APMP Southern Proposal Accents Conference

SPAC 2019 — Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21, 2019 — Cobb Energy Performance Arts Center (CEPAC), Atlanta

2018 SPAC Presenters


Javier Suarez

Javier Suarez

Making Proposals Personal... or, When is Road Rage Acceptable?

Most of those working in the proposal industry did not have a career in proposals as a planned destination, but instead ended up here as a result of one or more detours. Ensuring that you are investing in the right roadmaps for professional development and learning to read the road signs related to customizing proposals for the win are critical to success. In this session, you will learn tips and tricks about navigating the no/go process, and surviving the rush hour traffic jam of stressful production deadlines, and more!

Javier Suarez is a seasoned marketing manager with 20+ years of experience with professional services firms. He has led marketing efforts for opportunities in the U.S., Caribbean, Central and South America, and other international locations. He has managed marketing teams and provided guidance implementing best marketing practices. He is currently the Central Marketing Manager for Geosyntec Consultants, a premier engineering firm with over 1,200 professionals in 80+ offices. Javier is a regular columnist in the Zweig Letter.


Tonya Maurice

Tonya Maurice

A Team to the Finish Line

Martin Truex, Jr. won the 2017 NASCAR Cup, but it took a large team of people working together to get him to the winners' circle. Whether racing the Talladega 500 or preparing a multi-million-dollar proposal response, everyone on the team is critical to getting the win. In this session, we will look at how the roles of the racing team correlate with those of a proposal team. Join us to learn more about who you need on your proposal team to cover all of the activities and help your proposal cross the finish line as a winner.

Tonya Maurice, CF APMP, is vice president at Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation where for over 11 years she has provided day-to-day oversight of the proposal process, mentoring and training proposal team members across the company. She has 20+ years' experience spanning the full opportunity life cycle in Federal capture and proposal management for both large and small companies with a successful record of winning new business.


Howard Nutt

Howard Nutt

Paying Attention to Guideposts — Taking the Best Route to Your Destination

Over the last 10 years, the BD-Institute has studied BD/capture/proposal best practices, most recently through a BD Benchmark Study 2017. In this presentation, we will highlight several findings that can help proposal professionals point their organizations to relevant industry benchmarks. These findings include organizational imperatives, resource strategies and performance indicators — altogether a roadmap to more successful proposals and better practices along the way. Notably, attendees will take away data on what leading companies do, how they do it, and what they achieve, from which they can develop their own business case for implementing best practice in their organizations.

Howard Nutt is executive director of Business Development Institute International, an international non-profit organization dedicated to extending BD best practices worldwide. Howard was one of APMP's 28 founding members, developed its original strategic plan, is the recipient of APMP Founders and Vision awards and continues as an APMP Fellow. He leads development of the Capability Maturity Model® for Business Development and was a former Senior VP of Consulting for Shipley Associates.


Bruce Farrell

Bruce Farrell

Presentation Design for Non-Designers

Presentation design is not a skill most of us have been taught. Therefore, it is not surprising that the task is usually stressful and the results are unsatisfactory. This session will focus on basic presentation design principles and the process of developing better presentations. We will cover, principles of screen presentations, graphics for presentations (in contrast with proposal graphics), and walk through a step-by-step process of designing a presentation from scratch. Participants should be prepared to keep an open mind, ask questions and have fun.

Bruce Farrell is a proposal and presentation specialist at Plante Moran with a 25-year history in business communications and development. His specialty is helping professionals identify and organize key points to translate their "big ideas" into quality documents and presentations. He works with pursuit teams, presenters and keynote speakers to develop documents that make an impact. He is a board member for the Greater Midwest Chapter and presents at APMP International and chapter events.


David M. Stearman

David M. Stearman

From Start to Finish: Building a Proposal Schedule that Works — How do you build a proposal schedule?

It is a basic, yet essential aspect of proposal development. It is also a learned skill—yet few of us are trained specifically in how to do it. Most of us, in fact, learned how to build a schedule through some combination of trial-and-error, common sense and mentoring (if we were lucky). In this session, we will explore key elements of a schedule, identify different models of schedule building and discuss the pros and cons of each. We will walk through a recommended approach to schedule building that optimizes how proposal activities are managed.

David M. Stearman is founder and CEO of Proposal Strategy and Development Consulting LLC, which helps government contractors win more work by providing support across the BD/capture/proposal spectrum. He offers strategic perspectives, asks insightful questions, and challenges assumptions. David expertly applies best practices and innovative approaches in proposal planning, preparation, and development, and trains individuals and organizations to succeed. David is a Shipley-certified Business Development professional who has spoken at numerous APMP conferences, including SPAC 2017.


Melissa Mabon

Melissa Mabon

The Intrepid Word Traveler—Tips to Help You Navigate an RFP and Reach the Other Side

In this session, we will dive into little known features in Microsoft Word to help dissect, disperse and totally dominate your next RFP. Learn how to:

  • Flag instructions, requirements, and pit-falls before you begin
  • Leave no trace behind when re-using proposal content
  • Use comments to keep everyone on your team on the same path
  • Avoid the dangers of converting a proposal to PDF

And, in keeping with Expedience tradition, SPAC attendees will receive a free Word Add-in with automated features to extend these tips.

Melissa Mabon is founder and software architect of Expedience Software, Successor Company to Pragmatech Software, which she cofounded in 1994. During her tenure, Pragmatech grew to be the leading proposal automation provider, twice receiving the INC 500. Other awards include the New Hampshire Entrepreneur of the Year and New Hampshire Remarkable Woman. Melissa Mabon holds two masters' degrees from Columbia University where she did extensive research in logic, epistemology and expert systems.


