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October 2012

Atlanta Office Team Secures $2.5 Million Dollar Federal Construction Contract for Women-Owned Small Business

Gordon & Rees Atlanta office partner Carl Gebo and associate Cecily McLeod achieved another distinctive and precedent-setting victory over the Federal Government.  Carl and Cecily secured a $2.5 million dollar federal construction contract on Patrick Air Force Base for Osprey Contracting Inc., a Florida-based construction company organized as an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business ("EDWOSB") under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program. Osprey was the apparent winner of an EDWOSB set-aside construction contract, the largest contract in Osprey's corporate history. But a competitor protested to the Air Force Contracting Officer that Osprey was ineligible for the award because Osprey's owner violated the limitation on "outside employment."  The SBA had never before issued a decision regarding an EDWOSB's status based on the regulatory limits on "outside employment."

A lack of precedent was not the only challenge facing the team.  In four calendar days, Carl and Cecily not only had to prepare Osprey's response, which included nearly 7,000 pages of documents, but also had to secure a favorable decision from the SBA, discourage or defeat any potential appeal, and convince the Air Force Contracting Officer to fund the contract before the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30th to keep a victory from being a purely moral one.

Ultimately, the SBA issued a ruling in Osprey's favor on September 25, 2012. Then on September 27th the Air Force Contracting Officer fully funded Osprey's contract.

This decision is the first successful defense of a post-award protest challenging the EDWOSB status of a company on the basis of "outside employment" in the SBA's history.  It sets a precedent for how the SBA will conduct its analysis of future protests brought under 13 CFR 127.202. The client describes this victory as a "game changer" for them.

Cecily J. McLeod