HRSS Consulting Group, LLC had the opportunity to attend the i4GovCon event this month. We found the event insightful and full of great networking opportunities.
Thank you to Jenny Clark for creating this unique event to help business owners interact and collaborate.
We thought it might be helpful to those who could not attend and those who did attend to get a summary of this awesome event (so it will be even bigger in future years). We were not able to attend all sessions (too many great ones happening at the same time). But we hope it will be valuable to you.
Unstoppable – Bill Schley
Author and speaker, Bill Schley shared his thoughts on being Unstoppable. In the book he interviews Yossi Vardi, an Israeli entrepreneur who has helped over 500 companies and entrepreneurs. He is known for his funding of ICQ (I Seek You). Yossi explained how Israel is the ‘Start Up Nation.’ He tells how important that is and how even young people belive that “My ideas can matter. I can dream and I can dare. It’s possible for me.’ Schley went on to tell how important that is for the US to become great again.
He also interviewed Navy Seals. And during these interviews he noticed this thing he called “Accelerated Proficiency.” During war time, you can’t teach everyone everything. But you can teach them enough to start (and they can then get experience to become better and better to eventually master the task).
Schley spoke about ‘True Teams’ and what it meant. He said that true teams come together and share an inspiring mission. True teams want to build something together. They work as 1 machine, as 1 beating heart. These true teams have different experts. And leadership shifts on demand depending on what expertise is needed (the importance of respecting each other). True Teams possess a simple, clear set of values.
Vision 2020: Trends That Cross Federal and Commercial Markets
This panel included Kirk Burton of the Thunderdome Project, John Lambert with Unmanned Systems Research and Jeff Young with Marjau Systems. The moderator was Steven Natschke.
John Lambert: 15 years of robotics and drones
The start of the request for air space began in 2005. In 2015 FMRA opened up air space. Section 333 allowed for commercial operations in airspace. There are over 2000 exemptions to this to allow flight. For drones, we currently have agricultural applications, cell phone tower monitor, powerline and bridge monitoring and more.
Automated vehicles are authorized for use in Florida (one of only 4 states: FL, CA, NV, MI). There are 4 basic classifications of automated vehicles:
1. Either hands-free OR feet-free
2. Hands-free AND feet-free
3. Hands-free, feet-free, and sight-free (still need to be aware of what the car is doing)
4. Hands-free, feet-free, sight-free, mind-free
An example of a recent level 1 is Volkswagon’s ‘Traffic Jam Assist.’ They actually tested this on the Selmon Express way in Tampa.
John mentioned they have a simulator at UCF that runs a fully autonomous vehicle. It gives the person an opportunity to be ‘distracted’ safely and experience an automated vehicle. Public perception plays a big role in public policy.
Kirk Burton: Velociter, DIUX, Thunderdome Project
Velociter guides small businesses and innovators beyond Phase II of the DoD SBIR/STTR program. Kirk spoke about how our acquisition system prevents us from keeping up with technologies (whereas our adversaries can just buy what they need when they need it — putting us at a disadvantage). Everyone in the departments are trying to things FASTER.
Kirk mentioned they are helping with the funding through the process because small business cannot continue without cash flow.
DIUX (Defense Innovative Unit Experimental) will help to cultivate and facilitate a lasting relationship with new innovators, initially in Silicon Valley, and those who don’t always work with DoD, to help expand its innovative ecosystem of ideas.
The Thunderdome Project is a not-for-profit organization that has developed a framework to rapidly bring together innovators from across the globe and align them to quickly turn ideas and concepts into prototypes that can be manufactured at scale.
The Thunderdome project is meant to leverage all that we have locally and create an ecosystem to collaborate and share ideas.
Jeff spoke about the Hackathon (he came up with the idea). The event attracted about 30 competitors (some from the University of Tampa and some from the tech education program Iron Yard). The event was about putting the best and latest technology (from the best local minds) to work for SOCOM. The event was co-sponsored by US Special Operations Command and Mil OSS (Military Open Source Software program). The event was held at SOCOM’s Sofwerx.
Jeff also mentioned the opening of Sofwerx II in Ybor City.
Leadership Excellence – William Anton, PhD CEO Effectiveness
Bill spoke about why some changes are short lived. He explained we focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside.
