HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Alabama awarded a rather large contract to a small Wimberley, Texas business Aug. 2.

The $90 million Single Award Task Order Contract was awarded to Government Marketing and Procurement, LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business. GMP is a Government Services Administration schedule contractor providing information technology procurement services.

Nicole Boone, Huntsville Center Office of Small Business Programs deputy chief, said the total dollars awarded in fiscal year 2016 by Huntsville Center to SDVOSB was around $100 million. She said to award a single contract to an SDVOSB at almost the same amount over an entire fiscal year is noteworthy.

"Awarding a large $90 million contract to a small business is outstanding, but the award being to a SDVOSB is exceptional," Boone said.

Boone said Huntsville Center's policy is focused on providing 'maximum practicable' prime and subcontracting opportunities to small firms and in fiscal year 2017, the organization directed awards valued at more than $637 million to small businesses.

"Small businesses provide jobs, innovation and competition in industry," Boone said. "Small businesses are the economic growth engine for America."

The contract directs responsibility to GMP for the deployment, installation, setup, configuration, and training of the Vocera Wireless Hands-Free Internal Communication System (WHICS) within Defense Health Agency.

A wearable device no bigger than a smart phone, the Vocera WHICS improves communication by instantly connecting physicians, nurses, and support staff via text and voice while also connecting them to medical records and live patient clinical information.

The DHA manages the more than 400 military hospitals and clinics currently owned and operated by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Patrick Stone, Huntsville Center Information Technology Division facility technology integration branch chief, said the contract was originally for only a few Army Medical Command customers. However, due to Huntsville Center's broad and flexible acquisition solution portfolio, the contract extended across the Defense Health Agency's enterprise.

"One of the functional leads at Army Medical Command approached our division about assisting DHA in putting together several Vocera procurements over fiscal year 2016," Stone said.

"As their requirements continued to grow from two or three locations to upwards to 29, our Medical Communication Infrastructure Systems Support program manager put together a programmatic justification and authorization and received an award to take care of DHA's requirements.

Stone said it was during this time that Huntsville Center's IT Division suggested DHA look at a large contract vehicle to accompany all of their needs for the next several years.

"That would expedite DHA's ability to receive their needed equipment," Stone said.
After additional conversations with the customer, Stone suggested that an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity SATOC contract would be the best path forward.

Travis Kuykendall, GMP executive vice president, said he was pleased with the collaboration process between all stakeholders to deliver a complete procurement to deployment solution for the DHA.

He said he feels certain that the partnership will enhance the healthcare for the more than nine million beneficiaries of DHA, one of America's largest and most complex health care institutions, and the world's preeminent military health care delivery operation.

"By utilizing Vocera to improve clinical communications and enhance mobility through greater responsiveness and more bedside care, DHA is improving the quality of care they deliver to the nation's military family worldwide" Kuykendall said.