On March 17th the Coalition held its Spring Conference. I am pleased to report that the Conference was very well attended with a good mix of industry representatives and government officials. The Honorable Tom Davis, former Congressman for Virginia’s 11thCongressional District and former Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee and currently the Director of Federal Government Affairs, Deloitte LLP*, gave a thoughtful and engaging Keynote Address that focused on the current federal marketplace and what it means for government contractors. Shay Assad, Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, provided an update on DoD’s Better Buying Initiative. Our Congressional Panel provided insight into the Hill’s procurement oversight and reform approach. Stan Collender, Partner, Qorvis Communications, delivered an entertaining yet sobering presentation entitled “The Federal Budget in a Time of Madness.” Our legal panel, Jason Workmaster from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP*, Jonathan Aronie from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Howe LLP* and David Dowd from Mayer Brown LLP* provided the latest on significant bid protests, audits, investigations and contract claims impacting government contractors. Beth Ferrell and Jim Schweiter, also from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP*, provided a briefing on what a government shutdown will mean for contractors. Tami Riggs, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Customer Accounts and Research, Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), General Services Administration (GSA), delivered a presentation on her office’s market research and outreach efforts to FAS’s customer agencies. Finally, Elizabeth DelNegro, FAS’s Chief Information Officer, provided an update on FAS’s progress in implementing planned upgrades to FAS’s Enterprise Acquisition Solutions, including GSAAdvantage!.

Thank you to all the speakers—your participation made the conference a resounding success. Thank you to all those who attended, with a special thanks to our member firms, our Board of Advisors and Committee Chairs as well as Keystone sponsors. Finally, thank you to my staff for all their hard work in pulling the Conference together. I see every day how hard you work and how much you care about the Coalition.

Next week the Comment will focus on the March 16th interim rule implementing new Federal Acquisition Regulation 8.4 ordering procedures for the multiple award schedule program.