Disabled vet Sherman Barton battles for military contracts for business - Philadelphia Daily News Disabled vet Sherman Barton battles for military contracts for business - Philadelphia Daily News

Monday, May 21, 2012

Disabled vet Sherman Barton battles for military contracts for business - Philadelphia Daily News

Disabled vet Sherman Barton battles for military contracts for business - Philadelphia Daily News

They were 12 hairy years in Sherman Barton’s life. The Burlington County resident worked in military intelligence for the U.S. Army in Germany and Italy from 1972 to 1984, getting shot three separate times while hunting terrorists, he said.

The personal toll was vast, including the loss of two ribs, a portion of his lower intestines and some hearing, along with three broken neck vertebrae, ankle stiffness and instability, muscle weakness and depression.

Those injuries earned Barton an honorable discharge and classification by the Department of Veterans Affairs as having “a 100 percent permanent and total service-connected disability.”

It was a tough-to-take classification for the Edgewater Park resident whose military career was distinguished by his ability to hold up against many physical challenges.

Twenty-six years later — and after an 18-year second career as a disabled veterans counselor and special projects coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Philadelphia — Barton would see a silver lining in his disability designation: a leg up in competing for federal government contracts as a small-business owner. Or so he thought.

Even with laws and a presidential executive order in place to help steer government work to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, or SDVOSBs, Barton said he has found the opportunities maddeningly few and the process for securing such work too slow and unreliable on which to build a business.

He’s on a mission to change that. His primary target is one of the largest Department of Defense purchasing centers in the United States — Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Northeast Philadelphia. The center provides more than $14.5 billion annually in food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical supplies, construction equipment and industrial hardware to troops around the world and others in need.

After two years of e-mails, calls and near-monthly visits to DLA Troop Support — including an unauthorized failed attempt in October to see the commander — Barton’s supply company, VE Source L.L.C. in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, which currently is solely focused on getting government work, has secured just one SDVOSB contract. Awarded in March, it is worth $111,420 for 250 portable tents.

“How can you call this trying?” Barton said he has asked officials at DLA more than once.

According to the agency, DLA had 1,045 SDVOSB contracts totaling $62 million in 2010, and 3,780 valued at $48 million last year.

In all, DLA’s small business contracts totaled $2.4 billion in 2011, or 30.7 percent of the contract dollars eligible for small business. The remaining $5.4 billion in work eligible for small business awards went, instead, to larger domestic companies. DLA officials said they feel a responsibility to support bigger firms to ensure they will be around at times of heavy need, such as troop deployment.

Barton said he has been assured by DLA officials that more opportunities are coming for small businesses owned by disabled veterans. Those assurances have been accompanied by reminders that the agency must also answer to other mandates, including that it provide work when possible to programs that employ federal prison inmates, and the blind or severely disabled. DLA Troop Support’s contracts to two such primary programs, Federal Prison Industries and AbilityOne, totaled $422 million last year, said spokeswoman Stacey Hajdak. By law, those programs are given priority over service-disabled veterans and other small business subsets, such as women-owned and minority-owned firms.

“That’s kind of a delicate balancing act we have to go through,” Michael McCall, director of small business at DLA in Philadelphia, said in an interview earlier this month. “As the [federal] budget shrinks, that balancing act gets more and more difficult because everybody is trying to get their share of the pie.”

Barton, 59, VE Source’s president and majority owner, said he doesn’t begrudge set-asides for other groups. He just wants more action for himself and other disabled veterans trying to forge new careers. Those opportunities are imperative as troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan to a stingy job market, said Barton, who plans to hire disabled veterans as soon as his company lands some substantial deals.

“With the downsizing of the military, there are going to be more and more veterans like myself trying to start companies because there is no employment for them in the civilian sector,” Barton said last week.

He formed VE Source with two partners in 2010 to take advantage of an executive order issued by President Bush in October 2004 to strengthen opportunities for SDVOSBs. That directive called on the heads of federal agencies to “more effectively implement” previously adopted SDVOSB initiatives.

They included the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, which established an annual governmentwide goal of awarding not less than 3 percent in total value of all prime contracts and subcontracts to SDVOSBs.

In December 2003, the Veterans Benefits Act was passed by Congress to build upon the 1999 measure. For instance, it allowed — but did not require — federal contracting officers to restrict competition to SDVOSBs and award a sole-source or set-aside contract under certain conditions, such as if it could be done at a fair market price.

In May 2004, the Small Business Administration (SBA) established a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program to implement the Veterans Benefits Act, establishing criteria and guidelines.

From Barton’s perspective, it was an encouraging string of initiatives — until he retired from his Veterans Administration job in December 2009 and ventured into the trying world of entrepreneurship and DLA Troop Support.

The military supply agency would represent little more than tantalizing but unrealized opportunities, Barton said. Take for example a $28 million contract for cold-weather jackets for which VE Source submitted a bid to provide in July 2010. Seventeen extensions later, the contract still has not been awarded, Barton said.

“It’s just bad bureaucracy,” he said, adding that few small businesses have the financial wherewithal to endure such a waiting game.

At a closed hearing in December held at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel, one of Barton’s partners, Christopher Neary, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Defense Business Panel that the DLA “is not doing right by the policy of the executive order for the SDVO small business program or the veterans themselves,” according to a copy of his remarks.

Long before that hearing, deficiencies with the SDVOSB procurement program had apparently registered at DLA headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Va., according to a July 2010 internal memo obtained by The Inquirer. In it, Nancy Heimbaugh, acquisition management director, and Peg Meehan, then-director of the office of small business programs, urged recipients to “reinvigorate your efforts to increase business opportunities for SDVOSB concerns.”

