Bill Jensen’s first job out of college was working on major subcontracts acquiring spacecraft subsystems for TRW Space and Technology Group. He spent the next eight years there and later moved to working with defense programs, primarily in communication systems, for the next 22 years. He enjoys the creativity associated with putting contracts and alliance agreements together.
What class do you teach?
I teach Partnering, Teaming and Subcontracting.
Can you tell me about the class?
The class looks at how companies combine forces to win and perform government contracts. It lays out what the motivations and advantages of working with another company to leverage capabilities such as combining the talents of different companies to create a stronger team. It also reviews other related alliance agreements to provide for productive relationships.
To accomplish this purpose, the course provides a big picture of how companies get together. It also includes a self-assessment of your company and how to pick the best partner based on government evaluation criteria. In the contracting world, there are a lot of alliance agreements and contract vehicles, so we review them at the toplevel so students leave with a basic knowledge. This appreciation of the intent and purpose will be helpful to students as they come across such agreements in their contracting career.
Is this an entry-level class?
The entry-level people can benefit from it by getting a big picture of what’s going on. More experienced people will drill down deeper and benefit by having some firsthand experience with these agreements and concepts, so they will be able to apply them at their job.
Is the class mostly lecture?
There’s no homework, but there are a lot of in-class activities, and we do have a mid-term and final. A typical class would include a bit of lecture, class discussion, breakout groups for in-class exercises and then back for more lecture to summarize and go on to the next big point. I share my own experiences with the group.
What is a main highlight of the class?
One main highlight is reviewing the government solicitation evaluation criteria and student participation in assessing various combinations of company pairings to provide the best evaluation results for a win.
Who should take this class?
Any student who is interested in how companies work together on opportunities with more custom contracts or agreements. For example, a student who has an interest in working proposals or alliance agreements or is interested on how a company can work more closely with another company based on shared goals. Ideally, any student would benefit if they had taken a few of the basic courses in the program, had worked in the government contracting field, or who has the intention to work in the field. The class paints an accurate picture of the contracting field — it prepares students to be able to handle more complex contracting to support career growth.
Why does someone need to take this class?
For each governmental contractual action there are many more contracting actions within industry to support that contract. The federal guidance on government transactions is well publicized in the FAR and related material; contracting within industry, including the motivations of the parties, are not as publicized and are highlighted in this class.
Additionally, due to budget constraints and increasing congressional scrutiny, the government is demanding higher performing products, with less money to fund them. This class lends into this emerging environment. By combining company strengths, you can better compete and adjust to this trend.
I try to make the class as fun as possible, it can go into any direction students want it to, and I find that this approach promotes more interaction and class interest.