BJ Lownie

BJ Lownie

The 'Pit Crew' of the Selling Cycle

The pit crew on a racetrack is responsible for getting the driver and car over the finish line, and ideally, winning the race. The proposal pit crew is responsible for developing and submitting a proposal that puts the company in the best position to win business. Members of a proposal crew need to understand the role of proposals in the selling cycle, what is required to win, roles and responsibilities of those involved and the proposal development process. Participants will gain valuable insights, tips and techniques that will help them become highly capable members of their respective proposal pit crew.

BJ Lownie is a thought leader and favorite presenter at SPAC conferences. Through his work, presentations and training sessions, B.J. and the Strategic Proposal team have helped proposal professionals improve the quality of the proposals they submit and the efficiency of their operations. He is the co-author of Proposal Essentials: Win More Win More Easily and the blog: The Proposal Guys. B.J. is a founding member of APMP, a certified APMP Professional and an APMP Fellow.


Lisa Pafe

Lisa Pafe

Are Your Proposal Reviews Derailing the Win?

Proposal best practices dictate that we hold color team reviews — Blue, Pink, Red, and Gold — practically the entire rainbow. Yet, often our proposal reviews prevent us from successfully reaching the finish line for three primary reasons. First, typical review teams are bloated with unprepared, un-briefed, unqualified and/or uninterested reviewers. Second, our proposal reviews place incorrect focus on the likes and dislikes of the reviewers rather than how customer proposal evaluators will score and rank proposals. Third, we rarely give reviewers enough time to perform their assignments effectively. This presentation will present and solve these problems, with ample audience polling and discussion.

Lisa Pafe, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, CPP APMP Fellow and PMP, has 25+ years' capture and proposal experience. She served as President of the APMP-National Capital Area (NCA) Chapter, VP and Speaker Series Chair for two years each. She holds a BA from Yale University, MPP from Harvard University, and MIS from The George Washington University. She is a frequent guest writer for Washington Technology and a LinkedIn Publisher.


Kevin Switaj

Kevin Switaj

Master Class: Applying Business Lessons to Opportunity Development

There is a world of knowledge proposal professionals can learn from people and companies outside our field. Corporations that set the standard in their industries can be role models as we strive to improve our bids, our companies and ourselves. This presentation explores five topics critical to proposal and opportunity development (innovation, customized standardization, customer focus, having a defining trait, and how to handle a crisis) and discusses selected corporate examples. Attendees will receive clear, actionable steps for increasing efficiency, working collaboratively, and focusing on client satisfaction throughout the opportunity life cycle.

Kevin Switaj is president and CEO of BZ Opportunity Management, a consulting firm providing high-quality bid management, process development and implementation, and training support. He leads a wide range of bids, and has successfully developed and implemented processes for numerous companies. A multiple-award winning writer, he serves on the APMP National Capital Area Board of Directors. A proposal professional for a decade, he has degrees from Rutgers University, Villanova University and Indiana University.


Mike Parkinson

Mike Parkinson

THE Roadmap to Unlocking Your Potential

Do you want to shorten the distance to the finish line? Make winning easier? Attend this session and get THE roadmap to unlocking your biggest professional (and personal) goals. Discover the latest science behind achievement and walk away with 10 life hacks that make it easier to achieve the stuff you desire most. Do not miss this eye-opening, interactive event. All participants get Mike's new infographic: Top 10 Life Hacks to Unlock Your Potential.

Mike Parkinson, CPP APMP Fellow, Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs, and partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), is a recognized visual communication and proposal expert, author and professional trainer. Mike is sought by Fortune 500 companies to quickly develop and communicate winning solutions. Mike has spearheaded multi-billion dollar projects and helped his clients win billions of dollars. His tools (www.BillionDollarGraphics.com) help companies win more proposals and make powerful presentations, while saving money and time.


Jeff Shen

Jeff Shen

Reach Your Destination and Avoid Distractions Along the Way

This presentation is designed with proposal development professionals in mind. We will go through a step-by-step process that companies should follow to determine whether pursuing an opportunity is worth the investment. The presentation will offer strategies for overcoming both internal and external distractions that occur during the bid decision process. These cost-saving measures allow for investment in opportunities where there is the likelihood of greater capture. The presenter will provide specific examples and case studies, various scenarios for audience participation, and easy-to-use worksheets that attendees can take away and apply towards their own bid/no-bid process.

Jeff Shen is VP and GM at Red Team Consulting bringing over 20 years of proven leadership in federal contracting and business development. He has delivered business and capture strategy to the U.S. Federal government and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He regularly works with senior government executives and acquisition officials and has been a featured speaker at various conferences in the past.


Steve Skeldon

Steve Skeldon

Proposal Development in an Increasingly Automated World

This interactive panel will explore automation as it relates to proposal management across fields, from the point of view of multiple generations and proposal disciplines. Panelists will all come from different perspectives, such as function and industry to appeal to a wide audience and address challenges from across the profession. With the large body of work available within large companies, or open source sets, a good machine-learning algorithm could consume, learn, and write proposal language. As computers get better to the extent that they can actually accomplish tasks satisfactorily, what roles do we carve for ourselves as proposal professionals?

Steve Skeldon, CF APMP, has managed and supported federal services bids for both civilian and defense sectors. His development in proposals is shaped by rapidly expanding and changing technology. He consumes a steady diet of tech industry news to learn about ever-changing automation and AI developments that could impact our industry. Steve has brought together a strong panel to join him, including Beth Wingate, Gillian Dionne and William Rogers with Kevin Switaj as moderator.

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