Preparing for 8(a) Graduation: Webinar Transcript

We recently hosted a webinar to help companies prepare to exit the 8(a) program and continue growing their government contracting businesses. What follows is the beginning of our presentation. To listen in full, see below or click here to watch on YouTube.

My name is Chris Shiplett and I’m an attorney with Randolph Law, and you are here for our webinar Preparing for 8(a) Graduation. We’re excited you’re here. This is a topic we’re very excited about. Let’s get started.

The format is that we’re scheduled for an hour, and I’m going to walk through what we would like to share with you about preparing your 8(a) company for 8(a) graduation. We 100% encourage questions. We love to answer questions and interact with you that way.

A little bit of background on me and my firm: My name is Chris Shiplett and our firm is Randolph Law. We are a boutique government contract law firm. That means that we do anything and everything you can imagine for government contractors. All of the standard stuff you would expect – teaming agreements, bid protests are a big part of our practice, and then advice on small business regulations and set-aside regulations and that type of thing. A large portion of our clients are 8(a), and then we have a fair portion of other small business clients – SDVOSB and WOSB. We also handle 8(a) applications.

I myself have been doing this for about 10 years. My first job was as a temp in a very small 8(a) in Tysons Corner doing contracts administration and then I moved from there to doing a database work as a tech guy working for the Marine Corps and the Army, and I went to law school at night. Now I do the legal side of 8(a) and government contracts.

8(a) graduation is a big moment – a seminal moment – in many 8(a)’s corporate life cycle because it is the moment when your entire identity shifts. You’ve known yourself and your company as an 8(a) for nine years, and all of a sudden the annual renewal and graduation day comes, and you’re no longer an 8(a) company. That can be a dramatic and traumatic moment in the lifecycle of 8(a)s . Many successful 8(a)s don’t make it past graduation. A lot of 8(a)s stumble along post graduation. They really rely on the contacts they developed as an 8(a) and they don’t grow, or occasionally I’ll see companies that just sort of bounce. You get a few contracts and get up above the size standard, and then you come back down below the size standard.

Government contracting is a very difficult field to be successful in.

So how do you avoid it, if you don’t want to close up shop or just kind of mosey along? I think this is a key quote, from me, as of today: The day you receive your 8(a) acceptance letter, you should be preparing to graduate.

View the rest of the webinar below.

Click here to speak with Chris about your own 8(a) graduation preparation or ask questions about our other legal services for government contractors.