John Abel

John Abel is a consultant at The Winvale Group focusing on government contracting and federal acquisition opportunities for businesses. He is a native of Stafford, Virginia and recently graduated from James Madison University with his Bachelor's of Arts in History.

Recent Posts

Schedule 56/66/73 Industry Day Debrief

Posted by John Abel on Mar 7, 2018 10:15:52 AM

The General Services Administration (GSA) held its annual Industry Days for Schedules 56, 66, and 73 on February 21st and 22nd this year in Fort Worth, TX. Invitations are sent out in advance to current Schedule contract holders, and this event provides a forum for open discussion about managing a contract on these schedules, communication with buying agencies and networking with other contractors. Sometimes for contractors, it can feel like you’re working against GSA to maintain and manage your contract; but this event highlights the importance of the relationship GSA has with its contractors and their mutual desire for success and sales.

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Topics: GSA

NAICS codes: Is your Company a Small Business? 

Posted by John Abel on Jan 10, 2018 2:00:00 PM


Having a small business designation can fuel marketing and sales efforts for new federal business opportunities. Every year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) aims for certain percentage goals of budget spending that are designated for small business contracts. So, it’s critical to know if your company is eligible for small business set-aside contracts, but how to be sure? The answer is lies in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Your company’s NAICS codes help determine if you qualify as a small business based on certain size standards. Through the Small Business Act, the SBA established size standards for NAICS codes to help businesses get their designation, and see relevant opportunities for which they qualify. 

Find out if you are a small business

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Topics: GSA Contract Consulting, Government Contracting, SBA, GSA, NAICS

Blockchain fever in 2018 - beyond Bitcoin 

Posted by John Abel on Jan 8, 2018 4:30:00 PM

Just a few days into 2018, it’s clear that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are hot topics whose popularity will continue to surge. In 2017, at times it seemed impossible to escape a discussion with peers about how we wish we’d invested in Bitcoin starting in 2009. The spike in public interest in blockchain-based cryptocurrency has nearly everyone taking note – now even the U.S. Government.

What makes cryptocurrency so valuable is the underlying technology it depends on, called blockchain. Blockchain could have a dramatic impact on internet security and communications moving forward.  

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Topics: GSA Contract Consulting, Government Contracting, Technology, GSA, blockchain

Think TAA’s Substantial Transformation clauses are tough? Advisory Rulings can Help

Posted by John Abel on Dec 20, 2017 12:00:00 PM

GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) contracts often have many compliance standards, some of the most complex being the ones for the Trade Agreements Act (TAA).  How do you know if your products meet TAA standards? The simplest way to determine if your product is TAA compliant is to check the list of approved countries of origin. This list outlines all the pre-approved countries of origin permissible under the TAA.

But what if the products you want to offer come from a non-TAA compliant country?

Under TAA, a vendor may import goods from a non-compliant country if the final product undergoes a “substantial transformation” either in the U.S. or another TAA- compliant country.  So, if acquired parts or goods supplied from a non-compliant country are “substantially transformed” in the final product, a contract holder can assert TAA compliance.

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Topics: GSA Contract Consulting, Government Contracting, TAA, GSA

Mass Modifications – Stay up to date with Solicitation Updates

Posted by John Abel on Nov 30, 2017 11:00:48 AM


Though the GSA tried to make doing business with its Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts easier, the process is still complex. Per GSA, “A mass modification is a government-initiated modification that occurs when a uniform change occurs schedule-wide.”[1]  A mass mod is a schedule-wide update to a contract’s terms that require the contractor’s acceptance. Often, these modifications are all-encompassing updates that incorporate new government regulations or legislation. One recent example is mod A509 for the new Transactional Data Reporting system.

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Topics: GSA Contract Consulting, GSA Schedule

Government Sales are more Transparent than You Think - A Beginner’s Guide to FOIA Requests

Posted by John Abel on Aug 17, 2017 10:59:05 AM

In this day and age, at times it seems nearly impossible to infiltrate some aspects of our “monolithic” federal government.

However, contrary to popular belief, federal government information might be right at your fingertips if you are willing to ask for it. 

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has helped create an essential element of transparency for the general public. 

Under FOIA, you are able to request information from participating agencies that you would find useful such as business and market revenue projection and practice in terms of government contracting, as well as valuable contacts from an event or webinar you may have attended. This information can be released as long as it is not covered under one of the 9 FOIA exemptions. Although individuals can request information from all government agencies, this process can be streamlined via an online submission.  FOIA online is a helpful tool for those wishing to request information from participating federal agencies.

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