“The Procurement Specialist has been outstanding. The one-on-one coaching over zoom has been priceless. I learned to navigate the CALTRANS page like a Pro. I can now find relevant bid opportunities; I know the process to submit my prices and most important I know whom (PRIMES) to ask my questions. The Procurement Specialist is my “go to” person when I get stuck.”

Bess Testlab

BACKGROUND

Bess Testlab is a Bay Area based Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certified business providing solutions to mitigate underground utility related risks. Their services include locating utilities and subsurface structures, vacuum excavation (potholing), GPR concrete scanning, and CCTV pipeline inspection. In addition they also provide traffic control, surveying and mapping.

CHALLENGES

Bess Testlab was providing extensive locating services to PG&E, and already had two on-call projects with Caltrans when Diana Layseca, Senior Marketing Specialist for the company, first approached Norcal PTAC in late 2018. Her main goal was to diversify the company’s clients, and increasing subcontracting opportunities with large Prime contractors. The company had a DBE certificate but Diana was not sure it was being used effectively. She sought out to better understand the government contracting process in order to choose the most appropriate bid opportunities, and write more winning proposals.

ACTIONS

Diana worked with a few Procurement Specialists at Norcal PTAC who first reviewed the company’s scope of services to determine what government agencies would likely utilize their services. They then examined the business’s DBE certification implementation in relevant procurement portals. The Specialists introduced Diana to various new procurement portals and agency websites, helped narrowed down UNSPSC and NAICS codes, set her up with a BidMatch profile, and shared webinars and training opportunities. With deeper knowledge of the government marketplace and an expert advice only a phone call away, Diana started pursuing contracts and subcontracts more efficiently—she felt savvy and confident, knew the right questions to ask, and which projects are best suited for the company. Diana also followed up on contact info and networking opportunities with primes contractors and government agencies’ contracting officers, shared by her Procurement Specialist.

RESULTS

Diana was able to expand their government contracting and secure multiple local government awards with Cities of San Mateo, Lafayette, Fremont, and Palo Alto School District, as well as a few contracts with California Department of Transportation. Due to her success with Caltrans, Bess Testlab became part of the Mentor Protégée Program at Caltrans D4 and Diana is often asked to give presentations on behalf of Caltrans about how to navigate the Caltrans website and use the Contractor's Corner (in English and Spanish!). As of the end of 2020, the company’s total contracting awards is around $300,000. They are now venturing into additional opportunities in southern California and plan to continue utilizing Norcal PTAC’s services as needed.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.