Q & A with Jaymie Mitchell, contract administrator, Veterans Worldwide Sales & Services, LLC, a full-service, service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) general contractor, engineering, landscaping and HVAC firm.

With the help of the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC), a BDP program which helps businesses, including small, disadvantaged and veteran-owned firms, obtain federal, state and local government contracts, Veterans Worldwide has recently secured nearly $2 million worth of good federal contracts, including work for the Department of the Army-Fort Leonard Wood, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), state of Missouri and Rocky Mount Sewer District. The firm currently has 11 employees and revenues in the $3 million range.

Let’s find out how they did it.

Q: You’re a contract administrator. What do you do?

A: Well, we all have very specific responsibilities. Lester Johnson (owner) is our force on the ground at our ongoing projects and is, more often than not, found operating heavy equipment, which he loves to do! I take care of the details in the office and for each of our contracts. Kathy Schultz, our fiscal administrator, handles all of the bookkeeping and payroll for the company. We also have up to eight operators in the field, depending on our workflow and current contracts.

Q: Tell me about Lester’s military background.

A: Lester was in the United States Army as a Staff Sgt. (E-6) Combat Engineer from 1971-1978. He’s been involved with construction pretty much his entire adult life.

He didn’t realize that hearing loss from munitions exposure was considered a disability, but when he found out it was, he applied for SDVOSB designation. He doesn’t need to hear much when he is working heavy equipment, though it is a problem communicating with him on a cell phone! So when we were approved as a SDVOSB, he was ready to pursue federal opportunities. He also became a preferred veteran-owned vendor with the state of Missouri in 2012.

He has since executed twelve federal contracts and two reclamation projects for the Missouri Office of Administration’s facilities management, design and construction unit, and contracts by the Department of Defense to perform demolition work at a myriad of U.S. military bases, as well as working for several state and local agencies after the great flood of 1993 along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. He’s also been involved in developing, planning and constructing roads, sidewalks, buildings and private developments all across the Midwest.

Q: Such as?

A: Among his largest projects are the Harbour Hills development near Lake of the Ozarks and Escalade Heights in Kansas City, Kan. That work included excavating and moving over 120,000 cubic yards of material to make way for roads, utilities and building lots. Lester owns most of his own excavating equipment and dump trucks, too.

Q: How has MO PTAC helped Veterans Worldwide?

A: We are a pretty small company. That means our focus is on our day-to-day operations. So finding new work by submitting bids and proposals has to be ongoing to assure success. Jana (Weitkemper, PTAC counselor, Columbia) and Bill (Stuby, retired PTAC counselor), and Allen (Waldo, PTAC counselor, Springfield) are absolutely critical in this pursuit.

Q: How so?

A: We receive daily opportunities through the bid match program where we’ve defined search criteria for opportunities. It’s a wonderful service. But it’s not foolproof.

Oftentimes, our defined criteria don’t match up to what is posted. How a project may be classified by the contracting officer doesn’t always line up with our definition. This is where the activities of our PTAC representatives come into play.

I receive emails from Jana, Bill and Allen of opportunities that are a great fit for our company that we might have missed otherwise. It is really nice to know that we have a group like PTAC looking out for us. We just don’t have the luxury of the time it takes to sort through all of the opportunities on all the websites. That would be another full-time job.

For more on MO PTAC’s bid matching system, which searches thousands of government notices daily then sends an email whenever the right new bid matches are available, or any other contracting information, contact your local MO PTAC counselor today.