VETS 2020

Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS)

May 26 - 29, 2020 in San Antonio, TX, is a Business Development Conference created by Veterans for Veterans.

Follow up with the contacts you made in Reno – click on the link below to download the 2014 Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) attendees list*.

Download the 2014 Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium Attendee list here. 

*Please note: This list will be available until July 24, 2014. All registrants had the option to opt-out of the list and actual conference attendance was higher.  




Welcome to the VETS2014 Speaker Documents and Resource page. This webpage will serve as your home base for important information you may need for planning and preparation leading up to the conference.

Please click the category below to view and download specific files.



Marketing Materials

Presentation Materials

  • PowerPoint Template
    (Note: all speakers are required to us the VETS template unless otherwise approved by conference management)

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Patrick Merkel with the Conference Management Team.

Mr. Patrick Merkel
Speaker Coordinator, VETS2014
Event Planner, AetherQuest Solutions, Inc.
Phone: (571) 297-4025

ConferenceGuide Cover VETS2014Curious what happened at the 2014 Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS)? Download the VETS2014 program Guide with details on the schedule of events, educational sessions, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, attending Federal agencies, and more.

Click here to download the 2014 Program Guide (pdf)


Click the image to download
the 2014 Program Guide

Please find the speaker presentations for the 2017 Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) below. All presentations are in .pdf format.

A1. CVE Verification Protection: Everything You Need To Know

A2. Marketing & Capability Statement

A3. Joint VenturesThat Win: How It's Done

A4. Set The Table for Success: Growth Strategies for Gov Con Companies

B1. Managing Growth & Success: Sustainability for Mature Small Businesses & Mid-Tier Firms

B2. Teaming In Today's World

B3. International Contracting

B4. Don’t Fear Change

C1. Prime Contractors Workshop

C2. Planning Your Exit

C3. Unlock the Perfect Federal Opportunity

C4. Financing is Available for Startup and Existing Companies

D1. Are You Ready for Your Next Audit: Preparation and Best Practices on Dealing with Auditors

D2: Doing Business with UNICOR

D3. Federal Supply Schedules

D4. Debriefing and Bid Protest




Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of the National Security Agency

General Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the CIA and the first principal deputy director of national intelligence at a time when the course of world events was changing at an accelerating rate. As the head of the country's keystone intelligence-gathering agency, he was on the frontline of geopolitical uncertainty and the war on terrorism.

From 1999-2005, Hayden had served as the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and chief of the Central Security Service. He worked to put a human face on the famously secretive agency. Sensing that the world of information was changing rapidly, Hayden directed an effort to explain to the American people the role of the NSA and to make it more visible on the national scene.

General Hayden dissects the political situations in the hot spots in every corner of the world, analyzing the tumultuous global environment and what it all means for the American people and America's interests. He is also able to speak on the challenges of managing complex organizations in times of stress, as well as describe the potential benefits and dangers associated with the cyber domain.

Rocky  Bleier


Rocky Bleier’s life story is a tale of courage on both the football fields of America and the battlefields of Vietnam. Born in Appleton Wisconsin, he attended the University of Notre Dame; won a National Championship and was also elected Captain of his team his senior year.

He was picked in 16th round of the NFL draft, and made the Pittsburgh Steelers team. Toward the end of his rookie season, he was drafted again, this time by Uncle Sam, sent to Vietnam, and suffered severe rifle and grenade wounds to his legs and feet.

He overcame his injuries through a relentless therapy program, rejoined the Steelers and went on to star in the NFL. After 12 seasons, 4 Super Bowls, rushing for a thousand yards in one season, he retired from football.



Inspirational SpeakerRichard Picciotto

The highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse, and the last fireman to escape the devastation, Richard "Pitch" Picciotto was on a stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors of the North Tower when it collapsed on September 11, 2001. An FDNY battalion commander, his is the harrowing true story of an American hero, a man who thought nothing of himself and gave nearly everything for others during one of our nation's darkest hours. Picciotto tells an outspoken account of that indelible day, shaking and inspiring audiences to the core.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Picciotto answered the call heard around the world. In minutes he was at Ground Zero of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, acting boldly to save innocent lives as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center began to burn—and then to buckle. Already a veteran of terrorist attacks, Picciotto was present fighting a similar battle after the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993. Again inside the North Tower, where he found himself years earlier, burdened by an eerie sense of familiarity, he focused his concentration on the rescue efforts at hand. But it was there in the smoky stairwells that he heard and felt the South Tower collapse. He then made the call for firemen and rescue workers to evacuate, while he stayed behind with a skeleton team of men to assist a group of disabled and infirm civilians in their struggle to evacuate the inferno. And it was there in the rubble of the North Tower that Picciotto found himself buried for more than four hours after the building's collapse.

