BLOG

One-Stop Shopping

on December 6, 2018

The flexibility of OTAs makes it possible for the government and industry to use a single consortium management firm for all of their contracting and administrative needs—meaning government and industry can focus on building better technologies

You’ve already learned about how the government partners with an industry consortium through an OTA in Other Transaction 101.  However, the benefits of an OTA are enhanced when the government and industry work with a consortium management firm.

Usually, the consortium management firm (CMF) handles the business operations of the consortium, dealing with all the contractual interactions needed to assemble project teams and dissolve them when the work is completed, taking care of contracting, payments, cost analyses, negotiations, IP issues, and all the other mundane tasks needed to enable the exciting prototype work. For the Government, this means the best of both worlds: the ease of one-stop shopping, coupled with easy access to innovations from flexible, as-needed industry teams.

The CMF can award projects one-by-one (as directed by the government), or it can use a streamlined approach where all Government contracting decisions are communicated through a single Agreements Officer to the CMF, which then places projects on award.  In some OT-consortia, the consortium or CMF has very little involvement in technical/cost evaluation of project proposals. Others use non-Government subject matter experts to inform Government source selection bodies about the technical and/or commercial merit of project proposals submitted by consortium members.

Ultimately, allowing a CMF to take on some of the burdens of contracting meanings that the government can focus its time and resources on finding the technologies they need, and industry benefits from faster, simpler contracting.

Single Point Contracting Process for the OT Consortium Model

Single Point Contracting Process for the OT Consortium Model

One-Stop Shopping

Special Post – Bob Tuohy Interview

on November 5, 2018

Bob Tuohy, ATI’s COO, discusses OTAs with Government Matters

ATI’s Chief Operating Office, Bob Tuohy recently sat down with Government Matters to discuss the recent growth of OTAs within the DoD and to share some of the benefits this contracting vehicle offers. Bob specifically describes the opportunities for collaboration offered through OTAs and how this collaboration benefits both government and industry.

You can enjoy the full interview below.

Special Post – Bob Tuohy Interview

Success Story

on October 16, 2018

Battle Ready 

By enabling collaboration between government, industry, and academia, the AMC successfully delivers innovative metalcasting solutions and best-value support to our Warfighters

Government agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) were having trouble obtaining repair or replacement parts for critical weapons systems because many US manufacturers had gone out of business as a result of manufacturing globalization.  The sensitive nature of these defense materiels meant that DLA needed to source all components domestically, but it had difficulty replacing or repairing parts where the American manufacturers had closed their doors, so multi-million dollar systems were out of commission when the government couldn’t get thousand dollar replacement parts.

To bring these systems back into operation, DLA worked with ATI to form and manage the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC), a collaborative partnership made up of 95% of existing US metalcasting suppliers and manufacturers, as well as academic organizations with expertise in critical need areas.  Today, AMC funds critical research and development on behalf of DLA, like:

  • Reducing production costs and lead times for production of weapons system components by improving manufacturing processes that strengthen the US supply chain;
  • Developing industry product data standards that communicate needs and expectations along the supply chain, reducing production costs, lead times, and failure rates; and
  • Identifying and evaluating new technologies that improve the strength, effectiveness, and efficiency of cast parts, ensuring technological superiority of our defense systems.

By enabling cohesive collaboration between government, industry, and academia, ATI and the AMC successfully deliver innovative metalcasting solutions and best-value support to our Warfighters while maintaining the US metalcasting industry’s position as a world leader in this field.

Success Story

Advanced Technology International (ATI) honors Robert Kiggans, company founder and visionary leader

on September 11, 2018

Robert KiggansThe ATI team mourns the loss of our founder, Robert (Bob) Kiggans, who passed away at home on Friday, August 31, 2018.  Bob served as ATI’s President and CEO from our incorporation in July 1998 until 2006, when he became the Chief Operating Officer of South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), ATI’s then parent company.

