Interview with Mickey M. Swortzel, CFO of New Eagle Consulting
- Tell us a little about your company and its mission.
Mickey Swortzel: We are a engineering services and product distribution company that also develops products used for control systems. Those are found in multiple applications; we focus largely on commercial vehicles, trucks, vans, and most often fleet vehicles. We are looking to provide efficiency in the fuel areas by focusing on alternative, electric, and hybrid vehicles to make them more efficient and less pollutant.
Our mission is making the world a cleaner place to live.
We are also helping our customers by providing the expertise of our engineers in customized hardware and software solutions.
- Have you always planned on doing business with the federal government?
Mickey Swortzel: Yes, we’ve always wanted to do business with the federal government since our founding in 2008. However, it took quite some time until we managed to score our first contract in 2014.
- What shaped your decision to start pursuing Federal Contracts?
Mickey Swortzel: My husband and I cofounded the business and we grew up in Dayton, Ohio which is a home for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The industry was always prevalent in the local economy so we’ve seen the value that government contracts can provide to the city. It’s sort of in our DNA.
We also knew that we had a solution that they needed and it was just a matter of getting noticed as we are a small business.
As mentioned above we were pursuing federal contracts for 6 years until we managed to get the first one. During that time, we were working on developing relationships, we listened to what they needed and, most importantly, we worked on getting validated as a business.
How has this shaped your business?
Mickey Swortzel: It dramatically changed our business for the better. We have engaged 2 different consultant experts who helped us a lot in the process. We also became DCAA compliant and one of the consultants helped me to pass the audit.
In general, we were doing everything we needed before as well. We just needed to put it into the federal government language and present it in a way they could understand. That’s where the consultants were very helpful.
- How do you think ChallengeHER and the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program help women business owners in the process?
Mickey Swortzel: Going through the WOSB certification process helped us to position our unique value. One of our consultants told me: “You have an incredible value proposition. You just need to make sure you get known and recognized for it.” That’s the area where educational events like ChallengeHER can be very helpful to spread this message among WOSBs. On top of that the educational portion is incredibly important especially the DCAA lessons which is a fundamental part of being successful as a federal contractor.
Although being WOSB certified hasn’t helped us to get the current contract, we are definitely better positioned now to get additional contracts in the future.
- How has it helped your business?
Mickey Swortzel: WIPP in general helped me to put a Capability Statement together and get through the required registrations. All of the educational portion has really helped me to understand the value that we have and channel it to get heard.
- What percentage of your revenue comes from government contracts?
Mickey Swortzel: About 25%. We want to stay diversified but we certainly want to increase that proportion in the future.
- What contracts are you currently working on? What have you worked on in the past?
Mickey Swortzel: We are currently working on a Phase 2 contract for the Department of the Air Force which will take about 18 months in total to complete. We are also working for DOE as a subcontractor however we prefer focusing our energy on prime contracts.
- Does your business export?
Mickey Swortzel: Yes, we are exporting our engineering consulting services and electronic hardware around the globe.
- What would you recommend to other WOSBs doing business with the federal government?
- I would absolutely recommend utilizing WIPP educational resources. Going through the website and being in touch with the team has been the quickest and most efficient way to find information as I started this process.
- Business owners should also recognize that it takes a long time to get federal contracts and don’t give up.
- The stronger the business is the more attractive it is for government contracts. You are not wasting your time even when you don’t win the contract. You are building a strong business which you need in order to ultimately win contracts.
- Realize the WOSB opportunities and take advantage of them. Getting WOSB certified is very important and it’s worth whatever time and energy is required.