Apr 12, 2007

Talking Business

Wilson allays local anxieties

CAROL A. CLARK Monitor Senior Reporter

More than 100 businesspeople joined Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., for lunchtime enchiladas at the Hilltop House Hotel on Tuesday as the congresswoman addressed Los Alamos National Laboratory small business initiatives and updated the group on congressional issues.

"The situation with this laboratory is about to take off and you're all positioned very well," Wilson told the businesspeople.

Wilson serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues such as energy. This includes DOE/NNSA and national laboratories, public health, telecommunications and hazardous materials. She said she meets regularly with LANL Director Michael Anastasio.

She told the audience how a friend of hers at LANL told her that change, even good change creates anxiety. She said businesspeople have a chance to show that the set-asides for small business are resulting in exceptional quality and service.

"I think we've got a prime contractor committed to this and a business community ready for it - and you've got my 100-percent support," Wilson said.

Wilson started Keystone International Inc. in 1991. Contracting with large institutional buyers, both government and prime contractors, has given Wilson personal experience into issues facing small business owners. She has made small business initiatives one of her key priorities and conducts quarterly site visits to small businesses to keep apprised of relevant small business issues.

During Tuesday's luncheon, Anna Muller, NEDA Business Consultants president, said Los Alamos National Security, LLC, has committed to a 50 percent small business goal. The crowd of business owners from throughout the region cheered and applauded. Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation Executive Director Kevin Holsapple promised that his organization would do everything they can to help the laboratory meet that goal.

Doris Heim, LANL associate director of business services, explained that the 50 percent goal has actually been in the LANS contract since June. Changes to reporting requirements have made that goal very difficult to reach but Heim said LANS remains totally committed. In years past, the goals were in the 40s, she said, adding that LANS' 10 percent increase equates to more than $100 million for small business.

The laboratory is currently at 35-37 percent and won't be able to reach their 50 percent goal by the end of this fiscal year. "We are putting systems and processes and knowledge in place this year to better achieve our goals next year," Heim said.

He continued, "I'm very happy to hear Congresswoman Wilson speak so highly of the laboratory. For us to be working closely with businesses and the congressional delegates is where we want to go. Our new management is very committed to small business and it encourages me to know we are making a difference."

Muller called her organization's experience with the new management "outstanding. It has been a delightful experience for all of us in leadership positions," Muller said. "All of the contracts, all of the JITs are going out to small business." There has never been a laboratory in history that has ever done that. The congresswoman has been listening to me rave about our new association with these new operators."

Tuesday's event was co-sponsored by the Bandelier Chapter of the National Contract Management Association, the New Mexico 8(a) and Minority Business Association, the Northern New Mexico Supplier Alliance and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.


Anonymous said...

This sounds familiar --- it hasn't been possible to reach the current goal, in this case for small business particiation, so the politicians raise the goal, with much fanfare, cheering, and applause. Wasn't that the model the Soviets followed for their 5-year plans?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Wilson is history, and she knows it...The little clout she ever attained was tied to Domenici's tail, she can say anything she likes, with absolutly no consequences..."Politicians" will say whatever is needed to keep everyone in their comfort zone...Lets see what she says in June. I have heard her say in piblic: at Sandia "Los Alamos is a mess".....Don't you just love the "Politicians" Did anyone also catch she made no comment about the hearing's going on regarding both her and the lab? No layoff's huh?.....

Anonymous said...

My dealings with the favored small businesses have too often been unsatisfactory. They are generaly non-competetive. For instance, I once tried to purchase 30 Windows computers from a local small business. BUT, the price was 30% higher than from DELL and the service would have been nearly non-existent. Too many of these small businesses rely far too much on LANL for their sales. That is a very unhealthy situation.
That said, I have had excellent experience with local machine shops. They really fill a need.

Anonymous said...

...and it seems to be forgotten that LANS, LLC., is incorporated as a federally-favored "small business". DOE/NNSA procurement specialists and contracting officers will receive tremendous kudos for doing $2B/yr in small business activities.

Anonymous said...

4/13/07 10:30 AM

Of course the small business was 30% higher than Dell. Dell sells in tremendous quantity all over the country. It's close to a monopoly at LANL. Low costs, more people buy, lower costs, etc.

As far as service, I'd like to know what you mean by "nearly non-existent". Dell provides no service. TIG does, and their service is nearly non-existent.

But don't let it bother you. In a few more years, that local small business will also be gone as will 25% of LANL employees. And there'll be 500 homes for sale in Los Alamos too.

Anonymous said...

Regarding DELL service, I had an 800 number that I could call 24/7 and usually get somebody who really knew the stuff. If we could determine that it was a hardware problem, they would over-night the replacement to me immediately. Being in an unclassified area, the UPS delivery was to our drop point.

The local vendor had limited technical support and only during normal business hours, 9 - 5, Mon - Sat. The vendor had very little hardware on hand, mostly some CRTs and hard disks. The vendor had no items such as motherboard, etc.

Anonymous said...

50% of nothing is nothing. The goal is a joke because the LANS fees and State tax have sucked the life out of the labs procurement (and employment) capability.

The place is crippled and struggling every day. Setting a goal of 50% local business procurements is great PR but like everything else I've seen with LANS, the deception, corruption and incompetence is in the details.

LANS and their "good friends" in DC have gotten a very good start on severely damaging national security by severely damaging LANL.

Anonymous said...

Can you spell "Special Olympics"?