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We are in the federal contracts consulting business. I have been a federal employee for 15 years, worked for five agencies, consulted with about 75 federal agencies, consulted with thousands of vendors etc. I have been consulting for 28 years and been in the IT business for 42 years. Nobody else comes close to the above.

But they have to make a living too. Some consultants tend to embellish the truth because prospects can't decipher. Suppose you see an advertisement, which says I am an expert and I have 15 years of government experience. Sounds good. But what if he or she had 15 years of government experience in the USMC cafeteria at Quantico.

In our business a couple of competitors tell suckers we can get you a GSA schedule in 30 days. This is a problem for you. The odds are it will take about three months, which is about average. This is most certainly a lie. Or if it is true is this consultant bribing someone? GSA employees have had a few instances where contract guys took a bribe. Do you want to be a part of that?

I would propose that you handle it this way. Fine. I want to do business with you. But I will pay nothing until I am on the GSA. If I am not on the GSA you will pay me $1500 a month while I wait.

Look at the problem you have if he lies. You hire three new sales people pending being on the GSA by April 1 and they have no schedule until July 10. I have yet to find a competitor gets it within 30 days. Not once. Do you know of such a case?

I have been involved with GSA schedules since 1965 one way or the other. We have done more than 1000 of them. The fastest we ever saw was one day. I personally got the very first ever schedule for PCs. The longest I have ever been involved in one was over one year.

How long does it take to debug the program? How long to earn $1million? How long to get to Baltimore? How long to grow an oak tree with a circumference of ten feet?

Many variables are involved in life over which no one has control. Let me do laser surgery on your eyes for $995 and I will guarantee 20/20 vision and if you don't have it in both eyes I will give you $100,000. Have you seen that ad yet?

Scammers are everywhere but Clinton will pardon you for $200,000.


Remember Pollard? He spied for Israel... he was a Navy employee. And the Walker case? He, his brother, his son and a friend were all spying for Russia and all did or were wearing uniforms. This may have been the worse ever spy case since the atom bomb and the Rosenbergs until Hanssen. We executed the Rosenbergs but merely put the Walker crowd in jail.

But who was Commander Herrick? Read "Fall from Glory". The Navy is a tough, smart, arrogant and troubled agency. The commander who recently surfaced and sunk the Japanese boat off Hawaii has lost his career.


But I will bet anyone he will not go to jail and will not lose his pension. The Navy is arrogant and troubled. Remember Tail Hook?

One of the most basic problems in government is that professional failure is almost never punished by loss of job or loss of pay. I saw a case in GSA where a project manager blew a big IT deal, the agency wasted $150 million and he was later promoted.

I was a government employee for 15 years and proud to be so. But I never spend one second about worry over loss of job or pay. It wasn't going to happen and if it did I was confident that my education, experience and skills would quickly land another job.

I formed GSCI in 1973 with a partner, Lynn Bateman, even though I had a wife and four dependents to worry about and even though this was going to be a new firm in a new industry doing something that had never been done before - federal IT procurement consulting.

Most government employees live in fear of the future especially the Colonel is about to retire who suddenly puts on a new cloak and is cordial and helpful because he is hunting for this retirement job.

I know many government employees well and some of them, if they left the agency, would, at best, be Wal-Mart greeters. Have you met any recently who inspired you so much you offered them a job or suggested they come to your firm and be your boss? If so, call me.

Editor's Note: The preceding opinion article was written by Terry Miller, associate editor and regular columnist for FCMR. He is also president of Government Sales Consultants Inc. of Sterling, Va., and a 35-year federal government procurement system veteran. Miller served with the General Services Administration as a computer equipment and procurement analyst for four years; eight years at the Federal Communications Commission as a computer and systems analyst and chief of computer operations; and as an Army systems specialist.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Government Activity
Author:Miller, Terry
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 14, 2001
Next Article:General Dynamics Government Systems Corp.

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