A Conversation on MEDC’s partnership with the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers of Michigan

Courtney Overbey

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Connecting businesses to available resources helps Michigan’s economy grow. Bobby Chasnis, director of Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), sits down with Beth Cryderyman Moss, president of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers of Michigan (PTAC), to discuss their combined efforts to connect Michigan businesses with government contracts.

See below for excerpts and key insights from the conversation and watch the full 30-minute livestream to learn more.

Lenders like PTAC provide federal contracting opportunities and resources to suppliers across Michigan

Beth: Founded in the mid-1980s, PTAC—Procurement Technical Assistance Centers—is a Department of Defense (D.O.D) program administered by the Defense Logistics Agency and originally designed to ensure a broad base of suppliers meet D.O.D. initiatives. We found there were enough small business, or a broad base of suppliers, to participate in these initiatives to support warfighters in times of need.

Today, we receive a source of matching funds from the MEDC, who rightfully recognized that not only is this a way to ensure we have a broad base of suppliers supporting our nation's defense industry, but it’s also a very viable economic development tool for folks and firms to diversify into federal contracting. We have since expanded our mission to envelop any type of federal contracting with support through one-on-one counseling and training through our 10 locations statewide.

PTAC works with the MEDC to find providers a business match that works

Beth: We would put a blast out to our client base, if there was a prime contractor looking for a specific capability or source of supply that they needed to fill the conditions of their contract. Understanding the positive role that PMBC could play to streamline that matchmaking process, PTAC shifted focus on serving our clients and providing the information they need to position themselves correctly within the marketplace so they can be successful. It really became a win-win as we started partnering with PMBC, who could provide the technical know-how and depth of knowledge it takes to accurately position a company for success.

We recently had an event last month in collaboration with PMBC and Boeing Corporation where we had 60 different one-on-one meetings with 50 companies out of the 200 in attendance. That was just a great example of collaboration between PMBC and PTACs of Michigan.

Bobby: That speaks of the marrying of the two organizations to ensure PMBC can take the logistics and the technology platform so PTAC can focus on more of that in-depth analysis of those needs and really highlighting any suppliers that can fulfill those. PMBC frequently works with buyers to help uncover procurement opportunities, but we are not completely understanding of all the needs. I think it's a fantastic resource for PMBC to tap on the PTAC of Michigan.

Any size business can take advantage of PMBC and PTAC programs

Bobby: We handle any businesses from small, medium and large, from one to two employees all the way up to 500. For PMBC, that is what we look for, there's not really a “too big or too small” to start the process.

Beth: I do believe there is a little bit of a misnomer out there that PTAC only serves small businesses or can only work with small businesses and that is not the truth. Our target market is the small business community. We are part of the Defense Logistics Agency Small Business Program Office. However, we are not limited to working with only small businesses. So, it can be a one or two person, LLC or partnership to a large corporation. We can insert ourselves to aid where needed.

The PTAC and PMBC partnership provides resources at a local, regional and national level

Bobby: I think it is valuable how PTAC sees a lot of individuals or procurement representatives, and if there are no solutions in the state, you have access to find those types of solutions nationwide. I love the fact you start regional in state—as we want to support our local communities here—but there are no barriers preventing you from reaching outside of the state. Pure Michigan Business Connect is a state program, and we do like to find solutions in Michigan, but it's great to have another resource like PTAC.

Beth: Absolutely, and Michigan is a diverse state. We have very urban and very rural communities, and some very sparsely populated and very populated areas. And of course, the needs of the businesses in those communities are very, very different. At a local level, each individual PTAC office can really drill down into what are the specific barriers and needs because they live and work in those communities.

PTAC of Michigan understands the needs and barriers a company may be up against—both on a local and a statewide level. We can then bring all that knowledge together to uplift a particular capability to the forefront on a larger platform to provide more visibility for the company.

Virtual events help connect businesses in innovative and accessible ways

Bobby: We are looking forward to having a couple more matchmaking events this upcoming August. Really what those what those events provide is an opportunity for us to dive into the virtual format and have typical purchasers reach out to a greater audience. One of the benefits of having virtual events is that we can reach out to suppliers in some of those sparsely populated areas of the state. We don't have to have them drive downstate, across the state, whatever it may be, to have access or to learn more about them. I appreciate the willingness of PTAC to really to help us uncover that demand and then utilize our services on our side to spread it out to the network to get them involved.

Beth: Sparsely populated areas that find it difficult to have the physical one-on-one meetings can still attend the virtual environment providing that opportunity. That same scenario applies to the buyer and federal organizations that may not necessarily be able to send someone physically to a matchmaking event or meeting.

Michigan businesses experience significant results from government contracts and support from the PTAC of Michigan

Beth: The PTACs collaboratively get together, and we do what we call a PTAC Impact Statement. I believe it was about $1.2 billion in contract award activity that the 10 PTAC centers throughout the state of Michigan helped secure for Michigan companies. Every $1 invested by the MEDC had about a $400 return on investment. So, it is significant, and many of those vendors would not have had the success they have had, had it not been for an expert resource walking them through the process.

For more information about PTACs of Michigan, go to ptacsofmichigan.org.

To learn more about PMBC and the resources available to suppliers and buyers, please visit michiganbusiness.org/pmbc.

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