LEI Achieves Federal HUBZone Certification

Norristown, PA — Service-disabled veteran-owned collection agency and call center Lien Enforcement, Inc. (LEI) today announced it has achieved Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certification through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to Federal procurement opportunities. The program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997.

LEI is now one of thirty-four (34) HUBZone-certified small businesses listed at www.sam.gov under the NAICS code for debt collection (561440). LEI’s leadership team has over 80 years of debt collection experience including 54 years collecting Federal student loans for The U.S. Department of Education (ED). Founded in 2010, LEI delivers exceptional value through a conscientious and ethical approach to collecting clients’ accounts.

Owner and founder Keith Baker said, “We look forward to offering our HUBZone certification along with our proven capabilities to Federal agencies and prime contractors that want to meet their spending goals in this area while helping to revitalize this community through good-paying jobs.”

Federal HUBZones are designated as such based on U.S. census data when an area has statistically proven economic needs, typically within depressed urban or rural communities. The SBA certifies firms as HUBZone small businesses if they meet all the eligibility requirements. For starters, the firm must be owned at least 51% by an American citizen, with few exceptions. The firm’s principal office must be located with a HUBZone, and more than 35% of the firm’s employees must live in a HUBZone. These requirements are just the beginning of establishing a business as a HUBZone-certified concern.

LEI is a member of the Fed Cetera Network, a business development organization under 48 CFR 52.219-9.

NextGen Bidders: Attend Expert Attorney Small Business Participation Plan Teleseminar

Collingswood, NJ — The Fed Cetera Network, a business development organization under 48 CFR 52.219-9, is pleased to offer U.S. Department of Education (ED) NextGen bidders the opportunity to join a one-hour teleseminar featuring nationally-recognized expert attorney and Fox Rothschild Partner Nicholas Solosky, Esq., on the small business participation provisions of ED solicitation 91003119R0008 (Business Process Operations or “BPO”).

The teleseminar will take place Friday, January 24, 2020, at 11:30 EST. NextGen bidders looking to avoid common mistakes seen in other recent Federal bids can register here.

Earlier this week, Amendment 8 of the BPO solicitation upped the ante even further on small business subcontracting, raising the goal to 47% (of Total Contract Value). This increase of fifteen percentage points represents over $100 million in additional, required small business spending during the first five years of the contract and forces bidders to consider adding more companies to their subcontracting plans for this crucial evaluation criteria, which unofficially acts as a tiebreaker where the other two evaluation criteria are scored equally among bidders.

The content of the call will cover:

  • The difference between a subcontracting plan and a small business participation plan
  • Common mistakes bidders make within the two documents
  • A quick overview on FAR 52.219 (d)(1) and 43 U.S.C. 1626, both referenced in Amendment 8
  • The distinction between expressing goals as a percentage of total contract dollars or as a percentage of subcontracted dollars
  • What questions to ask and what size standard should be used in validating a prospective subcontractor’s size depending on the work the bidder proposes for the subcontractor and the corresponding NAICS code(s)
  • What questions to ask in validating a prospective subcontractor’s status (SDB, HUBZone, SDVOSB, WOSB)
  • The art of taking your commitments far enough to succeed in the bid process while retaining flexibility in future subcontracting decisions during contract implementation
  • Sources of subcontractors to name in your proposal

With a new due date looming, there is no better time for NextGen bidders to make sure they have a full understanding of these crucial topics to avoid disqualification over small business participation issues at a time when ED’s focus on this has never been greater.

Last June, Fed Cetera held a similar teleseminar, which was well attended by bidders.

The discussion will be hosted by Nick Bernardo and Leah Wilson Conger of Fed Cetera, who manage the Fed Cetera Network’s relationships with dozens of small businesses of all statuses available to be named in NextGen bid submissions.