Having discovered that members of his team and a 59-year-old grandmother also were alive nearby, he and his men used their radios to send out Mayday calls until they made contact with a firefighter on the ground, and a search party was dispatched. When the light finally appeared about four stories above, he climbed upwards, reached the top, and saw the "unfathomable, mind-boggling destruction." And even then, it was not until after he organized the rescue of the others that he walked across the rubble to safety.

Picciotto's book, Last Man Down, is a tribute to the 343 firefighters and 2,400 civilians who lay dead in the rubble that surrounded him on that day. And moreover, it is a heartfelt remembrance of a day of infamy and profound humanity. The book was an immediate New York Times bestseller upon its release in May 2002.

Chief Picciotto is also a former New York City police officer, and has served as a fire marshal, an arson investigator, a lieutenant, and a captain prior to becoming chief in 1992. He is a 28-year veteran of the FDNY, and for the past nine years, he has presided over the department's Battalion 11, covering Manhattan's Upper West Side. He is the recipient of departmental awards and commendations for his bravery and meritorious service.



Steven Schooner Nash and Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement LawNash & Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement Law
George Washington University Law School

STEVEN L. SCHOONER is the Nash & Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement Law and Co-Director of the Government Procurement Law Program at the George Washington University Law School, where he previously served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Before joining the faculty, Professor Schooner was the Associate Administrator for Procurement Law and Legislation (a Senior Executive Service position) at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  He previously tried cases and handled appeals in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Department of Justice.  He also practiced with private law firms and, as an Active Duty Army Judge Advocate, served as a Commissioner at the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.  As an Army Reserve officer, he served for more than fifteen years as an Adjunct Professor in the Contract and Fiscal Law Department of the Judge Advocate General's School of the Army, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Outside of the U.S., he has advised hundreds of government officials on public procurement issues, either directly or through multi-government programs.  His dispute resolution experience includes service as an arbitrator, mediator, neutral, and ombudsman.

Professor Schooner received his Bachelors degree from Rice University, Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary, and Master of Laws (with highest honors) from the George Washington University.  He is a Fellow of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), a recipient of NCMA’s Charles A. Dana Distinguished Service Award, a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM), and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Procurement Round Table.  He is a Faculty Advisor to the American Bar Association's PUBLIC CONTRACT LAW JOURNAL and a member of the GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR Advisory Board.  He is author or co-author of numerous publications including THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS REFERENCE BOOK: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE LANGUAGE OF PROCUREMENT (now in its fourth edition).



Cy Alba.PilieroMazza PLLC


PilieroMazza PLLC

Cy Alba is a partner with PilieroMazza PLLC and practices primarily in the area of government contracts.  Cy counsels clients in a broad range of government contracting matters, including: overall regulatory compliance; counseling on a wide variety of small business issues, including compliance with the SBA’s HUBZone, Woman Owned, Service Disabled Veteran Owned, and 8(a) programs, the prosecution or defense of small business size and status protests and appeals before the SBA and its Office of Hearings and Appeals; the prosecution or defense of bid protests before the U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; defense of suspensions and debarments; the preparation and negotiation of contracts, subcontracts, teaming agreements, joint venture agreements, and mentor-protégé agreements; the preparation and pursuance of claims and requests for equitable adjustment to a wide variety of federal agencies; and ITAR compliance and the preparation of technical assistance agreements and/or manufacturing licensing agreements for the export of defense articles and data.  Cy also assists PilieroMazza clients with general litigation matters in state and federal courts.

