Attorney Dolcey E. Chaplin, director of the NJIT Procurement Center, participated last week in an invitation-only panel discussion on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee’s Defense Business Panel. The panel discussion, held at Burlington County College, Mt. Laurel, discussed issues facing the business and university communities which seek or do business with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The NJIT Procurement Center is funded by the Defense Logistics Agency.Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, co-chaired the small business roundtable discussion about contracting with DOD. The meeting was part of the House Armed Services Committee’s Defense Business Panel, which Larsen co-chairs. The panel has held other field hearings around the nation and in Washington, DC.
“These meetings let me and my colleagues hear directly from small businesses about the challenges they face when contracting with the Department of Defense,” Larsen said. “Small businesses are true innovators and important job-creators. They have a great deal to contribute to the nation’s defense, and this panel, with our field meetings and hearings in the capital, will identify ways to help them overcome the obstacles they face.”
Larsen also visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to tour the USAF Expeditionary Center, where he participated in a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle rollover training exercise, and the New Jersey Army National Guard Battle Lab.
Other members of the U.S. House of Representatives who attended were Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9), who is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Business Challenges; Rep. Jon Runyan (NJ- 3); Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (H-1); Rep. Bobby Schilling (I-17); and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2).
“The Committee wanted to hear a straight-forward and free discussion as to the impediments or successes that these communities have experienced in their efforts to do business with the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Chaplin. The Center has more than 2000 clients with more than 800 firms located south of Trenton has been said to be the “best kept secret” in the state. “I am the luckiest person in the world, because I work with the most innovative, creative individuals--small business owners. I am thankful of the privilege to serve them.”
Chaplin requested at the hearing that reasonable costs to advertise be allowed under the contract. She stated that commercial entities have cost the small firms thousands of dollars in fees before they arrive at the Center’s door. The Center provides at no cost more in-depth experience and training than any commercial company in this unique area of contract/administrative law. Upon completion of the panel talk, Chaplin stayed to discuss with professional staff members of the House of Representative statutory concerns impacting small businesses.
The NJIT Procurement Center has earned a reputation of excellence in training as to how to do business as a DOD prime or subcontractor. The Center’s clients last year were awarded more than $200 million in government contracts, which brings the total client government contract award dollars since the inception to $1.8 billion.