About Fed Cetera
Fed Cetera is a “business development organization” under 48 CFR 52.219-9 that firms contact when subcontracting opportunities are available in order to be fully compliant with Federal regulations requiring outreach to various sources of potential subcontractors.  The company maintains a source list of qualified small collection firms, regularly markets to the Federal contracting community, and provides advisory services around business development and compliance to firms operating in the Federal market place.

Student Loan Agency ACSI Recertifies as a Small Business

Nashville, TN — Automated Collection Services, Inc. (ACSI), based in Nashville, TN, today announced it has certified as a small business under North American Industry Classification code 561440, Debt Collection, on www.sam.gov.  This certification makes this longtime student loan collection agency qualified to be counted as a small business subcontractor on U.S. Department of Education (ED) Private Collection Agency (PCA) contracts and within bid submissions for ED’s NextGen Business Process Outsourcing solicitation now due on January 31, 2020.

This change is the result of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s recent rule adjusting the size standard upward for inflation in 95 service-based industries by 10%, from $15 million to $16.5 million.  The SBA requires most service companies to assert their size status by comparing the company’s average revenue over the last three fiscal years to the published threshold in a given industry.

ACSI has decades of experience in interacting with Federal student loan borrowers to answer questions and guide borrowers through all of the resolution options available for student loans today.  The company has successfully completed millions of business process transactions for leading guarantors over a period of decades, with a spotless compliance record.

President Rick Blair stated, “ACSI is committed to serving our clients with industry leading performance and compliance, with an emphasis on a positive consumer experience. We are excited about the opportunities this new certification presents us.”

ACSI is a member of the Fed Cetera Network, an organization comprising dozens of pre-qualified companies PCAs can hire to meet subcontracting goals, including those in all specially-designated socioeconomic groups. “With the best small business collection agencies among our members, it’s never been easier for PCAs and NextGen bidders to access so many highly-qualified small businesses like ACSI with a single phone call,” said Leah Wilson Conger of the Fed Cetera Network. “We will be responsive to required outreach in this important area.”

About ACSI

ACSI is a veteran owned small business based in Nashville TN, with over 30 years of experience in the accounts receivable industry. ACSI specializes in Higher Education, Healthcare, Government and Retail debt. They are consistently recognized on the Nashville Tennessean’s Top Workplaces list.

V&K Achieves Federal HUBZone Recertification

Lawrence, MAValentine & Kebartas, LLC (V&K), based in Lawrence, MA, today announced it achieved Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) recertification through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to Federal procurement opportunities. The program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997.

V&K has decades of service to student loan creditors, including current service to one of the largest and best-known guaranty agencies in the higher education sector.  Operational and regulatory requirements of collection agencies working for guarantors are highly comparable to those on Federal contracts like the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Private Collection Agency (PCA) contracts, the largest single Federal client for collection agencies.

V&K is one of thirty-one (31) HUBZone-certified small businesses listed at www.sam.gov under the NAICS code for debt collection (561440) with the capacity to collect Federal student loans and act as a contact center to communicate with borrowers.

V&K management offers decades of experience in the industry, with strong emphasis on operations and compliance. The close-knit management team believes personal connections are key to leveraging its talented and knowledgeable agents to ensure top performance and results.

Among other requirements, the Federal HUBZone program requires a firm’s principal office to be located within a Federal HUBZone, with no less than 35% of all employees residing in HUBZones.  V&K obtained the recertification to compete for opportunities to work as a subcontractor to PCAs.

Chief Operating Officer Scott Sweeney stated, “Our goal as a Certified HUBZone small business concern is to offer an experienced staff with a proven track record of delivering top performance and compliance to not only help clients meet their socio-economic quotas, but to enhance their results as a whole.”

V&K is a member of the Fed Cetera Network, an organization comprising dozens of pre-qualified companies PCAs can hire to meet subcontracting goals, including those in all specially-designated socioeconomic groups. “With most of the HUBZone-certified small business collection agencies among our members, it’s never been easier for PCAs to access so many highly-qualified HUBZone small businesses like V&K with a single phone call,” said Leah Wilson Conger of the Fed Cetera Network. “We will be responsive to PCA outreach in this important area.”

