FSBDC at USF hosts annual government conference
by Stacey Dadd | May 9, 2018
“The whole purpose of the 31st Annual Government Small Business Conference is to expose our small business owners to the possibility of doing business with the government – particularly the federal government.” Eileen Rodriguez said.
The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida hosted the 31st Annual Government Small Business Conference at Holiday inn Tampa Westshore on Friday, May 4. Approximately 104 small business representatives were in attendance to hear from experts in the government contracting arena, as well as to meet with corporate and federal government buyers at the Business Opportunity Expo.
The event started with a welcome from Congresswoman Kathy Castor. “Partnering with SBDC at USF is vitally important to this community to help lift small businesses,” she said. “We are a community of small business owners and if this community is going to thrive, raise wages, and support families, we’ve got to make sure that small business owners are connected to the very vast federal contracts that are available, all across government.”
After Castor’s welcome, the morning sessions kicked off with an Acquisition and Strategy panel discussion with representatives from General Services Administration, NAVFAC Southeast and Defense Logistics Agency.
“The morning panel discussion was very insightful,” Artice Scott, attendee, said. “It was very informative. What I really loved about it is they gave a chronological sequence of the steps you can take to achieve whatever goal you have. They told us what they look for and how they have expanded their needs.”
Other workshops included Building on Federal Government Contracts: Avoiding Costly Proposal Pitfalls, Tax Reform: The Effect on Government Contractors and Related Businesses, Early Themes for Government Contractors Under the Trump Administration, and Winning Capture Strategy. The luncheon featured keynote speaker Sara Moola, President and CEO of Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc.
The luncheon also featured the presentations of the Florida SBDC at USF Small Business of the Year awards. Jorge Brea, of Symphonic Distribution, and David and Heather Ferrill, of Ferrill Construction, were the awardees. The U.S. Small Business Administration also presented its 2018 Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year award to Florida SBDC at USF client, Brian Butler. Butler is the President and CEO of Vistra Communications.
The event closed with the Business Opportunity Expo, at which attendees were given the opportunity to network with approximately 30 large corporation and federal government buyers. During this time, attendees also had the opportunity to meet with Florida SBDC at USF consultants to discuss services available for growing their businesses, which included Growth Acceleration, Profit Mastery, and additional government consulting services.
“We currently have the Florida PTAC at USF and through our procurement consultants, we are able to help small businesses navigate the red tape within the federal contracting arena,” Rodriguez said. “We also help them become certified at the federal level as either minority-owned, woman-owned or service disabled veteran businesses, and that helps them compete with small contracts, either as prime contracts or as subcontractors to prime contractors.”
Stacey Dadd has been with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida as the Marketing and Communications Officer since August 2013. She is responsible for all marketing efforts within the 10-county Tampa Bay region. Dadd has built her career in print, visual and audio communications. She began her career as a writer at a daily newspaper and worked her way up to regional editor and eventually, corporate recruiter. As a corporate recruiter she was responsible for hiring, troubleshooting and headhunting for 54 newspapers in nine states. As a teacher in the Polk County School District, she developed award-winning yearbook and newspaper programs at Ridge Community High School and Lakeland High School. She was nominated for teacher of the year honors in 2007, 2012 and 2013 at her respective teaching establishments. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Julie E. Dodd adviser scholarship from the Florida Scholastic Press Association. Dadd earned her master’s degree in digital journalism and design at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She is also a Certified Marketing Executive and holds additional certifications in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, as well as broadcast journalism and inbound methodology. In 2015, she also earned a certificate in Marketing Strategy from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Most recently, she earned the Google Analytics IQ Certification.