government contract

Meet the Team: Steve Griffin, Contracts Specialist

StephenGriffin200Arrowhead Solutions would like to introduce and welcome  a new team member, Steve Griffin. Steve, PhD, joined Arrowhead Solutions in February 2014 and brings with him over 32 years of experience in Federal Government contracting.

Mr. Griffin has worked a wide variety of contracts types involving acquisition of supplies, services, research, weapons development and testing, and managed healthcare.  In his career, Steve has worked for, worked as a contractor employee providing support to, or worked for firms contracting with the Federal Government.

Steve started his career in contracting in 1981 as a contracts intern with the U. S. Air Force at Luke Air Force.  In 1983 the Air Force moved him to Nellis AFB, and from there he moved to the China Lake facility of the Naval Air Warfare Center in 1985, where he worked until 1992.  In 1992, Steve moved to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, as a subcontract administrator.  From 1994 until 1996 he worked for a small disadvantaged business which held a number of contracts with the FAA for asbestos inspection and monitoring as the manager of contracts at its Denver area office.  From 1996 until 1998 Steve worked for an environmental engineering firm that held contracts with the EPA, Corps of Engineers, the U. S. Forest Service, and other Federal agencies.  In 1998 Steve moved on to a contract administrator position with a firm supporting the contracting operations of the DoD TRICARE program, and in 1999 he returned to the Government with TRICARE as a contract administrator working a number of contracts to acquire healthcare services for active duty military, their family members, and military retirees.  In 2000 Steve was appointed a contracting officer at TRICARE, and was responsible for the administration of five different regional healthcare services contracts over his time as a contracting officer at TRICARE.  In 2006 Steve left TRICARE and contracting to pursue a PhD.  During his time completing his degree program, Steve provided contracting advice and assistance to a firm that held healthcare administration contract with the DoD and the VA.  From February 2013 through January 2014 Steve worked as a contract specialist as an employee of the firm providing support to the GSA, Region 8 FAS office in Lakewood, Colorado working a number of service contracts and task orders.  With the end of his work at GSA, Steve joined Arrowhead Solutions.

Steve holds a BS in Natural Resource Management degree, a Master of Applied Communication degree, and a PhD in Communication Studies degree.   He received a DAWIA Level III certification while with TRICARE, and earned a graduate certificate in ADR from the University of Denver while completing his master’s degree.

How can Stephen and Arrowhead assist your business?

Meet the team! Carrie Grigg – Contracts Specialist

New Team Member Spotlight: Carrie Grigg


Carrie joins Arrowhead Solutions,LLC as a Government Contracts Specialist.  She brings ten years of experience in contract management and business development in diverse fields including IT, A/E/C, bioscience and energy.  While specializing in federal and state government contracts, Carrie collaborates with partners and clients to identify strategic contract opportunities, write proposals, improve business processes, and is passionate about creating a positive customer interaction.  In addition to assisting companies win government contracts, Carrie’s interests include writing, painting and exploring the use of social media to obtain customer feedback and build relationships.  Carrie holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia.

Visit Arrowhead on the web to see what our government contract specialists can do for your small business.

Part 4 of 4 – You are now Ready for Government Contracting! Go Get ‘Em!

To give back, we’d like to share some government contracting tips and tricks so that you can be the best government contractor possible. Each week, throughout the month of March, we’re have posted 5 tips to celebrate 5 years. Time for the drumroll as we share our last set (for now)…5-years

This week’s post: Government Contracting Tips and Tricks
Part 4 – And not to forget…

#16: Analyze your approach to government marketing. Need help with strategy?

#17: Know your nicheWhy?Trust us – it’s most important in determining direction of efforts.

#18: Know your resources. Did you know you can go to your local Business Development Center and the SBA for resources?

#19: Make sure to reach out to past teammates regularly. Ask about new opportunities.

#20: Don’t get discouraged! The government contracting cycle is LONG. The effort to go after a contract can be exhausting. However, heading the previous 19 tips will really help you become a successful government contractor. As, always, feel free to contact Arrowhead Solutions. Now, go get ’em!

Don’t forget to follow Arrowhead Solutions on Twitter (@arrowheadllc) for daily tips, too!

Thanks for tuning in! All of these tips will “live” here on our blog for quite some time. We look forward to many more years to come and helping out small businesses in any way that we can.


Invest Early in Government Compliance:

Typical scenario:
The scientist/engineer/mathematician has a truly brilliant idea and pitches it to the government through an SBIR.

Government loves the idea and awards the Phase I award.
Ok – not too much stress administratively – it’s fixed price, short term and defined deliverables.
Great – you deliver, you get paid.