About V&K

V&K is a HUBZone-certified, privately-held national collection agency with its office located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. V&K handles outsourcing, primary, secondary and legal placements for a wide array of clients and for different receivables needs.  The firm employs roughly 150 representatives, with a majority of the business dedicated to higher education. The management team has an average of 22 years of industry experience. V&K is licensed and bonded to perform collection activities nationally. By building long-term relationships with their clients and providing excellent results, V&K provides security and peace of mind to their clients.

Roxanne Baker to HUBZone-Certified Secured Resolutions as President/CEO, Equity Member

BUFFALO, NY — Secured Resolutions, a certified-HUBZone, woman-owned small business (WOSB) in Western New York, has announced a transaction bringing Roxanne Baker to the firm as both an equity member and as its President and CEO, effective Tuesday, October 1, 2019. In this role, she will drive the ongoing operations of the company and its growth into new markets to include higher education and government.

Ms. Baker’s 21-year career has included stints at Pioneer Credit Recovery and West Asset Management (prior to its acquisition by Alorica) before her most recent, 11-year run with Coast Professional. Here, Roxanne started as a Vice President in 2007, with successive promotions corresponding with the company’s rise as a leading Federal contractor to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Roxanne most recently held the position of President at the company for three years before her departure last year.

Ms. Baker commented, “I am proud to become part of this all-woman owned agency. With 20-plus years of leading companies to consistent first-place finishes on ED contracts along with managing other student loan and government contracts, it made perfect sense to combine that experience with a thriving medical collection agency owned by two leaders who share the same vision. Secured Resolutions’ success is built on a theory of ethical and compliant collections while maintaining the highest returns for their clients. Our goal is to grow the current business line while adding student loan and government collections. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to what the future holds.”

Specializing in revenue recovery services, Secured Resolutions’ executive team has extensive experience with accounts receivable management and a proven track record with medical collections and servicing ED and other student loan clients. A member of ACA International with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, the company is located in Buffalo, N.Y.

Co-founder Laura Hirsch said, “Lisa True and I are thrilled with the addition of Roxanne as our new business partner. Over the last 5 years, we worked to position the company for growth by becoming women-owned and HUBzone-certified. Our missing link was an experienced industry leader with a proven track record to take Secured Resolutions to the next level. We are looking forward to significant growth with Roxanne’s experience and leadership and are excited to expand our services to include student loans and government collections.”

Secured Resolutions is a member of the Fed Cetera Network, a business development organization under 48 CFR 52.219-9.

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SDVOSB Agency Seeks Mentor, Executive Talent for Higher Education Growth

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Sabatina & Associates, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), is seeking a partner and mentor with which to form joint ventures to pursue various government contracts through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s All Small Mentor Protégé Program.

The program allows the parties to form joint ventures able to assert the SDVOSB status of the protégé firm and receive preferential treatment in Federal contracting opportunities, for example. The mentor can perform up to 60% of a resulting joint venture’s work and own up to a 40% interest in the protégé also. Any qualified business can become a mentor under the program. The U.S. Department of Education (ED), for example, a significant client to the debt collection industry, has never met its prime spending goals for SDVOSBs in any spending year for which data is available going back to 2006, and has only sporadically met SDVOSB subcontracting goals.

Joint ventures can also be formed to compete for subcontracts. ED solicitation 91003119R0008 (NextGen Business Process Operations) calls for contractors to spend 3% of contract revenue with SDVOSBs. For every $1 billion spent with contractors by ED for what is expected to be a massive, long-term Federal contract, a 3% spending requirement equates to $30 million in required spending with SDVOSBs. Sabatina & Associates can also easily move into a Federal HUBZone and become certified in that program as well.

Potential mentors and individuals with long résumé in Federal contracting interested in discussing opportunities should call 215-742-8600 and ask to speak with Mr. John Sabatina.

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