JHJ Solutions, LLC
How long have you been a proposal manager/specialist/ writer?
My earliest proposal assignment was a Sources Sought response for NASA communications support in 1976. In 1978, I was a technical contributor on five DoD proposals (four were wins) and the subcontractor Capture/Proposal/Program Manager for the 18-month GPS Operational Control Segment analysis and design fly-off. My assignments have involved capture and proposal leadership ever since.
How did you become involved with proposals?
My first corporate employer - Braddock, Dunn, and McDonald (BDM) - had a very engaged competitive culture: So you’re an engineer – sell something! BDM was a 600-person company where everyone played one or more roles in the business acquisition process.
Do you work in a "corporate office" or "home office" environment?
My basic work environment nowadays is a home office, but I also enjoy assignments that take me to client sites for closer collaboration with their staff.
What do you like best about working in your current environment?
Avoiding everyday commutes when they are not necessary, and not having to supervise staff on a daily basis.
What do you like least about working in your current environment?
Lack of quick and easy access to other subject matter experts for time-critical discussions, tech support, and lunches.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your job?
With everything being so “indefinite” and LPTA these days, it's sometimes difficult to find true discriminators that make a client's offering stand out, especially when they have surrounded themselves with a gaggle of "team members" who all have similar backgrounds.
What shortcuts or helpful best practices about working with proposal teams could you share?
Each proposal effort is a project, so good project management discipline helps to achieve the objective - winning. Proposals require systems integration thinking to relate their various components and tell a coherent story to the evaluators. Proposals are also manufacturing assembly lines, where understanding the supply chain and critical path contributes to the quality and efficiency of a competitive final product.
Why/when did you join APMP?
To learn and to network. The APMP membership complements my involvement in the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) as ways to stay relevant and engaged in current issues and solutions.
What is your method for successfully working with your proposal teams?
First of all, it's imperative to speak their language. In addition to the work content and technology, this includes recognizing the level of maturity of their baseline Business Acquisition processes and improving them by infusing more discipline, industry best practices, and personal lessons learned.
Which type of proposals do you do most? Commercial, government or other?
The vast majority of my capture and proposal work has been in the Federal space, initially in defense (command, control, communications, intelligence, and electronic warfare), then blood banking and lab systems, and most recently public health.