Bob’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit led ATI to become a pioneer in the field of R&D consortium management.  “As ATI’s founder and first CEO, Bob’s vision set the course that we are sailing today.  Even after turning over that role, he kept a watchful eye on ATI as a loving and devoted parent would their child,” ATI’s current President and CEO, Chris Van Metre remembers.  “Bob was ATI’s greatest adviser, cheerleader, and defender.  I will miss him dearly, but vow to give everything I have to serve his legacy and keep his spirit alive in ATI.”

Before becoming ATI’s President and CEO, Bob served twenty years in the U.S. Air Force as a Radar Navigator on the B-52 aircraft, flying more than 150 combat missions in Southeast Asia.  When he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, Bob had received the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with one silver and four bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.

After retiring from the Air Force, Bob accepted an appointment from the U.S. Department of Commerce as the Head of the U.S. Delegation to the international Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) Steering Committee, and later became its Chair. He was a Research Fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a former senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and a Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer.  Extremely experienced in the field of advanced computer and product data technologies, Bob was awarded the prestigious International Leadership Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his outstanding leadership in furthering the discipline of computers and information in engineering.  Bob was a recipient of SCRA’s Knowledge Economist Award in South Carolina and inducted into the Academy of Engineers as a 2018 Honoree of The Citadel.

At ATI, Bob is remembered as an inspiring, natural leader and—first and foremost—a friend. As Thornton White, Director of ATI’s Logistics Technologies division, explains, “[Bob] made it a point to know something special about every one of his employees—it was not all about business, the people were very important to him as well.”

Dale Orren, a Director in our Naval Technologies division, recalls that “his patient, friendly manner established a welcoming environment [at ATI] … He set the benchmark for how a boss should be: firm, fair, consistent, compassionate, caring, engaged.”  Kathy Zolman, a Program Manager with the Medical and Software Services division, also remembers Bob’s positive spirit: “Bob was larger than life and will be greatly missed by many.  He was a great mentor and I am extremely grateful to have had the chance to work with him for many years.”

We are honored to have worked with such an inspirational, innovative leader.  ATI offers our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.

Robert Kiggans cutting the ATI Anniversary Cake

At ATI’s 20th anniversary celebration in April 2018, Bob Kiggans cut the cake with the newest ATI employee, Frank McKenna.

Bob in a beanbag chair.

Bob tests out the bean bag chairs at the ATI office.

Advanced Technology International (ATI) honors Robert Kiggans, company founder and visionary leader

Service-focused: General John Sattler

on September 4, 2018

General John Sattler, USMC (Ret.) leads a workshop on ATI’s core values

LtGen. John F. Sattler USMC (Ret.) presenting to the ATI Team.

LtGen. John F. Sattler USMC (Ret.) leading a discussion about the importance of our core values.

Last week, the ATI team enjoyed an afternoon with Lieutenant General John Sattler, USMC (Ret.), a member of the Board of Directors of Analytic Services, Inc. (ANSER) and Distinguished Chair of Leadership at the US Naval Academy Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership.  A distinguished motivational speaker and senior mentor within the Marine Corps and Joint Forces Command, General Sattler served as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy (J5) for the Joint Staff from September 2006 until his retirement in August 2008.  Prior to joining the Joint Staff, he was the Commanding General of the First Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, Marine Corps Forces Central Command.

While at ATI, General Sattler led a discussion about the importance and meaning our core values:

  • Integrity in everything we do;
  • Passion for our work;
  • Teamwork is the hallmark of our efforts;
  • Relentless pursuit of Excellence; and
  • Agility to meet the rapidly changing demands of our clients and partners.

Our team members live these values in the work they do every day and in every customer interaction.

As our discussion revealed, at the heart of these values is ATIs’ core belief is in service: to our country, to our customers, and to the solutions derived from our efforts.

