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Hidden Gem: Defense Experts Coffee Club

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Defense Experts Coffee Club federal contracts vendor network

Heard of the Defense Experts Coffee Club? I have now, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Federal vendors in diverse industries take turns hosting this regular gathering in Dayton, San Antonio, Washington DC and Tampa.  Fabian Plath of NES Associates was our host this month. Want to know what it's all about?

In all, nearly 300 members and over 200 organizations take part: a vendor community that offers a broad and deep range of services, and represent small to Fortune 500 Companies.

Think of it as a monthly federal busines intelligence potluck. During my first visit this morning, I heard large and small businesses share tips, get answers, and make partnership connections in person and via teleconference.

Today, members talked about how to address LPTA challenges, noted key conferences coming up (including AFCEA ACES in late October and the National Veterans Small Business Conference in mid-December), considered what needs to happen to dismantle the hurdles faced by Mid-Tier firms, identified commands that are actively seeking more HUBZone vendors, and reached out for partners for upcoming bids. The more you share, and the more you strengthen the group, the more everyone succeeds.

Here's the key to taking part in a group like this: Bring something to share. Don't just come to lurk and suck down everybody else's contributions.

In my case, I brought news of a conference, and my query on hot topics brought some new insight into the effects of LPTA on the contracting work force. The most exciting thing was to make two introductions between a DECC member and absent friends to explore business together. That's one of the things I love most about what I do: connecting people who need to meet each other. In this case, none of these folks is a client. I simply want them to succeed, and I can no sooner fail to do that than to stop breathing.

I really enjoyed my visit -- and I'll be back. Thanks to Richard Goudie of Optech for inviting me! 

I thought I was pretty well informed about the key groups that get together to support each other in federal contracting, so I was delighted to learn about a new one (and, this month, hosted so close to my office, too). Just goes to show you: There's always a new place to get to know people! Find out more online at Defense Experts Coffee Club. See you next month!

What's your favorite industry network, and why?

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 11:50am


Submitted by David Hart on
Hi Judy, nice post. Very happy you could attend. I heard you speak at AFCEA West a few years ago. I started DECC in Dayton, Ohio 5 years ago in a Panera with 5 people, then I started the DC DECC in the Pentagon City Mall food court and the rest is history. For a Federal/DoD BD person, information is power and relationship are king. Lately, I've been getting inquiries from all over the country to start DECCs and join DECCs, I couldn't figure out what was up. As you point people this way, I want emphasize a few key thing. DECC is distinctly different than other Federal/DoD networking groups and professional associations in that the goal is to keep it informal, with no membership fee and no board, but at the same time require that the members attend in person and more importantly actively share market information at the meetings. The active participation has the effect of building trust in the group and driving the conversations to a deeper level. Typically people are referred into the group by an existing member. Richard, Bull, Wes and Fabian do a great job leading the DC DECC. You can point inquiries to me at david.hart@seguetech.com Inquiries end up with me anyways because I manage the collaboration portal. Have an awesome day! David Hart

Submitted by Judy Bradt on
David, thanks so much for the details and for encouraging like minded people to get in touch with you! I'm delighted that you remembered me from AFCEA, a community I would like to serve more. Fabian was very clear about the importance of contributing, not just hanging out to siphon from others. DECCis unique and thrives for that reason. Bravo!

Submitted by Richard Goudie on
Thank you Judy for the DECC support and shout out on Summit Insight. As David said, it's all about building trust and strategic partnering. Hope to see you at the next DECC.

Submitted by Judy Bradt on
Richard, I like DECC very much. Can interested folks contact you to find out more?

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