Bill spoke about how ‘discomfirming experiences’ play a role in how we perceive things.
He mentioned that the brain doesn’t differentiate between physical pain and societal evaluation/stress. He said that because they go down the same pathways, Tylenol can actually help you with anxiety.
How important is humility in leadership? It’s essential. To know yourself is to truly be humble. You still have power. But you use it to empower and encourage others. Humility draws people to you like gravity.
He talked about the importance of a shared vision and how it was related to personal mastery as well as mental models (of the unconscious mind). Learning changes your mental models.
Trust is also a key part of relationships. The more you know yourself, the easier it is to trust (and the less vulnerable you are).
He used the analogy of everyone being born Ferraris. But we only use 6 cylinders. And what we are doing is continuing to maximize those 6 cylinders and get them to work as well as possible. But we don’t think to say ‘hey, where are the other 6 cylinders?’
What is the best way to learn more about ourselves? Meditation.
Nancy Laine – Project Transition
Nancy Laine started and runs Project Transition. For the past 4 years Nancy Laine has conducted workshops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa showing transitioning veterans how to use LinkedIn to prepare for their next career. She said that the biggest obstacles Vets face is they don’t know many civilians (they don’t have a big enough network).
Nancy also added another program in 2015 called “Bring a Hero to Work.” The program is a job shadowing program to help introduce vets back into the workplace.
Entrepreneurial Success in the Federal Market: Three Different Approaches
This panel included Ed Dottery, Barbara Stankowski, and Charles Jenkins. This group was moderated by Carol Ann Dykes, site manager of UCF Incubator.
Barbara Stankowski, AMTIS
Barbara served 28 years in the US Navy. Barbara started her company, AMTIS. to create an environment that people could bring their brains and passions to work. She started with just her and now has over 170 employees across 12 states. She said her HR team has a huge job to always be there for her team to answer questions (because her team is teh reason for her success).
Barbara said her secret to success is partnering, maintaining good relationships, and growing.
Ed Dotter, Alakai Defense
Ed graduated from West Point and Stanford. Ed incorporated in 2003 and started as a service company. He was in Research & Development from 2007-2012. He had a contract in 2010. His company is a hardware company. His technology helps soldiers detect chemicals in bonds from a distance.
He spoke about the ‘Valley of Death’ — the time between R&D and the program of record.
He talked about ‘rapid prototype.’ How you can get products into the war field if it is needed.
He said that government contracting is not for the weak at heart. He reminded us that if any phase of the process failed, he would have failed.
Charles Jenkins, CWU
Chuck taught several courses on government contracting in Pinellas. He has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
He had to start over in 2008. He was at $200k and this year he is at $68 million with 450 FTEs. He staffs critical positions for jobs. He said as the government shrinks, the key critical skills still need to be done. And they have to be supplied by someone. Types of positions he has staffed for include linguistics, special ops, etc.
His key to success is that he recruits all the time. He doesn’t wait for an order and then start recruiting. He says it gives him a distinct advantage over his competitors.
He talked about the importance of having a relationship with a banker. He emphasized the need for an external team: finance, attorney/legal, insurance broker, and CPA (and getting together to discuss “What If” scenarios).
His general rule of thumb is he needs 1/3 the cash on hand of any contract. So for a $9 million contract, he needs $3 million.
He talked about the ‘Funding Model’ and how it was shaped like a triangle.
Jeff also spoke about the Executive order that was signed in January 2009 that directed every federal agency to pay invoices net 15 to qualified small businesses.
He emphasized the importance of getting a line of credit on your home (get it before you need it or you won’t be able to get it).
Questions at the end of the panel discussion included:
As a CEO with limited time, what do you focus on?
All mentioned the importance of trusting your team, delegating and letting go. The focus is on business development and customers.
Another question was regarding resources that were helpful during the starting and growing of your business. GrowFL was mentioned as well as UCF Research, Rollins Research, CEO Round Tables, SCORE Classes, PTAC, the EDC and Tampa Bay Innovation Center.
**Disclaimer: This information is taken from notes taken from a live event. If you see any discrepancies, please let us know. We will be happy to adjust. **