Dennis Furr is the CEO and President of RMA Consulting, a firm that helps companies land government contracts. He’s been at the helm of the firm since November 2017, and he stopped by PLN to share some of his government contracting insight as we look ahead to what’s next after the coronavirus pandemic.
PLN: Between stimulus and unemployment checks being sent to citizens, as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, do you continue to see the Federal Government’s role in our everyday lives as prominent as we see it today?
Furr: I see the Federal Government’s role in filling the gaps that were created in the past 16 months and pull us out of the downward spiral we’ve been in the past 18 months. It has the ability to do that. It was 25% of our gross national product before the pandemic (minus defense), and I think that its job is to see that our country can continue in the lifestyle it is used to.
PLN: Since the Biden Administration has taken over, we’ve seen more talk about green jobs and green energy, less dependency on oil. It would appear the Federal Government is trying to create a new “green” sector of the economy with this effort. As you advise your clients about contracts are lucrative, what direction are you pointing them toward in May 2021.
Furr: I’m pointing my clients toward emerging technologies, not so much the energy piece. That’s because, in the past, federal contracts were issued without the ability to adapt to new technology, and I think the Federal Government has learned from that. These new emerging technologies include machine learning, artificial intelligence, and edge computing. Companies that are moving in that direction are going to have a huge impact on where our government goes in the future.
PLN: When you think about getting away from it all, are you a beach guy? Are you a hike in the mountains guy? Do you prefer a staycation?
Furr: I’m more of a mountains guy, mainly because I’m allergic to the sun, so the beach isn’t one of my favorite things. I love the Appliancian Trail, and I haven’t been there in quite some time, and I would love to get back up there.
PLN: On government contracts, in the past, there have been stipulations that office space must be provided to employees. As we look ahead with the prevalence of video conferencing, do you think mandatory office space will still be a thing?
Furr: I think it will be for more classified work. I think there’s a need for some of that work to take place in what’s called a skiff. In order to accomplish some of the work we’re doing, there is going to be a need for some office space working in areas that are secured. But the majority of what the Federal Government does can be accomplished by poeple working from home, and we’ve kind of proven that over the past year.
PLN: With the idea that most federal contractors could work from home, Do you still think it’s wise for officials in our region to continue to lure federal contractors to Prince William County and Fredericksburg regions?
Furr: Absolutely. I think it’s a great collaboration space for federal contractors. I’ve traveled across the country, and it seems the further away you get from Washington, D.C., there’s less of an understanding of what people seem to have of what’s going on in the federal space. I traveled to a cyber convention in Arizona, and it seemed people in D.C. were using different technology than what people located further away from D.C. I remember a discussion about fax machines in the Veterans Administration and how a lot of VA doctors outside of D.C. were still using fax machines to transmit information. It was something that was completely foreign to people in the D.C area because many were not using fax machines anymore.
Thanks, Dennis, for taking some time to chat with us here at PLN. If you’re a local CEO that would like to be featured in this post or know someone who is, please email us.