May 13, 2011 Turning Point

Happy Friday the13th!

WCOE Regional Conference in Kansas City a huge success
After 3+ days of intensive meetings, workshops and discussions, a very energized, enthusiastic and exhausted group of WCOE members left Kansas City yesterday with stacks of business cards, dozens of new connections and a raft of new friends. The WCOE member lounge at the massive Convention Center proved to be a favorite member benefit as a gathering place to put your feet up and check emails or meet up with friends. In fact, more than one business deal was negotiated sitting around the big member table over a cup of coffee and a bagel.

Even the Dept of Energy's workshop speakers stopped by occasionally to check out WCOE and lend their one-on-one counseling advice to our members. There is no question WCOE members are now on the radar screen of the Department of Energy as well as some of the major prime contractors who were there.

Monday's WCOE-only events also drew a sell-out crowd with our Advocate Ann Sullivan providing an update of legislative issues and Gloria Berthold-Larkin completing the picture with an up-to-the-minute workshop on the new 8m Woman Owned Small Business program and how to find those golden "restricted competition" government contracts. After all the work, a festive reception was held in Rosie's brand new Built-For-The-Occasion conference room with invited guests and VIP's.

A huge thank you goes out to Rosie Privitera Biondo our WCOE President and President of Mark One Electric and her great staff (especially April Ramirez) for their assistance in making this conference one of the most successful WCOE has ever had. If you missed it, you missed a great opportunity – but we're committed to doing more so stay tuned.

Welcome to our Newest Corporate Alliance Partner

Presenting a big sponsorship check at the WCOE's Regional Conference in Kansas City this week, Twin Lakes Insurance CEO Mike Smith joined our other stellar Corporate Partners in supporting the mission and goals of WCOE. You'll be hearing more about this new partner in the weeks to come, but as a regional insurance carrier with a golden reputation among small business owners, he is an independent agency entrepreneur that WCOE members can easily relate to. He understands the construction industry and he understands the unique challenges of being a small business owner in a challenging economy.

Thank you Mike, for supporting WCOE. For WCOE members in the KC Metro Area, give Mike a call – we think you will be pleasantly surprised – 816.525.2125 or

Welcome to our Newest Member, Denise Farris

Filling out her membership application on the spot at the Kansas City Regional Conference, Denise Farris, founder of Farris Law Firm, LLC., in Kansas City, MO, becomes the newest member of WCOE. An attorney whose firm specializes in construction law, Denise was recently recognized as one of Kansas City’s “Best of the Bar – Construction Law” by her peers.

Denise was also a workshop speaker on “Powering Up the Women’s Procurement Program” at this week’s Department of Energy Conference, along with WCOE Advocate Ann Sullivan. Between the two of them, there is nothing they don’t know about the history and now implementation of the new WOSB 8m program. Welcome aboard, Denise. We are delighted to have you as a WCOE member.

Bid Opportunities
Bid Opportunities
New Bid Opportunities in California have been posted on the web site. Major primes and government agencies are looking for women-owned companies.
Take a look!

Do you want your contracting officer to know about your political donations?

In a highly controversial move, President Obama is considering signing an Executive Order requiring ALL government contractors to disclose their political donations to their contracting officer as a part of any federal contract bid submission. And, this is not just for any corporate donations that may have been made – but donations made by the officers and executives of the company. It also covers contributions to all candidates, political parties and third party advocacy groups.

Who receives a government contract would then not be dependent on the merits of the contractor’s application bid and capabilities, but on the political implications of what candidate, party or issue you support. Republicans are strongly opposed to the Executive Order charging the Administration with trying to snoop on the political activities of companies in order to punish those that oppose his administration.  Now some Democrats are joining in with House Democratic Whip, Steny Hoyer (MD) going against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and telling reporters that political contributions should be immaterial to the bidding process. House Committee on Small Business Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) says small businesses would be “ill-prepared” to handle the Executive Order’s disclosure requirements as well as its potential criminal liability. If you care about this issue as a small business owner, you might want to fax a letter to the House Committee on Small Business offices at 202.226.5276.

SBA wants to hear from you
Are you a Small Business Owner or a leader from a business organization or trade association? You may testify in person or via a toll-free teleconference on issues regarding Federal regulatory compliance and enforcement on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 in Columbia, Maryland. Testimony must be submitted in writing in advance. The teleconference toll-free number is (866) 740-1260 and the Access Code is 3212002#. For additional information contact the SBA Office of National Ombudsman at 202-205-2417 or via email to

Remember that 3% withholding issue?

In the “good news” category, the 1/1/12 implementation of the government’s mandatory 3% withholding on all government contractor payments has been delayed by one year. Not rescinded, but at least delayed, this gives businesseswho do public works projects (federal, state and local) a little more breathing room to work on killing this unbelievably onerous requirement. Senator’s Snowe (R-ME) and Landrieu (D-LA) have both joined the chorus in applauding the delay and calling for rescission.

WCOE’s Advocate, Ann Sullivan, is asking all WCOE members to send in a brief paragraph describing how this 3% withholding will negatively affect their businesses. To refresh your memory, this new law requires that all federal, state and local contracts include a provision that 3% of the contract amount be withheld and sent in to IRS as a deposit against the company’s future income taxes. Think about the bookkeeping problem created with a Subchapter S corporation or LLC when the company does not pay taxes – the owner(s) pay the taxes on their personal tax return. Or, when a General Contractor gets 3% withheld from the contract payment and then passes that deduction along to subcontractor payments even though the subcontractor doesn’t get credit for the deduction with the IRS. Of course, you can add in the fact that many times a government contract doesn’t have more than 3% profit – so you would be working for no profit and effectively giving the government an interest-free loan until the end of the year when you can file your tax return and claim a refund.

Send your comments to and we will make sure they get entered into the Congressional record.

Please use WCOE as a resource!
Our new WCOE website is a valuable tool for you and your business. It is updated daily with new bid opportunities, messages from Capitol Hill and our Advocate (lobbyist), information about programs and sponsors and initiatives. We also have a survey question that helps us build information to better serve you. It changes weekly and you can instantly see the results of this and previous surveys. It’s a great way to see what your peers are thinking and doing! You can also now search for information about our members by name or by NAICS code if you are a WCOE member. Just go to and then bookmark it as a favorite!   

Free Webinars!

ConsensusDOCS TargetGov TargetGov

Wednesday, May 11
2:00-3:30pm ET

Topics include preliminary assumptions, project data, and contract documents;
relationship of the parties, authority of the A/E, Owner's and A/E's consultants; and communications with contractor/construction-phase services.

» Register now

Tuesday, May 17
3:30pm ET, 12:30pm PT

WIPP annually conducts a survey of its members to gain insight and information, assess the importance of economic issues, and evaluate the importance of policy issues relative to their businesses. During this webinar we'll discuss the data from WIPP's 2011 poll.

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Thursday, May 19
1pm ET, 10am PT

Every year, the US Federal Government builds, leases, renovates, and deconstructs millions of square feet in construction services every year. Attend the Construction Contracts: Build Your Business in the Federal Marketplace teleconference to learn more.

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