Cy Alba is currently a member of the Massachusetts Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Bar of the United States Court of Federal Claims, the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Bar of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


Diane Dempsey BAE SystemsDIANE DEMPSEY

Director, Socio Economic Business Programs
BAE Systems Intelligence & Security

Ms. Dempsey’s career spans over 25 years in the field of procurement, subcontracts and supplier diversity.  Currently the Director, Socio Economic Business Programs at BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, Ms. Dempsey has also been a small business advocate for the Hughes Corporation, Northrop Grumman, DynCorp, and CSC. She is active in the small business community, serving as the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council, Second Vice Chair, former Chair, VA Minority Supplier Development Council and current Chair,  Community Business Partnership, Board of Directors.  She has co-chaired the Veterans in Business Conference for eight consecutive years.  She is Co-Chair for the TRIAD Organization and active in both AFCEA and NDIA Small Business Committees.

Ms. Dempsey is a former adjunct professor teaching a variety of business and acquisition classes at Northern VA Community College and Stratford University for five years. She was named 2005 Instructor of the Year, Stratford University.  She is also an instructor for the Alliance of Supplier Diversity Professionals Certification Program.  She received her B.S. from Mary Washington College, Certificate in Contracts & Procurements, University of Virginia, and Masters Certificate in Procurement & Supply Chain Management, MS and MBA from the University of Maryland.  She is also a certified supplier diversity professional.





President and Chief Executive Officer
Scott Group of Virginia, LLC

Scott Denniston is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Scott Group of Virginia, LLC. The Scott Group provides strategic business development services to small businesses in the Federal marketplace. The Scott Group additionally facilitates partnerships and alliances between large and small businesses to compete on Federal contract opportunities as well as identify potential small business subcontractors and partners.

Mr. Denniston also serves as the Executive Director for the National Veteran Small Business Coalition whose mission is to transition veterans into business owners and ensure the Federal acquisition field is fair for all veteran owned small businesses. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Freedom Foundation and the American Small Business Coalition.

Previously, Mr. Denniston was the Director, Office of Small Business Programs and the Center for Veterans Enterprise at the Department of Veterans Affairs. During his tenure, the VA was a leader in awards to all categories of small businesses consistently spending over $3 billion with small business. He has held numerous management positions with the Small Business Administration. He is also active in the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and is past chair of the Small Business Committee of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).

He was born in Somerville, New Jersey. He received a B.A. degree in Economics from Waynesburg College and a M.S. degree in Government from Southern Illinois University. He is also a veteran, having served in the US Army.



GMG Management

Susan Gerbing, PMP, CFCM is a recognized expert in Government contracting and program management most notably in Health Care and Information Technology.  Susan is a national business consultant, author, mentor, speaker, and during the past 36 years has managed more than $10 Billion of large complex contracts and projects in both the U.S. Federal Government and industry.  She is the recipient of numerous national and business awards for her teaching, consulting, and leadership.

Susan founded gMg Management, Inc., in 2008 to support Federal agency acquisition and strategic planning goals as well deliver an array of Federal acquisition training topics to Federal contract and program personnel and small businesses.  Susan leads an executive team of Federal acquisition and program management experts who provide clients with strategic planning, program/contract management, business process improvement, as well as training and facilitation services. She is experienced in all phases of project management and Government contracts for goods, services, health care, construction, information technology, research and development. Susan has expert functional fluency in the Federal Acquisition Regulation and operated with a Federal Unlimited Warrant over 25 years.  Susan enjoys traveling, writing, and gardening in her Northeast West Virginia home. (Word count 198)




President & CEO
HeiTech Services, Inc.

Heidi W. Gerding is an entrepreneur, accomplished business leader – and wife and a mother of four, who holds the distinction of being the first woman from Minnesota to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. After leaving the Navy, her leadership and organizational skills placed her in management positions of increasing responsibility with Washington-area management services firms contracting with the Federal Government. She advanced from Project Manager for one firm to President of Operations for another. While directing projects, she gained extensive experience in the intelligent application of technologies, finding great satisfaction in developing sensible solutions to clients' needs.

In October 1999, Ms. Gerding formed HeiTech Services to provide management consulting and information technologies services to the Federal Government. She based the company’s founding principles of Honor, Excellence, and Innovation on ideas learned as part of the Naval Academy’s Honor Concept. As an active business owner, she leads employees by example, through her own dedication and commitment to her work, to incorporate the founding principles into all aspects of the business, provide exceptional customer service to her clients, and nurture the professional and personal needs of her employees. Her leadership efforts have been rewarded with steady growth and recognition.


