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Essential Things to Know About the 2017 National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE)

Essential Things to Know About the 2017 National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE)

Recently, Three Wire, CEO Dan Frank, Solutions Engineer, Wes Jackson, Sr. Client Executive, Keith Foley, and Director, Business Development, Katie Koehler, attended the National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE) in St. Louis, MO. In its seventh year, this conference connects Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) with Procurement Decision Makers (PDMs) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal agencies, state government, and commercial firms. As a collective effort, the conference affords PDMs an opportunity to conduct hands-on research and participate in product demonstrations all under one roof.

Team Reflections:

Dan Frank – Founder, CEO

“While at the event, I learned about a potential new Veterans Affairs (VA) approach to set-aside RFPs in which all companies (small and large) would be able to submit a proposal, called a “tiered evaluation.” VA would first consider SDVOSB proposals, to determine if the proposals have a fair and reasonable price. If so, VA would award the contract to a SDVOSB. If not, other categories of businesses (e.g., VOSB, 8a, etc.) would then be considered. Ultimately, if no small business has a fair and reasonable price, the contract could then be awarded to a large business who does. This could have major impacts to small businesses who partner with large businesses for set-aside work.”

Wes Jackson

“The Three Wire team met a variety of people this year at the conference. There were several PDMs and senior executives from the VA there, as well as a multitude of current and potential industry partners. We met leaders and team members from organizations who can augment things we already do, which led to some exciting discussions.”

“It is fun to engage with knowledgeable people in talks that range from the future of IT, to what other industries are doing with today’s technology, to how the Government will build tomorrow’s public services.

“It was good of the VA to make so many PDMs available both for one-on-one discussions as well as several breakout sessions.  Hearing directly from our key stakeholders like this, helps the industry formulate plans and contemplate innovations that can solve the most important problems the VA is facing. So many times, in this industry, you see solutions looking for a problem. Gaining insight and having real dialogue helps us focus on the right things and not waste time and taxpayer dollars on solutions that don’t quite hit the mark.”

“I was particularly interested in hearing that VA is making progress on the path of modernizing its application ecosystem through the use of APIs.  Those efforts and innovations will mean that future apps will be far easier to develop, secure and operate.”

Keith Foley

“The Three Wire Systems team had a tremendous time at this year’s event.  Our mission especially hit home within Industry and Government engagement to collaborate on addressing the needs of our veterans.  We discussed a wide range of technical and operational areas that the VA needs help from partners such as Three Wire to modernize and transform healthcare delivery.”

“Of particular importance is the alignment of new business approaches and technologies for VA to stay ahead of healthcare demands and produce greater health outcomes for veteran care.  Cloud, Managed Services, Agile Development, Analytics and Accountability within IT are areas that we’ll continue to focus on and drive change within the agency.”

“It’s exciting to see Technology reaching a point of rapid delivery and mobility to remove legacy stove-pipe systems and improve communications which tie directly back to saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for the people who mean so much to our country.” 

Katie Koehler

“I was able to meet with over 30 companies within 48 hours, most SDVOSB and some large companies who are very interested in our Call Center capabilities and would like to partner to bring more efficient and effective performance to VA. It is extremely exciting to know others are interested in the great work we’re currently doing for veterans and want to expand and grow with us.”

“VA is changing as it grows to better support veterans, from both a healthcare and benefits perspective and there are so many good businesses and entrepreneurs that want to help VA during this transition. I heard a VA PDM say how excited he was to meet with so many people who had their hearts in the right places vice just looking to ‘get rich’. “

“With a stack of business cards in hand, new insight, and inspiration, we look forward to each follow-up to reconnect and continue the conversation.  Those follow-up meetings inevitably lead to new partnerships, great new ideas, and a wealth of new opportunities for the coming year.”

To learn more about Three Wire Systems, visit us here.

Veterans Day 2017 Thoughts: Who We Are

Veterans Day 2017 Thoughts: Who We Are

As a business owner, husband, father, and veteran, I believe I exemplify one of the many possibilities for our veterans as they transition from the military.  While I have been very lucky and successful both personally and professionally, I have also seen firsthand how hard it can be to transition from the military.  Veteran stereotypes which are pervasive in our society do not help. On this Veterans Day, I would like to share some insight into two stereotypes and how you can help change the narrative ultimately helping every veteran to feel comfortable in their post-military world.

First, while our service to the nation is viewed as heroic, most veterans are very uncomfortable being called a hero for just doing our job. Within our population, the heroes are those who did extraordinary service and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  So who are we if we don’t all identify as heroes?

We are your neighbors, we own businesses, we work for the government, we work for you, we are right wing, we are left wing, we are gay, we are straight, we are coaches, we are students, we are parents, we are proud, we love the U.S., we have problems, we work through those problems, we are married, and we get divorced. We live one day at a time. We are just like non-veterans. We are Americans, just like you.