The memo concluded: “Our wounded warrior entrepreneurs deserve nothing less.”

Financial Markets Stabilize but Downsides Remain - NASDAQ

(IBTimes) - Financial markets stabilized in Asian session on Monday after the G-8 meeting. However, the actual macroeconomic outlook and the situation in the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis have not changed much from previous week. Therefore, it is reasonable to anticipate more downsides after the recovery. In China, Premier Wen Jaibao was reported of having said that the priority should be given to stimulating growth. This led to anticipations that further reduction in RRR will come.

The focus of the G-8 meeting over the weekend was undoubtedly on the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone. It was stated in the communiqué that world finance leaders "agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive euro zone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the Eurozone while respecting its commitments". Concerning the global economic outlook, the leaders acknowledged persistence of "significant headwinds" and they pledged to "take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses, recognizing that the right measures are not the same for each of us". However, there were no further detailed plans on how to resolve the problems.

In China, Premier Wen Jiabao stated that the government "should continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, while giving more priority to maintaining growth". The comments indicated that the government sees more is needed to be done to stimulate growth. It's expected that the PBOC will implement further RRR cuts following last week's reduction which would inject RMB 400B to the banking system.

Commitments of Traders:

Speculators were mixed towards the energy complex in the week ended May 15. Net length for crude oil futures added +503 contracts to 184 463. Net length for heating oil slipped -3 084 contracts to 10 131 while that for gasoline dropped -2 581 to 71 811. Net short for natural gas futures added +4 349 contracts to 109 424.

Speculators were bearish towards precious metals. Net length for gold futures dipped -9 161 contracts to 114 142 while that for silver declined -1 089 contracts to 11 474 contracts. For PGMs, net length for platinum decreased -1 358 contracts to 14 370 while that for palladium dropped -2 134 to 2 919.










Original Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/343284/20120521/financial-markets-stabilize-downsides-remain.htm

For more information, go to www.ibtimes.com

Stocks to watch at close on Monday - Sydney Morning Herald

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at close on Monday:

CPB - CAMPBELL BROTHERS LTD - down 60 cents at $56.70

Laboratory group Campbell Brothers' full year profit is up 68 per cent and the company expects more growth in the year ahead.

ELD - ELDERS LTD - down 0.5 cents at 20 cents

Agribusiness and automotive interiors supplier Elders has returned to profitability, boosted by a large tax win.

JHX - JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES SE - down 10 cents at $6.95

Building products maker James Hardie Industries has posted a significantly improved full year profit due to a favourable ruling in a long-running tax dispute.

ORI - ORICA LTD - up five cents $25.24

Chemicals company Orica is part of a joint venture that will build a $US800 million ($A815.87 million) ammonium nitrate plant on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

PMP - PMP LTD - up three cents at 40 cents

Shares in printer and publisher PMP have added more than 10 per cent in value after the company confirmed ticketing and labelling group TMA is behind a recent takeover bid.

QAN - QANTAS AIRWAYS LTD - steady at $1.43

Qantas Airways will axe 500 jobs as it restructures its heavy aircraft maintenance and engineering operations in Queensland and Victoria.

TOE - TORO ENERGY LTD - up 0.7 cents at 7.4 cents

BHP - BHP BILLITON LTD - up 64 cents at $32.10

Western Australia could be a step closer to getting its first uranium mine.

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Business News: Pailton Engineering's going places - Coventry Telegraph.net

Barclays offloads fund management business BGI to BlackRock for $13.5bn - Daily Telegraph

Asked about the windfall he will receive, American-born Mr Diamond explained that he bought shares in BGI at the same time as many other “senior people”. “The way the business has performed over the last six years, driving from $100m a year of profit before tax in 2003 to as high as $1.5bn in 2007 means the returns to employees who bought shares were good. I’ll leave it at that,” said Mr Diamond.

Both he and Mr Varley will join the BlackRock board should the deal - which values BGI at 11.8 times 2008 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) - be approved by shareholders. The sale proceeds would lead to a net gain for Barclays of $8.8bn, raising the bank’s Tier One capital ratio to 8.3pc from 6.7pc.

There remains a slim chance that the deal could be scuppered should a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners – which had originally offered $4.4bn to buy the iShares part of BGI in April - chooses to propose a higher offer for the entire BGI business.

CVC has until June 18 to propose such an offer, with Mr Diamond on Thursday night confirming that it was “pretty clear” that Barclays’ board would accept an offer only for the whole of BGI and not just iShares, which specialises in exchange traded funds.

However, if CVC does not trump BlackRock’s offer, the proposed combination will be recommended by the Barclays board and put to a shareholder vote, which, if successful, will lead to the creation of the renamed BlackRock Global Investors with $2.8 trillion of assets under management.

Mr Diamond went on to admit that the two companies have been talking on-and-off for the last 6 to 7 years, but that although “it wasn’t the right time then, clearly it’s the right time now.”

BlackRock is funding part of the deal through a $2.8bn institutional share offering. Although Mr Fink would not disclose the identity of any of the investors involved, the Sunday Telegraph revealed last week that the Qatar Investment Authority, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Kuwait Investment Authority were all interested in backing BlackRock.

Shares in Barclays, which closed up 16p at 304.5p on Thursday on expectation of the deal’s announcement, are set to rise further when the market opens for business this morning.

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