Marc Goldschmitt Goldschmitt and Associates LLCMARC GOLDSCHMITT

Goldschmitt and Associates LLC

For more than 40 years, Marc’s career has included military, federal and commercial employment and procurement.  Through multiple periods of active duty, he has experienced several transitions from military to civilian careers.  As a Service Disabled Veteran, small business owner and certified Project Management Professional (PMP) Marc’s small business employee and ownership experience includes both commercial and federal procurement. 

Marc has been active as a Veteran Advocate and serves on the VET Force Executive Committee, the VVA Economic Opportunity Committee, The National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) board of directors and The American Legion Small Business Task Force. 

He has become a nationally recognized subject matter expert (SME) on VA Verification and has represented NVSBC at conferences, roundtables and meetings with VA, Veterans groups and Congress.  As a SDVOSB owner, he has provided comprehensive and insightful testimony to Joint HSBC and HVAC committee hearings.




President & CEO
OBXtek Inc.

Ed Jesson retired as an Acquisition Officer from the Army in May of 1987 and has more than 30 years of contract management, marketing, and high level management experience at multiple levels within the Federal Government and private industry.  Managed numerous contracting and logistic organizations within the Federal Government, and has a proven record of building young companies and successfully managing their operations.  In seven years (1997-2003) grew Premier Technology Inc. (PTG) from 3 employees and $425,000 of revenue to a company of 482 employees with revenues for 2002 of over $45.0 million and $65m backlog for 2003. Directed the acquisition process and sold PTG to CACI in May 2003. Currently Ed is President of OBXtek Inc. which is a verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that opened its doors in 2008 as a consulting firm and incorporated in April 2009. OBXtek currently has 178 employees and over $80 million in contract backlog.

Ed holds a BA degree in Economics and Political Science and a Master Degree in Accounting from California State University-Humboldt. He and his wife Juliet are strong supporters of the OBX/Corolla Wounded Warriors Program and other numerous veteran programs.


Tom Johnson Set Aside AlertsTOM JOHNSON

President & Publisher
Set-Aside Alert

Tom has been in the federal marketing and sales industry for over 25 years, focusing on content products that include government materials. For four years he headed a highly productive sales team selling databases and org charts of government officials. The products include information on people, places and programs throughout all levels – federal, state, county and municipal. The company’s services combine text with graphics, photos, navigation icons, and its proprietary dynamic charting capability.

He has negotiated numerous GSA and VA Schedule contracts for a variety of products and services companies. He consults for numerous government contractors, including major business publishers, software companies and other government suppliers. He advises on government-oriented product development and government sales issues. He has conceived and built new technology information products, e-commerce catalog sales websites, and content databases covering medical research equipment and supplies. He conducted financial simulations for utility and industrial companies and for product/equipment tradeoff and system analysis, and developed government market analysis tools over a twenty-year period.

Independently, Tom also publishes Set-Aside Alert, a government sales newsletter, and directories of minority- and woman-owned businesses and market researchers. He is a past president of the National Directory Publishing Association. He has a BSChE and MSIA from Purdue University.


Wayne Keup Wayne A Keup PLLCWAYNE KEUP

Wayne A. Keup, PLLC

Wayne Keup-- after more than 3 decades as a government contracts attorney with “Big Law”  in Washington, DC -- formed Wayne A. Keup, PLLC in 2005 to represent mostly small and medium sized businesses in their contractual dealings with federal and state governments, in a wide variety of regulatory matters, in bid and size protests, and in claims and litigation avoidance. Before entering private practice he served as a senior trial attorney for the Office of the General Counsel, Department of the Navy.    He also served as an unrestricted line officer in the U.S. Navy for seven years. 




David Kriegman has spent 30 years growing and managing companies that provide services to the government.  

At SRA International, Mr. Kriegman served in many leadership roles from project manager to chief operating officer during a time when SRA grew from $5M in annual revenue to over $1B.  Before becoming SRA’s COO, Mr. Kriegman was the director of Defense Systems.  He grew that business from $48M to over $400M in seven years.  While he was a senior manager at SRA, the company was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For and by Washingtonian magazine as one the best places to work in the D.C. area.

