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CalVet DVBE Awards

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CalVet Presents Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Awards

Citrus Heights, CA — California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter J. Gravett recognized two Disabled Veteran Businesses with the John K. Lopez Award for outstanding contributions to California’s Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) community at the 13th Annual State Agency Recognition Awards.

Secretary Gravett also accepted the Small Business Advocate Innovation Award which was given to the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) for having significantly increased the number of Small Business/DVBE firms with which the Department contracts. By personally contacting firms and encouraging them to apply for or renew state certification, CalVet increased its non-IT services small business contract participation from 12.42% in 2010-2011 to 20.65% in 2011-12.

The awards were part of the State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) ceremony during which the Department of General Services honored 41 state agencies and 17 state employees for their outstanding work with California small businesses and disabled veterans’ businesses.

Secretary Gravett presented the 2012 John K. Lopez Award for Individual Excellence to Robert Mulz, founder and owner of Video Electronics in San Diego, California—the premier source for hard-to-find, niche and specialty electronics products. Since his founding of the Elite Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Chapter in San Diego in 1994, Mulz has consistently fought for a better business climate for disabled veteran entrepreneurs. As Chairman of the Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Network, he expanded the Elite’s reach to more than 27 states and the District of Columbia.

Secretary Gravett presented the 2012 John K. Lopez Award for Business Excellence to The Amerit Companies. Through owner and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Herbold, Amerit Consulting and Amerit Fleet Solutions has formed the largest disabled veteran business enterprise company in California, with 2,800 employees doing business in 47 states. Amerit Consulting and Staffing also provides services to some of California’s most important industries, and Amerit Fleet Solutions maintains one of the nation’s largest corporate fleets.

“It was an honor to recognize outstanding achievement by and on behalf of our service-disabled veterans,” said Gravett. “The DVBE program allows disabled veterans to compete more effectively for a share of the State’s contracting dollars. It’s one of the many benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice to our country.”

The awards are named for John K. Lopez, a Korean War Marine Corps veteran whose efforts are largely responsible for the original DVBE legislation being passed in 1989. Lopez passed away in April of this year at the age of 78.

A complete list of SARA recipients is available at on the DGS web site.


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Are You Ready to Start a Business?

A Creating Good Work Entrepreneur Orientation Event

Entrepreneurs4Change and (Veteran and Military Business Owners Association) would like to invite you to a free Entrepreneurs Orientation Event – Are You Ready to Start a Business? If you’ve always thought about starting a business, or if you have a business idea you’ve always wanted to launch, or if you’ve already begun a new business venture that needs help, join us for our free introductory entrepreneurial session.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 11th, from 2-4:00 PM at Ventura County Community Foundation, United Way Community Room, 1317 Del Norte Road Suite 150 Camarillo, CA.

This 2-hour introductory event is specifically for those entrepreneurs who are:

  • Launching a new business effort
  • In need of the education and training to start a business
  • In need of access to the capital to make it happen.

If you’re starting a business or if you have a business idea you’ve always dreamed about putting into action, join us on September 11th and see if this is the opportunity you’ve been looking for. The actual Creating Good Work Entrepreneurial Workshop, again free to all Vets, will be held the last week in September.

Space is very limited. RSVP, today at

The Orientation Meeting is free to all respondents and open to all Veteran entrepreneurs by invitation only.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has increased its support for California Small Business/Microbusiness (SB/MB) over the last three years, approved awarding more than $9.5 million in SB/MB contracts in FY 2011-12. That represents more than 28% of CalVet’s total contract dollars.

In addition, CalVet awarded more than $2 million in Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) contracts, which accounts for more than 6% of the Department’s total SB/MB contract dollars.

CalVet’s contracting performance has exceeded the State’s 25% SB/MB goal and more than doubled the State’s 3% DVBE goal. CalVet’s contracting efforts also exceeded its own more stringent 5% DVBE goal.

“These numbers directly reflect CalVet’s strategic goals because support of small business and Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises means jobs for veterans,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “It took a lot of work on the part of everyone involved in the procurement process for CalVet to make this happen, and I’m enormously proud of my staff.”

CalVet credits its success to a DVBE/SB first policy which requires buyers to first seek out certified DVBE and SB vendors for any purchases and contracts.  This policy requires an approved waiver prior to contracting with other vendors.  Management support of this policy, and the DVBE and SB programs in general, is also critical to exceeding these performance goals.

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CalVet: Carolyn Ballou
Jaime Arteaga
August 1, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Today Chief Counsel for Advocacy Dr. Winslow Sargeant praised Congress’ repeal of the three percent contractor withholding requirement. The requirement would have required federal, state and local governments to withhold three percent of nearly all payments made to contractors, placing a burden on numerous small businesses. By a vote of 95 to 0, the Senate passed the Government Contractor Withholding Repeal Act. The House has already passed a similar piece of legislation. The Office of Advocacy has consistently worked with small businesses for the elimination of this unfair burden. The Chief Counsel called for its elimination in May of this year.

“The repeal of the three percent withholding requirement is a victory for small business,” said Dr. Sargeant. “For small businesses to thrive in government contracting they need an environment that is clear, transparent and predictable.”

The three percent withholding requirement would have adversely affected the accounts all small businesses that provide services to government entities. Most of the small businesses would have had to increase their debt level in order to ensure sufficient cash flows and thus pass these additional expenses on to their government customers. If small firms were unable to secure additional debt, the three percent withholding requirement might force them out of the Federal contracting market.

The three percent provision was included in the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 in an effort to ensure that individuals and companies that receive new payments from the federal government did not accrue tax debt. The law mandated that federal state and local governments with expenditures of more than $100 million withhold three percent of payments for products and services worth more than $10,000. The requirement was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013.

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. The presidentially appointed Chief Counsel for Advocacy advances the views, concerns, and interests of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policymakers. Regional advocates and an office in Washington, D.C., support the Chief Counsel’s efforts. For more information, visit, or call (202) 205-6533.

Washington, D.C. – Fourteen major contracts to transform information technology in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have been awarded for an estimated program ceiling of $12 billion. The Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology program, known as T4, will consist of 15 prime contracts, including seven awards reserved for service-disabled Veteran small businesses and Veteran-owned small businesses.

“This five-year program will help VA transform into a 21st century organization and enable us to deliver the high-quality health care, benefits, and services Veterans have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “In addition, it opens an opportunity for Veterans in business to grow and claim a share of VA’s business.”

Calling the program T4, VA awarded 14 prime contracts together as a tool to close gaps in acquiring IT services to integrate systems, networks and software. A fifteenth contract is pending resolution of a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office. The companies selected will have a fair opportunity to compete for work under T4 over five years. Their services and products may cover the life cycle of a computer system, and include program planning and management, systems and software engineering, cyber security, operation and maintenance, and support to facilities.

One of VA’s main goals is to provide timely access to benefits and high-quality health care to Veterans over their lifetimes, from the day they enter military service until the day they are laid to rest. T4 will be a major tool enabling VA to meet those goals by closing gaps in transforming programs.

The combined contracts will allow the most efficient use of technology to reduce the backlog of benefit claims and delivers real value to America’s taxpayers.

The T4 program will be a single focal point for managing the multiple contracts; give VA access to the best industry capabilities without the traditional long acquisition lead time; and help the department meet its Veteran small-business goals.

Unsuccessful competitors will be notified once the fifteenth, final award is made. They will be given the opportunity to receive a debriefing about their respective proposals and learn how they might improve their future submissions.