Gary Henry first came to Colorado Springs as a member of the Air Force. After he retired from military service, he joined the board of directors of the newly created Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Recently, he was named the PTAC’s third director, after Ken Knapp moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family.
In addition to his intimate knowledge of the military and its contracting systems, Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Montana and an MBA from the University of Colorado.
Henry took time to answer questions about his new role.
Why did you take on the role of executive director of the PTAC?
Since my retirement from the Air Force, I have had great opportunities to work with large both companies and more recently as a consultant in the government contracting arena. During this time I consistently saw many businesses struggling in pursuing and managing government contracts. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, with counselors positioned throughout the state, the Colorado PTAC is a federal, state and privately funded nonprofit entity whose sole purpose is to support businesses throughout the entire government acquisition process. Our counselors have the training and experience to support all Colorado businesses in pursuing, winning and administering federal, state and local government contracts. The Colorado PTAC is one of 94 PTACs throughout the country, with Kentucky being the only state without this important competitive enabling resource.
What are your goals in the first year on the job?
The Colorado PTAC has had tremendous success since its inception in 2009, with more than 4,000 Colorado businesses supported resulting in an estimated $1.7 billion in contracts translating into 35,000 jobs created or retained. We have done a great job of helping businesses get started in government contracts, and are in a position to expand our services in a variety of areas. Our first goal is to ensure we continue to maintain and increase our support to those Colorado businesses who desire to compete for and win government contracts. Our second goal is to continue to expand our branding and outreach to businesses throughout the state. There are many communities and businesses that we have not yet reached and who would benefit economically through our no-cost government contracting counseling services. This includes many large government prime contractors who are in need of capable and responsible Colorado businesses as subcontractors.
Finally, we have a goal to further the brand identity of the Colorado PTAC and to develop even better synergies with other local, state and federal agencies such as Small Business Development Centers, the Small Business Administration, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the various chambers and economic development entities throughout the state.
Our goal is to ensure Colorado businesses are awarded and effectively manage government contracts.”
What are some of the major challenges you face in your role at the PTAC?
The Colorado PTAC has shown its tremendous value to the economic development of Colorado through its government contracting counseling efforts demonstrated by bringing more than $1.7 billion in revenue to the Colorado economy. However, as with many organizations, our funding is always a constraint to sustainability and growth. The Colorado PTAC has been funded through the state Economic Development Commission (EDC), private cash and in-kind donations, which are combined and then matched by federal grant funding. After three years of EDC funding, an additional year of funding was put forth by the Colorado legislature and signed by Governor Hickenlooper last May. As a part of this bill, a task force was established to develop the most efficient and effective structure to ensure to the continued sustainability of the Colorado PTAC into the future. The task force is exploring several options, which I am confident will result in a long-term strategy to ensure this important program remains viable for years to come.
As government budgets tighten, how do you think businesses can best respond to obtain those government contracts?
Although it is true government budgets are in a period of reduction, there are still a significant amount of dollars available to companies desiring to have government contracting as a part of their business portfolio. Given that the competition for these contracts is very intense, those companies that are the most capable, responsible and compliant stand the best chance of winning an award at any level. Colorado PTAC can play an integral part in supporting this effort through contract compliance checks, proposal reviews and post-award contract administration guidance. Our goal is to ensure Colorado businesses are awarded and effectively manage government contracts, resulting in increased revenue and job creation thereby enabling the continued growth of the Colorado economy in total. n CSBJ