Starting and growing a business is not an easy undertaking. It takes a vision, perseverance, and an over-sized work ethic. And that’s what Mark A. K. Dee, chief executive officer of Magellan Solutions USA, had when he launched his business in 2012. After a more than 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, he had built a highly diversified business processing outsourcing and call center organization serving a wide variety of clients with information technology, healthcare and energy/utilities services.
Dee also took the opportunity to separate his company from the competition by working through the process and obtaining verification from the U.S. Veterans Administration as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). It was with this credential in hand that he approached the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Government Contracting Specialist Patricia Simpson based at the FSBDC at Eastern Florida State College, a sub-center of the FSBDC at UCF.
Like any good entrepreneur, Dee was interested in finding new markets and growth for his company. He saw significant opportunity in bidding on and winning contracts with the government. And that’s where Simpson came in. As an expert on the FSBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) team, she had the knowledge of the government market that Dee sought.
“My colleagues and I at Magellan Solutions USA are retired military. We used to be the buyers. Now we were undertaking to be the sellers,” Dee pointed out. “That’s definitely a different breed of cat. Although we had the background in dealing with the government, we needed the guidance of someone who was familiar with the system of today. That was Patricia Simpson and the FSBDC at UCF’s Government Contacting Services.”
Working with Simpson, Dee and his senior vice president for Business Research and Intelligence Mike Lopez began to hone in on government contract bidding strategies to leverage the company’s SDVOSB status. They began the process of obtaining certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program designed to help small socially and/or economically disadvantaged businesses compete in the federal marketplace. And Simpson introduced them to a treasure trove of market databases, search engines, and research tools to analyze the government contracting market and Magellan Solutions’ competitors.
“Working with the Florida SBDC has been nothing but a positive experience,” Says Dee. “It’s been a lot of work, but we have received so much guidance from Patricia and we have learned so much. Before we started working with her, we’d been taking a shotgun approach to the market and wasting so much time looking for needles in a haystack. Now we are focused, we have a strategy and have started winning the multi-million dollar contracts we are bidding on.”
“I would absolutely, 100% recommend the FSBDC,” Dee concluded. “It’s all about positioning your company to succeed in the government market. Doing it by yourself is a big mistake. The guidance and direction the FSBDC provides makes all the difference. It certainly has for Magellan Solutions USA.”