Because we make service the focus of our work, the ATI team is able to collaborate effectively, both internally and externally.  This commitment to service helps each of us keep the warfighter at the center of our work.

Thank you to General Sattler for leading such an insightful and inspiring discussion!

Service-focused: General John Sattler

Other Transaction 101

on August 20, 2018

Other Transaction Agreements get rid of many of the contractual hassles of FAR-based technology acquisitions

In our previous post, we explained how Other Transaction (OT) authority, an alternative to cumbersome Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based acquisitions, brings groundbreaking technologies to the government quickly and efficiently [Link]. Today, we’ll give you the need-to-know about this innovative acquisition model.

Unlike the FAR, Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) are designed to allow fast purchases of rapidly changing technologies, making them ideally suited for research and development work. In particular, OTAs address FAR challenges to R&D like these:

  • Expensive and inefficient FAR-based acquisition requirements because of poor communication between government and industry.
  • Inability to attract and engage technology providers of interest to the government
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Limited technology transfer to practice
  • Cumbersome and slow contracting processes

There are two types of Other Transaction (OT) vehicles: the Other Transaction for Research – fundamental, applied, and/or advanced research and development; and the Other Transaction for Prototypes – critically needed prototype development from an expanded technology based.

Other Transactions are particularly effective when the government partners with an industry-based consortium.  In Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia, the government can be represented by a single “sponsor” (like a program executive office) or multiple sponsors coordinated through a lead agency. The consortium is made up of organizations with technology development skills in a specific area of interest, like:

  • For-profit companies, including small and nontraditional businesses;
  • Not-for-profit/nonprofit organizations; and
  • Academic research institutions.

These consortium partners are connected through a binding instrument called an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA).  OTAs lower the barriers to participation by innovative small businesses and nontraditional contractors.

On the whole, the OT consortium model creates…

  • True “enterprise partnerships” between government and an industry-academia consortium where collaboration and dialogue happen throughout the acquisition cycle;
  • Innovation through participation by “nontraditional” defense contractors (firms who have never before worked with the government); and
  • Better outcomes in less time without sacrificing competition at the project level.

Next time, we’ll give you an overview of Other Transaction Agreements that exist today, which cover technologies ranging from shipbuilding and ship repair to the electromagnetic spectrum, from to biomedical capabilities to and space, and from armaments to aviation.

Other Transaction 101

2018 South Carolina Best Places to Work

on August 16, 2018

ATI named one of South Carolina’s Best Places to Work 2018!

For the second consecutive year, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce named ATI one of South Carolina’s Best Places to Work! The Best Places to Work program identifies and recognizes South Carolina’s best employers using a two-part assessment process, which includes an Employer Questionnaire about our policies, practices, benefits, and demographics combined with in-depth anonymous satisfaction survey completed by our team members.

ATI was recognized for our exceptional program and retirement company match, as well as our competitive paid time off, paid holidays, and company-wide suspension of operations during the traditional December holiday period.  ATI was also commended for our generous paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program and flexible schedule and work-from-home policies.

ATI’s team members enjoy our culture of health and wellness, including our on-site yoga and pilates classes during lunch, nearby walking trails, and stand-sit workstations.  Similarly, the accessibility of senior leadership (including monthly employee lunches with the President and CEO), transparency about company initiatives, and ample development opportunities make ATI a leader in employee engagement within South Carolina.

Thank you to the ATI family for sharing your feedback and making ATI one of SC’s Best Places to Work! We are honored to have such an outstanding, hardworking team!

2017 Halloween Celebration

The ATI team enjoyed a festive Halloween celebration, including a costume contest and cubicle-decorating contest.

ATI Team Members on the Blue & BBQ Harbor Cruise

The ATI family gathered for a blues and BBQ cruise on Charleston Harbor!

2017 Day of Caring

ATI team members spent the 2017 Day of Caring helping out at Jerry Zucker Middle School in North Charleston, SC.

