The Professional and Technical Support Contract (PRO-TECH), originally estimated by Deltek to be released last December, finally kicked off Wednesday with an Industry and Speed Dating event hosted by Deltek. The NOAA presentation was led by Mitchel J. Ross, Director of Acquisition and Grants Office, from the NOAA, Silver Spring office.
This new $3B program from NOAA will be a full and open procurement with multiple award contracts and most of the awards being reserved for small businesses. Although total spend on small business is unknown, NOAA hopes to promote socioeconomic contracting. The contracts for professional and technical services will focus on five NOAA Domains.
- Oceans and Coastal services
- Satellite/Observing Systems Services
- Meteorological Services
- Enterprise Operations
What We Learned From the NOAA Director
Director, Mr. Ross, pointed out three things NOAA will be particularly looking at during the proposal evaluations:
- Past Performance
In regard to the Past Performance section Mr. Ross noted that quality and relevancy of experience will be a focus for evaluatiion. He also mentioned that they will look for differentiators among offers. Since there are five different domains and separate proposals are required for each, proposals must support all the specific service requirements for the domain; “no piecemealing” Mr. Ross stated.
When evaluating price, Mr. Ross mentioned that NOAA will not be looking for lowest price, technically acceptable, “LPTA has its place like with commodities but not with this,” he said.
Teaming partners should be coherent, crafted for a purpose and have specific roles, Mr. Ross added.
Insight into the NOAA Solicitation
According to the NOAA PRO-TECH office, the Draft Solicitation is anticipated to be released during summer 2014 and a final in October 2014. Separate proposals are required to be submitted for each Domain, and separate contracts will be awarded for each Domain. Specific requirements will be identified and defined at the task order level, and the contracts will be used by any office within NOAA that may issue task orders within the scope of each Domain. There are fourteen listed objectives of the acquisition included in the draft PWS. Samples of a few are shown below:
- Worldwide professional and technical services coverage to all NOAA offices
- The providing of comprehensive performance and solution-based contract vehicles,
- Conducting of scientific and technical research and experiments to better understand natural physical, biophysical, geochemical, ecological systems and processes.
- Contributing to NOAA’s small business contracting plan
- Establishing contracts with companies capable of providing the necessary personnel, material, equipment, services, and facilities to perform the requirements at the task order level.
Additionally, under the Enterprise Operations Services Domain, there are fourteen unique NOAA Enterprise services which range from Strategic Planning Services to Human Capital Management Services to Facilities Management Services.
It appears that this umbrella contract reflects the way NOAA intends to consolidate their contracts to reduce overhead in the contract shop by combining many separate and dispersed contracts across the agency. They also state as an objective in the draft PWS that they want this to be an integrated requirement document focusing on efficient cross-utilization of resources and that unique requirements may call for coordination and integration of multiple tasks with limited resources. This objective tells me that contractors who bid and win multiple Domains will have an advantage over single Domain awardees at the task order competition stage.
Overview of NOAA
NOAA was formed in October 1970 under the Department of Commerce from several existing non-aligned agencies that were among the oldest in the Federal Government. These included:
- The Coast and Geodetic Survey, Formed in 1807
- The Weather Bureau, formed in 1870
- The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries formed in 1871
As a scientific agency, NOAA focuses on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. Or as they like to say, they view the earth from the bottom of the ocean to space. In addition to its civilian employees, NOAA has a Corps of Commissioned Officers who navigate their fleet in support of research and operations. NOAA also has world class Data Centers in Asheville, North Carolina, Boulder, Colorado, Princeton, New Jersey, Suitland and Silver Spring, Maryland and Seattle, Washington.
Through the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS), we get our local and national weather reports, and each Congressional District has a local NWS office, much like the USDA agricultural extension offices throughout the USA. From the NWS we have learned new words such as “Polar Vortex” and “Global warming“.
Key Ingredient to Securing PRO-TECH
Contractors looking to prime the PRO-TECH contract need to have a passion for the NOAA mission and provide value added solutions to their research and operational environments. NOAA has always been an early adopter of technology, and they pride themselves on their leadership role and the delivery of products such as the 72-hour weather forecast that is the driver behind our local and national weather reports and warnings. The NOAA warnings and forecasts are also shared with US NATO allies and are used by many countries in their airline navigation activities. Prior to NOAA Satellites, the world was unaware of many hurricanes being formed in the Pacific Ocean unless there had been reported by ships at sea. NOAA environmental satellites provide data from space to monitor the earth to analyze the coastal waters, relay life saving beacons and track tropical storms and hurricanes. Scientist use data collection systems on the satellites to relay data from transmitters on the ground to researchers in the field.
How We Can Help
Organizational Communications, Inc. (OCI) has supported both large and small companies on NOAA procurements in the past by providing consultants with backgrounds in NOAA domains required under the contract draft Performance Work Statement.