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December 15, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle

Small Businesses'
Best Friend

Bowl Madness begins—this Saturday in Washington!  And can you believe it: DC not only gets its first college football bowl game ever, but it'll be the very first one of the post-season. It’s the EagleBank Bowl pitting Navy v. Wake Forest, at good ol’ RFK. Easy to get to, fun for everyone. Please see ad to right, and hope to see you there!


DoE Diversity Director Theresa Alvillar-Speake loves traveling and elephants (both the animals and the political symbol), but it's small businesses that love her. When she was appointed to her position seven years ago, DoE was one of the worst government agencies in awarding small business contracts, but now ranks among the best. The SBA recently recognized it as only one of three agencies to meet all its FY 07 goals. "We went from awarding $500 million in procurement in '01 to more than $1.4 billion last year, so the proof is in the numbers," she says.


As you can see, Theresa loves her President as well (she kissed the picture frame!) and credits his second term to giving her time for her programs to take root. Among them: creating a customized list of small businesses wanting to do work at DoE; forecasting future projects to allow for planning; scheduling monthly business opportunity sessions; developing an advanced acquisition planning process that considers small business early in the process; and an increased presence at industry events. "We are focused on ensuring that small businesses know that we want to do business with them, but that they must help our procurement people search for ways to include them in what we do."  


At the end of her appointment, Theresa plans to retire (again). She's going to visit her sister in Florida for a few weeks while the two decide their next exotic vacation destination (they've gone to Machu Picchu, the Great Wall and South Africa in the past few years). "I like active vacations — I'm not good at just sitting on a beach," says the Arizona native and mother of three, who was a minority business advocate at Commerce under Bush 41. She's also held a number of small business advocacy jobs for the state of California, but plans to stay near D.C. "All my friends are here, plus there are two airports that can take me anywhere in the world."

Event Revolution?

Blackboard co-founder Steve Gilfus wants to revolutionize the way people attend sporting events, concerts and theatrical performances with his new company Event Innovation. The DC-based start-up is using a platform that lets users paperlessly (we think that's a word) purchase, distribute, and use event tickets, while providing customer information for venues. "Basically, users get a card they can place their electronic ticket on to gain entry to an event and then use the same card to purchase food and souvenirs," says Steve, who helped develop a similar technology at Blackboard for college students. The cards let venues know what events people attended and what they purchased to provide them special offers.


Steve with VP Frank Ganis, a former Blackboard employee. Event Innovation's user page lets you synch Facebook and LinkedIn contact lists, so you can send friends invitations to events. "We all have that friend who organizes people, so our platform helps them arrange the outing, from making it easier to give out tickets to picking where people sit," Steve says. The venues also then get an idea of who bought what and can let customers know about events. Steve says the company, which plans to launch its platform in beta early next year, is talking with venues across the world. And as for Steve? He loves sports and concerts, while Frank loves the stage.

Graduation Day!

Usually graduations are in the spring, but the group at Annapolis-based NMR Consulting just celebrated graduation from 8(a) to the scary world of being a mid-sized contractor. Pictured are: CEO David Garcia, Hallot Watkins, Dennis Smythe, David Jones and Stephen Umberger. If these guys haven't thought of a graduation gift yet we've got one: Wall decorations! Seriously fellas, we've seen more colorful walls in Cell Block 6!


RegeneRx CFO Neil Lyons, center, flanked by Bernstein's Joe Brodecki and Hudson's Bill Peiffer, had some good news this week, getting a $3 million additional cash investment on "favorable terms" from its largest shareholder,  the Sigma-Tau Group out of Italy. Bethesda-based RegeneRx is a biopharmaceutical firm developing drugs to accelerate tissue and organ repair. Neil tells us they recently reported "striking efficacy results" in clinical trials for eye drops that heal ulcers on the cornea, and are also currently evaluating results of Phase II trials for pressure ulcers (aka bedsores). The firm, whose roots go back to the 80s, has 10 employees and "outsources everything."  We are envious of that business model.

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