After leaving SRA, Mr. Kriegman became president of a venture capital-backed start-up and later served as president of a company formed through multiple acquisitions.  

Currently Mr. Kriegman serves as CEO of Z2B, LLC, a firm established to help other companies achieve their strategic growth goals.  His clients include companies of all sizes, from start-ups to established companies with revenue over $10B.  Kriegman is the author of Zero to a Billion: 61 Rules Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Grow a Government Contracting Business.





TargetGov at Marketing Outsource Associates, Inc.

Gloria Larkin, President of TargetGov, is a nationally-recognized government contracting marketing and business development expert. She is the author of: "The Basic Guide to Government Contracting" and "The Veterans Business Guide: How to Build a Successful Government Contracting Business". She was recently featured on MSNBC, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, INC Magazine, Entrepreneur Start-ups Magazine, and Government Executive Magazine. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and is the past National Procurement Committee Co-Chair for Women Impacting Public Policy, a non-partisan organization representing over 1,000,000 members.

She has spoken at international, national, regional and local conferences including the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Business Women's Summit, the Annual OSDBU Procurement Conference and the Annual National Veteran's Conference regarding practical, bottom-line focused business development best practices. She also has delivered motivational speeches to the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business and the University Of Maryland Robert H Smith School Of Business and was adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Continuing Education.

Among other honors, she was named the 2010 Maryland Women in Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the 2010 Enterprising Women of the Year Awardee.




Senior Area Manager
U.S. Small Business Administration, Nevada

David Leonard is the Branch Manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) office in Reno, Nevada and responsible for the delivery of all SBA programs and services to new and existing small business owners in Nevada outside Clark county. His office is located in Reno at 300 Booth Street, Suite 3065.
During his SBA career, David has served as SBA chief of economic development in Alabama, SBA chief of finance and portfolio management in Georgia, SBA surety bond chief for Area II that included 18 states, a national examiner of SBA preferred lenders throughout the U.S. and its territories, and a disaster loan officer. David has an MBA in finance and international business from Georgia State University.



Brian LIndholm FedSavvy  StrategiestBRIAN LINDHOLM

Founder & CEO
FedSavvy Strategies

Brian Lindholm is the Founder and CEO of FedSavvy Strategies, a company that helps professional services businesses realize business development success in the federal market. FedSavvy Strategies enables success through actionable market intelligence and capture support. 

With nearly 20 years in the industry, he has experience as a business developer, marketer and consultant for companies that have succeeded in the federal market. Most recently, Brian worked at URS Corporation (URS), a Fortune 500 technical services company. He served as the Director of Marketing Communications and Research for URS' Federal Services $2.5B/year business. 

He has also worked as a consultant to dozens of clients throughout his career ranging from large multinational corporations to start-ups.  Sectors served included information technology, engineering and technical services, management consulting services, and business process outsourcing. 

Brian served six years in the U.S. Navy as a Supply Corps officer at multiple duty stations to include a tour onboard the USS WASP (LHD-1) and Navy Recruiting Command.  His military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Brian holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MBA from George Mason University.



Mark J. Lumer is the most decorated civilian contracting official in the history of the U.S. Army. He served as a contracting officer for 23 years, as a Director of Contracts for 13 years, and spent 4 years writing the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS). He has received 10 medals in his career, including a Presidential Rank Award and almost every possible award from AbilityOne, the organization that represents folks with disabilities. He served three times in Iraq, and was selected by the White House and DoD to represent the United States in 22 countries around the world. He is an internationally recognized author and guest speaker, and is included in multiple "Who's Who" editions.






President, Strategies for Small Business
Director, Marketing
Superior Financial Group

Sue is the number one provider, SBA Patriot Express Program and SBA Export Express and director of marketing for Superior Financial Group.  Sue’s involvement began with the program’s inception in 2002. Since then, Sue has helped fund over 41,000 SBA loans, which include Patriot Express loans, Export Express, Community Express and now Small Lender Advantage v.2 and became the largest SBA lender by volume.  Her goal is to fund 100,000 small businesses.  