2018 South Carolina Best Places to Work

Success Story: NAC-DOTC

on July 24, 2018

Latest and Greatest

Other Transaction collaborations bring the Federal Government up-to-speed on industry’s newest technologies.

One of great benefits of the Other Transaction-consortium model is the collaboration between government and industry that can take place. Often these discussions help industry understand the government’s technology needs, and the government gets rare insight into industry’s latest capabilities. Recently, this paid off big time for both DoD and industry members of the National Armaments Consortium…

When the Army needed new armaments technology ideas to replace existing mine capabilities, they reached out to the government’s Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) and the ATI-managed National Armaments Consortium (NAC). Alongside DOTC, we organized an Industry Day where government and industry membership exchanged technical know-how, discussed industry armaments abilities and new ideas, and refined the Army’s project requirements.

The Industry Day resulted in three (3) prototyping agreements through DOTC for innovative armaments technologies, representing opportunities to significantly improve the effectiveness of our armaments systems. ATI’s other consortia facilitate similar collaborations with the government that lead to equally meaningful results.

Success Story: NAC-DOTC

Current OTAs

on July 9, 2018

Other Transaction Agreements Today

There are 23 Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia currently providing the government with access to diverse range of cutting-edge research and prototypes.

Last post, we gave a quick run-down of Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) and how they work. Today, we’ll show you how they’re being used by the government to access innovation.

Other Transaction (OT) authority is currently used to bring research findings and prototypes from industry to the federal market in areas as diverse as biotechnology, electromagnetic spectrum uses, and armaments technology. Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) enable quicker technology and prototype acquisitions, bringing solutions to end users sooner.

OTs also create a long-term channel for the government to collect industry input and feedback on rapidly evolving technologies. The collaborative nature of this model and its emphasis on engaging nontraditional technology suppliers casts a wider net for capturing ideas and innovations than available under the FAR.

For participating companies, the model lets them weigh-in on critical technology issues and gives them a voice to inform government technology requirements.  The Other Transaction (OT) authority consortium fosters technology transition partnerships between small technology innovators and large system integrators. And its agile contracting features help government meet obligation benchmarks.

ATI has emerged as the leader in OTA collaborations.

Of the 23 Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia in operation today, ATI performs consortium management services for eleven of them.

The number of active OTA collaborations is growing and that growth is accelerating. in 1998 there was 1 active OTA collaboration. Today there are 23. ATI manages 11.Join us next time for some one-stop shopping using Other Transaction Agreements!

Current OTAs

Success Story: ATI & VLC

on June 25, 2018

Teaming Up

By facilitating teaming, ATI and the Vertical Lift Consortium help industry respond quickly to government needs for critical technologies.

One of our clients, the US Army Aviation Development Directorate Science and Technology Program recently had an urgent need for project ideas that would help them figure out their needs for the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS). Their goal was to find out what technologies from industry they could incorporate into the FTUAS when replacing a legacy Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.

The Army came to the ATI-managed Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC), asking VLC members to form teams and send in short summaries of their project ideas (called whitepapers) for five separate Topic Areas of Interest in less than 30 days. The Army released the request to ATI and the VLC on July 5, 2017. To help build these teams and meet the quick turnaround the Army needed, we hosted a series of five Speed Networking Webinar events on July 11 and 12 that let VLC members find partners with capabilities in the needed technology areas. In Speed Networking sessions, each participant gets a few minutes in the spotlight to tell the rest of the group what their company does and their areas of technical expertise. Contact information is shared between members, and companies reach out and build teams when members have capabilities that complement each other.

VLC members submitted their project ideas to the Army on August 1, and four of the six teams selected by the government for award were formed through the Speed Networking Webinars we hosted. By introducing these companies to one another, ATI led meaningful teambuilding that helped VLC members realize business opportunities, introduced the Army groundbreaking ideas, and eventually delivered critical technologies to Warfighters.

Success Story: ATI & VLC