Program helps N.H. firm fly high with federal contracts

One key to success in business is being aware, and taking advantage, of opportunities. But how can you be certain you can spot all the opportunities, and that you best allocate your time to take full advantage of them?

One place to find the answers is the New Hampshire Business Resource Center, which provides help through its Procurement Technical Assistance Program, or PTAP.

PTAP, sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency, is a federal program that provides specialized and customized assistance to companies to sell products and services to the federal government. PTAP also assists in many connections with local and state governments.

“PTAP is a service we are thrilled to offer our clients,” said Business Resource Center Director Roy Duddy. “Each client presents a unique situation, and PTAP’s strength comes from its ability to provide customized solutions for each client.”

For example, PTAP recently worked with Air Planning LLC of Salem, assisting in the securing of a contract with the University of Illinois. The program is continuing to provide assistance on a daily basis.

“Thanks to PTAP we are able to wade through all the paperwork that is part of a federal bid process that many companies struggle with,” said Air Planning Vice President Scott Bickford. “They have given us very good guidance.”

Air Planning provides air charter services, private jet charter aircraft, charter airline leasing, aircraft charter, air cargo and related aviation services for charter flight operations. The company employs commercial airliners, private jet aircraft, turbines and helicopters.

Bickford said he first began working with PTAP after his company had been awarded a federal contract through the federal Department of Homeland Security. Martha Keene of PTAP called Bickford to congratulate him on the contract and to offer PTAP’s services.

“The federal government was difficult to work with,” said Bickford. “And even though we were awarded the contract it was a time-consuming process. Without PTAP’s assistance, I’m not sure we’d be able to continue pursuing these contracts.”

Other services

With PTAP’s assistance, Bickford has sought and won additional federal and state contracts, including the contract with the University of Illinois to provide transportation for the women’s basketball team. Air Planning will provide private jet charter services for the basketball team using an MD80 aircraft configured with 74 leather business-class seats and specifically designed for athletic team travel.

“PTAP helped us at the state level to streamline the process,” said Bickford. “We were able to put our resources into answering the bid, not deciphering it. Working with them, we have been very successful.”

“PTAP’s work, and this project in particular, shows the breadth and depth of the Business Resource Center’s expertise,” said Duddy. “We don’t just work with large corporations or manufacturers. In fact, the majority of our work is done with small, entrepreneurial companies just like Air Planning.”

Air Planning uses PTAP’s Softshare I-Search, which connects the company with federal contracts on a daily basis.

Using a set of criteria provided by Air Planning, Softshare e-mails federal bids to Bickford each day. The bids are specifically tailored to Air Planning, and Bickford selects those that he thinks best fit his business.

“It’s like having another person in the office I don’t have to pay for,” said Bickford. “It’s a full-time job just to manage the bid list. PTAP really opens doors and makes this easier for us.”

Along with Softshare, PTAP offers specific assistance in a variety of areas, including:

• Market research

• Identifying business codes, including SIC, NAICS and FSC

• Registering on all appropriate Web sites

• Matching a firm’s product or service with that being purchased by the federal government

• Interpretation of solicitations

• Obtaining specifications

• Locating federal acquisition regulations

• Process management skills

As with other Business Resource Center products, all PTAP services are free to New Hampshire businesses. PTAP also schedules seminars, which include a basic class introducing businesses to the world of federal contracting.

In addition, PTAP conducts more advanced seminars dealing with specific issues of interest to client companies. All courses are open forum, and sufficient time is allowed to enable businesses to ask any questions and receive responsive, reliable answers.

For more information about PTAP services, contact Brad Martin at 271-2341 or visit

This article was provided by the New Hampshire Business Resource Center.

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