Now they really want you to take that idea further and you propose on a Phase II. You are required to propose specific costs – direct and indirect so you just sort of make them up.
Despite the fact that your TPOC loves your concept and wants to fund your Phase II, the process comes to a screeching halt.
DCAA / DCMA wants to get their hands on you! Now, you have to do through a pre-award systems audit and you have to get approved indirect rates in order to bill your CPFF contract.
So now you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of trying to find help getting your systems compliant and your rates approved.

Don’t wait until this is the case.

If you are at all interested in pursuing Phase II funding or working as a prime contractor to the government, talk to an expert now and understand what the process looks like and what it will take to obtain & maintain compliance.

Take the time to talk to industry peers about their experiences and talk to multiple solutions providers.

Developing a relationship with a provider who can explain the processes succinctly and who can grow with your organization over time is key to your success.
From a budget (and sanity) perspective, it will be much easier for you to undertake the processes over time so you can spread the costs out over time.

Don’t wait – invest early in your success as a government contractor !

Wrap Rates Part 2: Why Develop and Monitor Wrap Rates?

For small contractors this question is huge!

It is hard enough to be competitive in delivering the highest quality products or services, but how do I stay competitive with my rates and still make a profit?

For small contractors (and I mean small) wrap rates (before profit) anywhere between 1.5 and 2.1 are not unusual.

But even .6 can mean a big difference between covering your costs and losing your shirt.

Calculating and monitoring wrap rates is something that all small contractors should be doing whether or not they have cost type contracts.


Because when you bid on T&M or FFP contracts, you have (theoretically) developed your proposed costs based on actual labor rates plus your indirects plus some nominal profit margin.

Let’s see what happens in the case that you are not really calculating your rates, but are sort of “conjecturing” as to what they are (you know your costs right?):

FFP contract:

Basis of Bid & Award:                                                                                    Actual Costs

Labor:                  $50,000                                                                             $50,000

OH (25%):            $12,500                                                                    (35%)  $17,500

G&A (40%):        $25,000                                                                      (45%)  $30,375

Total cost             $87,500                                                                              $97,875

Profit (10%):       $  8,750                                                                   Loss:    ($  1,625)

Total Award:        $96,250                                                                                 $96,250

You did not budget you rates accurately and / or you were not monitoring your actuals! Your profit just went from 10% profit to a 1.66% LOSS!

Remember, it’s a Fixed Price Contract – you are only getting the $96,250. If you overrun your indirects, it comes right out of your profit!!!

So what influences wrap rates and how can you monitor them? (Come back on Wednesday for that discussion).

What is an acceptable wrap rate for small government contractors?

I have had this question from several clients lately because they are concerned;

  1. Their rate is too high to be competitive
  2. Their rate is too low
  3. They have no idea why they should be concerned…

I counsel them that the wrap rate (fully burdened rate) needs to fairly represent their indirect costs that they incur while staying competitive in the market; after all they are competing in a market where all other things being equal, the low price will win.

What are you seeing for rates in your clients and are you seeing any trends?

What does 2011 look like for big solicitations?

GFY 11 has a line up of what look to be some biggie solicitations according to the November 10th article by  Nick Wakeman on the Washington Technology website.  “20 hot contracts you can’t ignore” lists mainly IT-related contracts for the DoD.  From hardware, to software. From engineering support, to logistics services. IT and periphery services seem to be the focus for the new year’s solicitations.  Granted these won’t be awarded until 2012 at the earliest, but they provide quite a bit in the way of offering multiple awards, combinations of requirements (thus opportunities for teaming), and  even a couple without an incumbent.

The Army seems to be a big client in this new GFY by making the list with 7 of the 20.  In not so close second is NASA with 3.   I have to say I’m surprised by the lack of Air Force showing here – only 1? Perhaps my shock stems from the fact I used to be an Air Force civilian who released and awarded these types of contracts and I was trained in the mind set that the AF is king of acquisition.From what I’ve been seeing the past couple of years, this no longer seems to be true.  Even at the small $ level of the SBIR Program, where is the Air Force money?  They only released one set of topics last year and seem to be following the trend again this year.  This, from an agency you could always count on as having the most topics every single release of every year?

Also surprising is NASA – from what we hear on the news is that the budget is being cut, programs are disappearing, etc.  But here we are with three big and important solicitations slated for release in the next 12 months.

I like seeing the USPS, DHS, USAID and other non-DoD agencies having a good showing here too.  I highly  recommend taking a look at each of these 20 on your FBO and watching them.  Besides awaiting the big winners from last year’s huge solicitations, now we have the “excitement” of seeing what is headed our way.