluation of risk?

Moderator – Jackie Lopez – 

Jackie Lopez

Ms. Lopez, a former Air Force officer, is President and owner of Premier Enterprise Solutions, LLC (PES). PES is an 8(a) business development program participant, certified economically disadvantaged woman-owned and VA-verified Service-disabled Veteran-owned business. PES provides mission-critical support in the areas of cyber security, network engineering, software development, and telecommunications for both Federal and State Governments and private industry. 

Prior to entering private industry, Ms. Lopez had extensive experience in proposal evaluation and selection while serving as a Director at the GSA Federal Systems and Integration Center (FEDSIM) where she oversaw the annual sales, acquisition, and administration of $120 million of IT contracts. She also served as a Senior Account Manager for the GSA Office of Sales where she developed strategic relationships with other Federal Agency decision-makers and identified large IT business opportunities. 

Ms. Lopez received the GSA Administrators Exceptional Service award and is an ACT-IAC Fellow.  She is a member of the inaugural class of the Women Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Corps (WVEC), a women Veteran’s business accelerator collaboration between Capitol One and Count Me In. She is also a graduate of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Veteran’s Institute for Procurement “Grow” Program and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program.  In 2013, Ms. Lopez was named as “One of the 25 Influential Women in Business – Making a Difference,” by Minority Enterprise Advocate Magazine.  


Stephen J. Yuter – 

Yuter - Deloitte

Mr. Yuter was a former federal procurement executive across multiple agencies and served as the source selection authority for over $10B of contracts. As the Director of Acquisition Management and Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Indian Health Service (IHS), he managed the annual contract spending of nearly $800M, executing nearly 24,000 contract actions in FY2015. He developed performance work statements and RFPs, and established evaluation criteria for a range of critical mission areas to include IT services, healthcare, financial management, and human capital. Prior to HHS/IHS, he held senior acquisition and contracting leadership positions to include serving as the Deputy Assistant Chief Procurement Officer for Policy, Systems & Risk Management at the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Chief of Strategic Acquisition at the HHS Program Support Center, and Team Lead/Senior Contracting Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense. His roles and responsibilities across the civilian and defense sectors included providing leadership for contracting operations, acquisition policy, and workforce development.

Mr. Yuter is currently the Chief Contracts Strategist with Deloitte, providing invaluable insights into shaping and strengthening strategies to support exponential growth across the Federal Practice. In his previous role as the Director of Capture Strategy and Principal Consultant with Red Team Consulting, Mr. Yuter was responsible for overseeing strategic capture projects and providing expertise on the government evaluation process for clients. He utilized his extensive experience and government perspective to assist clients effectively plan their win strategies to align with federal contracting processes

Mr. Yuter is currently on the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) Board of Directors, serving as Chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Strategic Planning Committee. Mr. Yuter is an NCMA Fellow and inductee of the President’s Circle Club, as well as a recipient of both the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and Top Professionals Under 40 in Contract Management Award. Mr. Yuter is also a Fellow of the American Council for Technology (ACT)/Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and a graduate of the Partners Leadership Program. He is a current mentor in both organizations’ leadership development programs. He also maintains membership with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) and the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Mr. Yuter holds a B.S. in Marketing and Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University, an M.S. in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology, a Master's Certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University, and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. He currently holds numerous professional certifications including the CPCM, CFCM, PMP, ICCM-F III, CTPE, and SPSM. Mr. Yuter is a regular panel member on the Public Contracting Institute’s “Fun with the FAR” series and is an Adjunct Professor of Procurement and Contracts Management at the University of Virginia.

Reginald "Reggie" Lawrence – 

Reggie Lawrence

Mr. Reginald Lawrence completed a distinguished 36-year career as a Federal Government Civil Servant with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) in 2012. Across his years of service, he filled many leadership and managerial roles including science and product applications specialist, Program and Project Manager, Branch Chief, Division Director, and Executive Administrator. For 30 years of his service, he also was directly involved in the contract and acquisition process in the capacities of Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR), Assistant COTR, Project Manager, Technical Evaluation Board Member (SME), Source Evaluation Board Member, Acquisition Lead (Cost & Technical Proposals). His was involved with contracts ranging in value up to $175M including Fixed Price, T&M, CP, CPAA, and set asides. Since retirement, he has provided his experience and insight into the Federal acquisition process to corporate and commercial entities. He has a B.S. in Mathematics, an M.S. in Computer Science, and Masters Certificates in IT Project Management and Contract Acquisition.