A more damaging stereotype is that of the mentally unstable veteran. I was very saddened this week by the Texas news and that the shooter had served in the military and had been dishonorably discharged. This dishonorable discharge ultimately prevented him from receiving behavioral health benefits that may have prevented this tragedy. I think we should re-examine this “bad paper” policy to see if calamities such as this can be avoided.

If you’re looking to help a veteran on this and future Veterans Days and want to help change these stereotypes, try volunteering to get to know your local Veteran community and spread the word about who we are. Our team and many other veteran advocates are out this weekend doing just that, volunteering at the VA Medical Centers, Fisher House, and other organizations across the country. Hope to see you there!

Dan Frank

CEO, Three Wire Systems

Halloween and the Sweet Tooth Craze

It’s no surprise that America is sugar obsessed. Most everyone is aware that too much sugar is not good for the body, yet we consume some of the highest amounts in the entire world.  According to the USDA, the average American eats about 170 pounds of the sweet stuff each year.

Sugar is much like an addictive drug, exciting the pleasure centers of our brain and enticing our taste buds to crave more. Consuming mass amounts of sugar overtime can cause serious health problems such as chronic disease, obesity, migraines, diabetes, behavioral problems and even allergies.

How can you reduce your sugar intake? 

Eat sweets in moderation. Read your food labels and beware of sneaky sugar in bread, condiments, salad dressing, soups and pasta sauce.  Replace one sugary drink per day with a water, and cook more meals at home.

For kids, especially during Halloween, monitor their intake and set allowances of how much candy they can have per day. The increase in sugar can affect their sleep patterns and ability to pay attention in school.

Eight Tips to Avoid the Negative Effects of a Desk Job

Many people find themselves sitting at a desk for a majority of the workday. If you are one of those people, you probably realize that this sedentary lifestyle is not the best for your health. Sitting at a desk all day is bad for your heart, your posture, your circulation, and can lead to weight gain.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it. These eight tips will not only help keep the weight off, but they can mitigate some of the other detrimental effects of sitting at your desk all day as well. Most of them revolve around the simple act of moving – any chance you get.

Tip #1: Jump start your metabolism in the morning before work. To burn more calories throughout the day, try drinking cold water and eating a good breakfast with protein, or get in some early morning exercise. Even a quick 10-15 minute exercise when you get out of bed (push-ups, crunches, burpees, etc.) will be beneficial and give you added energy for the rest of the day.

Tip #2: Watch what you eat and stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and pack yourself a healthy lunch. Throw away that bag of chips or box of cookies and swap it out for fruits, veggies, healthy protein, nuts, and yogurt. See our blog on “Eating Healthy During the Work Week” for more great ideas. {LINK TO BLOG WHEN PUBLISHED}

Tip #3: Do exercises and easy stretches at your desk. Every couple of hours, or when you have a free moment, incorporate exercise or stretching into your day. It will get the muscles moving, heart pumping, and blood flowing.

Tip #4: Use your lunch hour to get some exercise. If you can’t get to a gym, go for a walk. The activity will give both your mind and your body a break. Don’t forget to forego the elevator and take the stairs!

Tip #5: Swap your chair out for an exercise ball. This simple change will improve your posture by forcing you to use more of your core muscles to sit up straight. You might also be tempted to squeeze in some crunches, planks, or other exercises when you have a free minute or two.

Tip #6: Evolve to a standing desk. You probably don’t want to stand for a full day, but alternating standing and sitting will break up the monotony of sitting. More importantly, you burn more calories when you stand.

Tip #7: Schedule walking meetings. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! You’ll be getting work done while getting some exercise all at once.

Tip #9: Get a Fitness tracker. It’s amazing how numbers can drive you to set goals and exceed them. This is part of the philosophy behind fitness trackers. It keeps track of all the things you do during the day (activity, exercise, food, weight, sleep) and gives you feedback so you can see the numbers, whether it’s pounds lost, steps walked, or hours slept.

Having a sedentary job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to gain weight. Just remember to eat right and keep moving!

Time Management Tips for Back to School

Even though summer feels like it just started, the school buses will be revving up before we know it. In order to prepare for back-to-school time and transition schedules for you and your family, it’s important to implement good time management practices that will lessen anxiety and stress.

Get a jump start on things before school starts. Look for weekly deals at your favorite stores for school supplies and buy extra so you have it for the middle of the year when your student starts to run out. This not only saves time, but money, too. Also, start implementing the school year schedule early. Slowly adjust sleep and wake up times to get closer what they will be during the school year, assign “homework” that can be completed in the afternoon, and schedule time for activities such as what the student would experience at recess or after-school activities.

When the school year arrives, set you and your family up for success by carrying out the routine you’ve established. Also, packing backpack and lunches as well as setting out clothes the night before will help for an easy morning. Additionally, buy snacks in bulk to save money and portion them out beforehand so you can grab and go. This is a helpful tip for back-up breakfasts as well if you are running late in the morning.

Doing a little bit at a time to prepare for the transition back to school can go a long way to keeping your family on track and your sanity intact!