Sue sits on several national boards focused on veterans and entrepreneurship.  Including, the President of the nonprofit, American Economic Empowerment.  And co-founded Women’s Military Exchange: Operation Next Step.  Plus one of the founders of

Sue is the President and CEO of the on line company which helps contractors across the nation with easy and cost efficient lien forms

Sue’s Background
For over ten years, Sue served as the CFO and Vice President of a commercial and industrial real estate firm in Northern California.  In addition, Sue was the first woman-parking operator in the United States with seven parking facilities in San Francisco.  Sue is a serial entrepreneur and has started over seven businesses.   She holds an MBA from St. Mary’s College.




Managing Partner
PilieroMazza PLLC

Pamela J. Mazza is the managing partner of PilieroMazza PLLC, a Washington D.C. law firm that assists small to mid-sized government contractors with their government contracting, corporate, labor and employment, and litigation needs.

Ms. Mazza counsels clients on all aspects of government contracts law, including compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and the rules governing the federal set-aside programs. She advices government contractors on strategic relationships with subcontractors, joint venture partners and mentors and on developing corporate policies and procedures to attract key employees and business partners while protecting eligibility to participate in set-aside programs. Ms. Mazza and her team also file and defend size and eligibility challenges and bid protests. Ms. Mazza is a frequent speaker at national conferences and conducts in house training for corporations on small business compliance and government contracting issues.

Ms. Mazza serves as general counsel for the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, the National Veterans Small Business Coalition and the Small Environmental Business Action Coalition. She is a founding member and frequent instructor of the MCCC Veterans Institute for Procurement and GovConNet Institute. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Women Impacting Public Policy and received their 2012 President’s Award for the training and leadership assistance she provides.



Vice President of Business Development

Rick Meggison is the Vice President of Business Development for OBXtek.  OBXtek is an IT Services Provider that has been recognized as one of the fastest growing small-business-government contractors in the National Capital Region.  Rick lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife Kathy and has held several senior management positions supporting Business Development functions at both the State and Federal level.  He graduated Cum Laude with a MBA in Entrepreneurial Business Management and an undergraduate degree in Organizational Business Management from Eastern University in Saint David, Pennsylvania.




Senior Business Development Specialist
SDVOSB Coordinator

Business Development, Customer Outreach & Vendor Support Branch
U.S. General Services Administration

Mr. James Nicols currently serves as Senior Business Development Specialist for the Business Development, Customer Outreach & Vendor Support Branch in Region 2 of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service.

In this role, he oversees all business development and contractor support efforts for more than 1300 GSA Schedule contract holders who provide an extensive portfolio of product and service offerings under GSAs Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. He also provides pre-Award and business development advisory assistance to hundreds of small and mid-tier businesses through his leadership role in GSA's 21 Gun Salute Initiative. This program is GSAs national initiative to promote business opportunities for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).

Mr. Nicols, a Vietnam-era and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF/Afghanistan) veteran, brings more than 30 years of Government Business Development experience to his position. As a dual-hatted Cryptology/Intelligence Officer in the Naval Reserve, Jim retired in 2004 as a LCDR after a long career with the Program Support Office of NSA's Special Operations Branch. Mr. Nicols is also a former Foreign Service Officer with the Intelligence & Research Branch of the US State Department having served in Moscow, Warsaw, Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Nicols also spearheaded veteran outreach efforts for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VISN3), in Manhattan before joining GSA in 1995, and was responsible for targeting NYCs under-served veteran population, eventually increasing VISN3s health care and benefits enrollment by more than 3000 veterans.





Knowledge Institute

Foundation for Entrepreneurial Research and Development

Dr. William Osgood is an award-winning author, scholar and practitioner in the field of entrepreneurship, and is recognized as one of the world's leading experts in entrepreneurial education and small business development. He has contributed to the success of millions of ventures, consulted with numerous organizations on issues dealing with venture creation, finance and high growth strategies and, a serial entrepreneur himself, has launched multiple entrepreneurial ventures.

As an innovator of entrepreneurial learning systems, he has written dozens of business management books, published in multiple languages, and used by academic institutions, government, economic development agencies and private consulting firms in fostering and teaching entrepreneurship. He has consulted with leading private sector and government organizations including Microsoft, IBM, The World Bank, Bank of America, Verizon, American Express, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education and State Economic Development Agencies.

Known as Dr. Bill, he has taught and lectured at numerous colleges and universities including Harvard, MIT and Babson, and has been a featured guest in television, radio and social media. The U.S. SBA recognizes Dr. Bill as a small business development expert and named him Small Business Advocate of the Year.

