Event Calendar

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bid Protests-Practical Advice-When, Why and How

Start Date: 11/13/2018 7:30 AM EST
End Date: 11/13/2018 10:00 AM EST

Venue Name: Valo Park (formerly TEGNA)

7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA  United States  22102

Organization Name: SECAF Events

Julia Nelson
Email: info@secaf.org
Phone: 703-574-1117

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Member Forum: Bid Protests - Practical Advice - When, Why and How

For SECAF Members Only

Valo Park
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22101

Following the loss of a contract competition, small and emerging contractors may be eager to protest the loss but may not fully understand the protest process.  Protesting the government’s procurement decision is an important right that can be part of a larger business development strategy.  However, contractors should use the right sparingly and only when conditions warrant.  Our panelists, including a government procurement official, a GAO attorney, and representatives from industry will discuss the important considerations for a contractor facing a protest or no-protest decision, recent trends in the protest world and the success that contractors are seeing from filing protests.  The program will also include a brief overview of recent changes in protest rules.

Moderator:  Ryan Bradel, Partner, Ward & Berry, PLLC

  • Devon Hewitt, Partner, Protorae Law
  • Ed Rinkavage, President, Sehlke Consulting, LLC
  • Kathryn Szymanski, former senior government acquisition official and current consultant to government contractors
  • Evan Wesser, GAO senior attorney
Ryan Bradel has over a decade of experience in all aspects of federal, state, and local procurement law including representing and counseling companies in the defense, intelligence, contingency operations, private security/private military, base operations support (BOS), weapons manufacturing, construction, information technology, cybersecurity, healthcare, veterans’ affairs/administration, linguist/translation, and energy sectors.  Ryan focuses his practice on government contracts litigation matters. He has successfully represented both protestors and interveners/awardees in bid protests before the Court of Federal Claims, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and at the agency level including at the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ryan has also led the prosecution of multi-million-dollar claims before the Court of Federal Claims, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, and the Civilian Board of Contracts Appeals.  Ryan has cultivated a unique expertise in the Small Business Administration (SBA) government contracting programs and has guided companies to certification and effective participation in the SBA’s programs. Ryan counsel participants in the SBA government contracting programs on maintaining their status as they undergo ownership changes or pursue mentor-protégé arrangements, joint ventures, teaming agreements, and strategic alliances. Ryan has extensive experience litigating size protests, size appeals, and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) appeals before the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) and has helped shape significant legal precedents in this forum.

Devon Hewitt, a partner at Protorae Law PLLC, has over 20 years’ experience in the field of government contracts, representing small, mid-tier and large government contractors. She advises clients on a wide range of government contracting issues including  FAR compliance; small business contracting programs; intellectual property and data rights; GSA Schedule; the Service Contract Act; noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements; subcontracts and teaming arrangements; joint ventures; FOIA; due diligence and novations; contract claims; codes of ethics and business conduct; mandatory and voluntary disclosures; suspension and debarment; terminations; and government audits and investigations.

Ms. Hewitt also is a litigator and has represented clients in nearly 100 protests before federal agencies, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Government Accountability Office.  She is one of the few attorneys that has argued bid protest appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In addition, Ms. Hewitt represents clients in subcontract and other dispute matters in civil courts and in arbitrations.  Prior to joining Protorae Law, Ms. Hewitt was a partner at Piliero Mazza in DC and a partner in the Government Contracts practice of Pillsbury, a large, multi-national law firm.

Ms. Hewitt has authored numerous publications and taught a variety of courses on government contracts. She has served as a guest speaker for seminars sponsored by the National Contract Management Association, the Professional Services Council, the Washington Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Association, the Government Technology & Services Coalition, the Public Contracts Section of the American Bar Association, the Society of Military Engineers and other industry groups. Ms. Hewitt authored a treatise on Small Business Contracting Programs, which was published by Thompson Reuters in two parts at the end of 2010.  In 2012, Aspatore Books published the 2012 edition of its popular “Inside the Minds” series for government contractors which included a chapter written by Ms. Hewitt.  Ms. Hewitt also is a columnist for Bloomberg BNA’s Federal Contracts Report and a frequent blogger on government contracts issues.

Ms. Hewitt is a member of the Board of the Small Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF) and currently serves as Chair of its Legislative and Regulatory Committee.  Ms. Hewitt has been active in the government contracts bar, serving as a Council member for the ABA’s Public Contract Law Section, as Chair of the section’s Committee on Small Business, as an editor of the section’s publication, The Procurement Lawyer, and as a guest editor of the section’s publication on Service and Supply Subcontract Flowdowns.

Ms. Hewitt received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was an editor of the Journal of Law and Politics and a member of the school’s National Moot Court team. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Jose A. Fusté of the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico.  Ms. Hewitt graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College.

Mr. Rinkavage brings nearly 40 years of experience in the Defense, Civilian, Intelligence and Homeland Security sectors, ranging from operations, and acquisition management to business development and high-level strategic planning. In his role as Sehlke’s President, his focus is on strategic operations, financial performance and business development, as well as developing new client relationships.  Ed’s experience spans the federal contracting industry as a corporate executive and within the Department of Defense as a contracting officer, squadron commander and IG contracting inspector. Ed has authored several articles for national publication on acquisition reform, presented applicable concepts on the acquisition workforce, and change management and briefed senior procurement executives on these initiatives. He also has a proven and highly successful track record managing large-scale overseas specialized services worth over $1 Billion while advising senior military leaders in Europe on acquisition strategies. Ed led Air Force and multi-national contracting in the Balkans including programs in Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, and Bosnia as well as the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Ed is a member of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Alumni Association, Industry Advisory Council (IAC), Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), past president of NCMA Tysons Corner Chapter, is an NCMA Fellow, and is on the NCMA Executive Advisory Committee.

Kathryn Szymanski is the principal of a WOSB that provides consulting services for Government contracts and is a certified Executive Coach.  Kathi retired from the Federal Government after serving 37 years as an attorney and executive for the Army and DLA. She served as a member of the SES for 21 years receiving two Presidential Rank Awards for Meritorious Service.  Among other positions, Kathi served as the Chief Counsel for CECOM and for the AMC Legal Office at Rock Island Arsenal,  the AMC Command Counsel, the Executive Deputy to the Commanding General and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Infrastructure Analysis.  She is a graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law and holds a certificate in Electronic Law and Finance from New York University.  She is a proud shareholder and season ticket holder for the Green Bay Packers.

Evan Wesser is a Senior Attorney in the Procurement Law Section in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In that role, he hears and resolves bid protests. Mr. Wesser is also a member of GAO’s Contract Appeals Board, which hears and decides post-award contract disputes between government contractors and legislative branch agencies.  Prior to joining GAO, Mr. Wesser was in-house counsel at Computer Sciences Corporation where he represented the company's North American Public Sector in government contract matters. Before going in-house, Mr. Wesser was an associate in the Government Contracts & Disputes practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. In that role, Mr. Wesser represented government contractors in a wide range of litigation, counseling, and transactional matters.  Mr. Wesser is a 2008 graduate of the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, and a 2004 graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

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