HomeNewsArticle Display

Procurement analyst experiences contracting from the other side of the table

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

As a veteran contract negotiator, Amber Pecoraro, a procurement analyst at the Air Force Materiel Command Contracting Directorate, recognized a disconnect between startup companies and fulfilling the mission-related needs of the Air Force.

Despite a shared goal of solving national security problems, challenges persist for startups competing with larger, more established companies that have greater resources and experience navigating the defense contracting realm.

To gain a new perspective on the challenges faced by startup companies interested in military contracts, Pecoraro pursued a career-broadening experience through the National Security Innovation Network's Startup Innovation Fellowship Program. Fellowship participants bring a command problem or focus area to work through during the fellowship, gaining new insights from the industry they can bring back to their organization. She began a six-week fellowship assignment in May 2019 with startup company, Decisive Point in Washington, D.C.

Pecoraro’s focus was to better understand the challenges start-up companies face doing business with the government. By seeing some of the challenges firsthand and talking with other startups about their experiences, she hoped to learn better ways of doing business with this key industry segment.

“I got an education while doing this. This is why I thought it was a great fellowship to do. My background is (in) major weapon systems, so this was a complete learning experience for me,” Pecoraro said.

Decisive Point, led by Tommy Hendricks and Eric Horan, partners with early-stage startups and helps them to connect their commercial solutions and innovative ideas to meet government technological needs. As former Department of Defense military and civilian employees, Hendricks and Horan recognized the need to bridge the gap between smaller companies with the ability to innovate quickly to deliver solutions and the DoD’s desire to get warfighter solutions to the field faster.

Throughout the fellowship, Pecoraro met with Decisive Point employees and other small companies receiving startup support from the organization. The first-person access to these companies helped Pecoraro attain a greater understanding of the challenges and an awareness of how to address some of them.

“The experience really allowed me to empathize with startup companies and smaller businesses, which I think is valuable when trying to work together to get capabilities to the warfighter,” Pecoraro said.

Some of the challenges expressed by the startups ranged from limited access to government space and difficulties in finding funding for innovative design ideas. Many of the small companies were concerned with staying financially solvent given the extended time required to secure a contract and get paid.

Other feedback companies provided was that government requirements were too specific and did not allow them, in many cases, to use innovative products they may have already developed. If there is an opportunity for the government to maintain close requirement specifications to an already available solution, it can help promote dual-use business strategies for products designed for civilian use, which provides an additional source of funding for continued growth and innovation for startups.

“Providing innovative companies access to programs to teach them how to do business with the government could help address these issues and provide the government greater access to vendors who are passionate about solving national security problems,” Pecoraro said.

Pecoraro mentioned that there are a number of programs available throughout the DoD to assist small businesses, but many are not well known or understood throughout the communities. Programs such as the Procurement Technical Assistance Program and DoD small business programs across the country offer support. In addition, technical accelerators and incubators can be found near large cities, many near military bases. Some offer programs specifically geared to the needs of the DoD.

Additionally, the Federal Acquisition Regulations encourage collaboration with industry partners, according to Pecoraro. Her participation in the fellowship is one way AFMC is looking towards non-traditional pathways in accordance with the FAR to bring critical skills and new technology into service through acquisition and contracting.

“If acquisition teams can understand the problems its (customer’s face) and collaborate better with industry partners to identify solutions in the requirements definition and market research stages, then we can better ensure we are buying the appropriate solution to meet the warfighters needs in the command and throughout the DoD,” Pecoraro said.

Pecoraro participated in the National Security Innovation Network’s Startup Innovation Fellowship Program and produced a two-part podcast highlighting her experiences.

Engage

Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: This is Capt Eric Johnson. He was critical to the reception, care, feeding and bed down of more than 30,000 vulnerable Af…
Twitter
.@UnderSecAF Gina Ortiz Jones met with @USAFReserve Airmen to discuss the @DeptofDefense COVID-19 vaccination direc… https://t.co/9y28hmcMir
Twitter
Join Department of the Air Force senior leaders for a live, virtual town hall discussing the Racial Disparity Revie… https://t.co/6Z7N6QIuLP
Twitter
The U.S. Special Operations School, in collaboration with @HQUSAFEAFAF hosted the bi-annual European Partnership Fl… https://t.co/egAlljufL3
Twitter
Join Department of the Air Force senior leaders for a virtual town hall discussing the Racial Disparity Review tomo… https://t.co/s4XfTyCwEY
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: Polish Aviation Integration 🇵🇱 The U.S. and #Poland will conduct Agile Combat Employment training during the bilateral av…
Twitter
.@TeamTyndall's 325th Munitions Squadron has a unique capability - it's the only #AirForce Munitions Squadron certi… https://t.co/RMmTapKK3F
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Today marks the beginning of National #HispanicHeritageMonth! Visit our Spotlight page at https://t.co/Lhe9Hxc454 to lea…
Twitter
Hear why this #Airman chose to get vaccinated. @SecAFOfficial directed the COVID-19 vaccine implementation guideli… https://t.co/TFpjBtHUuq
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: U.S. Air Force and #Slovenian Armed Forces leaders met to discuss bilateral operations and interoperability during a visit…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: Great visit with Airmen of the @459arw to discuss vaccination. The vaccine is the best tool we have to fight #COVID19. Our…
Twitter
Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, the last of the Doolittle Raiders, was honored and posthumously promoted to the rank… https://t.co/ayQ88HVUQI
Twitter
The 55th Communications Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, was redesignated as the 55th Cyber Squadron recently. The… https://t.co/8DqPyZc8a6
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I’m proud of Airmen like SrA DeQuire accelerating change in our #AirForce. Challenge the status quo and continue to be bo…
Twitter
#AirForce senior leaders will host a town hall to discuss Leadership and the Family during #ASC21. The session will… https://t.co/Fsn63QAWtY
Twitter
Lt. Col. John “Karl” Marks, an @USAFReserve pilot, made history as the only pilot to reach 7,000 hours in the A-10C… https://t.co/qY7eKfs6ks
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: Enjoyed meeting with @MDNG Airmen of the 175th Wing. We talked about getting the mission done and getting #vaccinated. We c…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Anytime, Anywhere requires us to be ready at all times. Mandatory vaccination deadlines: Nov 2 – Active Duty personnel…
Twitter
Members of @theSCANG & @SCNationalGuard joined the Republic of Colombia's air force to accomplish humanitarian aid… https://t.co/PfzpLjblfx
Twitter
#AirForce senior leaders and their spouses will host a town hall at #ASC21 Sept. 22 from 1:00 p.m. - 1:40 p.m EDT.… https://t.co/Tex1VacuQ5
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,375,207
Follow Us