Dr. Bill holds a Doctorate in System Development and Adaptation from Boston University and a MBA from Northeastern University. He is a strong civic leader and a United States Veteran.




Paulsen Productions

Mr. Gerald “Jerry” Paulsen Is President/CEO of Paulsen Productions, Inc, based in Elgin, Illinois just outside Chicago. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of professional development and a published author. Mr. Paulsen has been designing and conducting presentation skills management and leadership programs throughout the United States, Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe since 1994. Paulsen Productions currently has offices in the United States, Brazil, china & Guam.
Mr Paulsen has worked with federal and state governments, Fortune 500’s, and hundreds of small and emerging companies worldwide. Prior to founding his business, he served with distinction in law enforcement for fifteen years, receiving numerous commendations both as a patrol officer and a detective. He is most proud of his service to his country as an Army Special Forces Veteran.
Now, as a veteran business owner, Mr. Paulsen is a highly recognized and respected veteran business owner, traveling extensively throughout the United States speaking in support of veteran legislation and helping to educate veterans in the federal procurement arena and related veteran business issues. Jerry’s programs have been delivered in over 200 US cities and 26 countries and continue to empower people and businesses around the globe.
Jerry now owns several businesses and also is the founder of a not for profit that is centered around equestrian assisted therapy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Active Duty personnel as well as their spouses and caregivers.


Mark Rockefeller StreetSharesMARK ROCKEFELLER

Co-Founder & CEO

Mark is an alternative- and social-finance expert, previously with the global financial services law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Prior to Milbank, he was a microfinance and social-entrepreneurship advisor in Africa and a researcher at Columbia University in New York. He began his career in military service and is a veteran of the Iraq war. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance and advanced degrees in business and law.

StreetShares is an interactive marketplace where investors bid to provide shares of commercial loans to small businesses. Unique team expertise, privileged customer access, intellectual property, and innovative technology position StreetShares to disrupt the $120B small business lending market for business loans under $100K. StreetShares has a special focus on assisting Veteran-owned and MilSpouse-owned businesses.

Mark has published in several financial and legal academic journals and periodicals.



Sarah Schauerte Legal Meets Practical LLCSARAH SCHAUERTE

Legal Meets Practical, LLC

Sarah Schauerte is an attorney whose practice is dedicated to helping veteran-owned small businesses grow. She became involved in law because her father, a veteran and small business owner, often lamented that he could not understand his attorney because the attorney spoke only in legalese. Sarah’s company, Legal Meets Practical, specializes in legal documents that have all the required legal protection and provisions without the incomprehensible language.

A certified verification counselor as recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation, a significant chunk of Sarah’s practice focuses on assisting businesses obtain verification in the VA's VetBiz Verification Program. Sarah also possesses considerable experience in corporate formation, defending and litigating contract disputes, and drafting a wide plethora of contracts necessary for any growing small business. She is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Eastern District of Virginia.


Jim Scott Penan and Scott


Penan & Scott, P.C

James Scott, Jr., CPA is a founding partner of PENAN & SCOTT, P.C.,
an accounting and financial consultant firm located in Rockville, Maryland.

Mr. Scott is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants; District of Columbia Institute of Certified Public Accountants; and Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He also is a member of the National Veterans Small Business Coalition, and a board member of a community bank in Maryland.

Mr. Scott has extensive experience negotiating directly with DCAA and other cognizant government contractor auditing agencies to resolve rate and contract issues. He has significant experience with auditing financial statements of closely held, non-public companies, with a specialty in government contractors. He also assists clients with sophisticated tax and business planning, structuring merger and sale transactions capital infusion and bank financing.

Mr. Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting - Cum Laude - from the University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career with Ernst & Young, after serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.


Paul Skalman Paul Skalman Consulting IncPAUL SKALMAN

Paul Skalman Consulting (PSC)

Mr. Skalman is the Chief Executive Officer of Paul Skalman Consulting (PSC). PSC specializes in assisting firms obtaining and maintaining Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Supply Schedule (VA FSS) contracts and related marketing efforts, and assisting in various other US Government contracting programs.

