State aids rural businesses in selling to government |

State aids rural businesses in selling to government

Anne Knowles

Representatives from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center travelled to rural Nevada last week to hear how they can better help far flung businesses work with the state government.

Lyndee Cichon, the program’s director, and Maggie Neidigh, its new rural procurement specialist, met with economic development authorities and local officials in Elko, Ely, Fallon, Battle Mountain and Winnemucca to gauge how the free service can best help rural businesses sell their products and services to the state.

“They were already familiar with program, so we were in friendly territory,” says Cichon. “They’re really excited to hear a staff member is dedicated to their needs of their community.”

PTAC, established in 1986, offers counseling, bid-matching, workshops, and buyer matchmaking events to help businesses navigate the state procurement process. In June, the center added the rural staff position and now has six employees working with about 1,100 businesses.

Cichon says PTAC primarily works with small businesses. PTAC doesn’t yet have a calendar of events for rural-based businesses, but Cichon and Neidigh last week talked to local officials about assisting with a business expo in Ely in the spring and another in Fallon next fall.

“Putting together business events is a lot of work, so they’re happy to hear we can support them,” says Cichon.

Neidigh, a former contracting officer with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is based in Fallon and will continue to travel as needed throughout Nevada’s rural counties.

“When I was a contracting officer I utilized the PTAC office quite often to assist vendors and contractors with some of the certification requirements,” of the state, says Neidigh. “We want to bring business to their areas.”

The center, known statewide as Procurement Outreach Program, has added PTAC to its now lengthy name because PTAC is part an established nationwide network. The program is part of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In the last year, PTAC held 25 contracting workshops, 232 initial counseling sessions and 2,083 follow-up meetings with businesses statewide.