Prior to establishing PSC in January of 2013, Mr. Skalman retired from the VA after 22 years of service with the VA.  His most recent position prior to retirement was Assistant Director for the Program Management and Resource Support team for the VA FSS Service. In that position, Mr. Skalman managed a team that was a support group for the other three Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Supply Schedule (VA FSS) contracting teams. Through Mr. Skalman’s oversight, his staff was responsible for VA & General Services Administration ( GSA) FSS policy and regulatory change and implementation, developing the various schedule solicitations and associated requisite documents, and training for VA FSS contracting staff, schedule users, and industry.  The VA FSS Service was and continues to be responsible for oversight of medically related commercial products and services much like the GSA oversees the commercial contracting in the non-medical arena

From January 2000 to February, 2012, As VA FSS Assistant Director for Medical Equipment and Supplies, Mr. Skalman was responsible for management and oversight of more than 900 VA FSS contracts for medical equipment and supplies. Oversight included but was not limited to VA FSS proposal evaluation, negotiation, and contract award decision.



Jon Speed Data Systems Technology IncJONATHAN SPEED

President & CEO
Data Systems & Technology, Inc.

Jonathan Speed, a pioneer and visionary, is the co-founder of Data Systems & Technology, Inc. (DST), which was formed in 1990 in Sierra Vista, AZ. As President and CEO, he directs a global operation that specializes in providing information technology (IT) solutions to over 20 military and civilian agencies of the Federal Government. These solutions include strategic planning and enterprise architecture development, cyber security, and test and evaluation of mission-critical systems supporting military operations and Warfighter.

Mr. Speed has a Master of Science in Information Systems from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from South Carolina State University. As a Strategic Planner and Management Consultant, he specializes in the development of strategic plans, which serves as a roadmap for transforming small and mid-size businesses into high performing and successful businesses, to meet the challenges of an ever changing marketplace.

He served for over 28 years as a Military Intelligence Officer with worldwide assignments, and retired from the U.S. Army Reserves with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


Robert VanGorder The Gormley GroupROBERT VANGORDER

Vice President & Partner
The Gormley Group

Robert is with The Gormley Group a consulting firm that assists clients in obtaining and maintaining GSA Schedule contracts.  Robert is responsible for overseeing consulting operations and managing client accounts.  He has worked with clients in a wide variety of industries over nearly the entirety of the GSA Schedule program.  Robert continually monitors and disseminates changes in Federal procurement policy and the GSA Schedules program to clients, trains contractors regarding marketing and selling to the Federal Government using a Schedule contract, and advises clients in complying with all GSA Schedule applicable rules and regulations.

Robert has been a GSA Schedule consultant since 1996 and has become an industry recognized expert in the GSA Multiple Award Schedule program. Robert has spoken and taught about the GSA Schedule program throughout the US and Canada and was a contributing author of The Secrets of Schedule Sales Success. He is also an active member of the Coalition for Government Procurement an association representing GSA Schedule contractors.

Robert received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada-Reno and holds a Master of Science degree in Organization Development from Johns Hopkins University.




Judge Thomas served for 10 years and retired from the Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals (now U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals). While there he also served as mediator for over 100 Alternative Dispute Resolution sessions and personnel situations for Federal Agencies and the Military.

Prior to his appointment to the Board, Judge Thomas was Veterans Affairs Assistant General Counsel, PSG V, for 14 years. He had national responsibility for legal issues involving all procurements, construction and supply programs, protests (GAO, GSBCA), disputes, environmental compliance, and real property. He represented VA at SBA to obtain special eligibility status for Veteran and Disabled Veteran owned businesses. Previously, he was the VA Deputy Asst. General Counsel and a trial attorney, Claims & Litigation Division, Office of General Counsel, GSA.

Judge Thomas served in the Army and was awarded a Bronze Star in Vietnam. He received a Presidential Rank Award for his interpretation and implementation of Public Law 102-585, Section 603, Limitation on Prices of Drugs Procured by Department of Veterans Affairs and Certain Other Federal Agencies. He wrote the Master Agreement, Pharmaceutical Pricing Agreement and chaired industry-wide implementation meetings..

Judge Thomas has a B.S. in Business Administration and J.D. from the University of Richmond.

VETS 2019 is focused on one thing—the success of your Veteran-owned Small Business. Will you be a part of the conversation?