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Megan Miller
Megan Miller
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at

Growing Your A&E Firm’s Public Sector Business

September 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller

Projects with state, local and federal agencies are key targets for many A&E firms. State and local (S&L) architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) services account for $391 billion annually across the U.S. At the federal level, that number is $35 billion. Collectively, the public sector represents 40% of the total U.S. market for AEC projects.

Because S&L funding in these markets closely mirrors the economy, firms have good reason to be optimistic. In addition to the post-recession growth, investment cuts in the last decade mean there’s pent-up demand for infrastructure projects. While federal spending in the past few years has been challenging and disappointing, spending on infrastructure is ticking up again.

The 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study revealed how successful AEC firms are pursuing public sector projects. For example, according to nearly 400 firms, two of the top three markets they’re expecting to grow in the next 18 months are Water/Wastewater/Storm Water and Roads & Bridges.

Building on details revealed by Clarity, Deltek’s experts shared five key steps to growing your public sector business in a recent webinar. These tips, previewed here, can help your firm decide where to focus your efforts and build your capabilities. For the full list, check out the webinar.

Align Business Development with Long-Term Growth
Your target markets should align with projected growth. For example, while highways are mostly funded by the federal government, S&L projects are dominated by other roads, bridges and ground transportation – largely in response to population growth. California and Texas, as well as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas, are poised for significant growth.

Assess Gaps & Competition
Develop a capability matrix across your market sectors and geographies and cross-reference it with your competitors. Look at pre-qualification requirements and selection criteria – can you contend? Score your hot spots and identify where you’re most likely to succeed. Don’t forget to consider your partners and existing relationships. If you have weaknesses, these can potentially fill in the gaps – and vice versa.

Pick Targets Wisely
Federal, state and local projects each require a different set of skills, experience and requirements. At the federal level, there’s an extensive set of acquisition rules and a cost to doing business – leaving you to decide if that makes sense for your firm. In contrast, local governments focus on driving area development and often want to work with firms that have a local presence. Often, they have a pre-qualification requirement for location; failing to meet such a requirement can be disappointing if your firm invested time and money without the necessary upfront leg work.

Build a Solid Pipeline
Now that you’ve picked your targets and paid careful attention to any pre-qualification requirements, your AEC firm is ready to build a pipeline of actionable opportunities. There are a wealth of transparent resources to help with this process, including public meeting minutes, bid notices and capital improvement plans. Other solutions include Deltek GovWin IQ, which aggregates key information so you can spend more time pursuing the project and less time researching the opportunity.

Many clients also allow you to review all submitted qualifications statements and proposals, providing an opportunity to see what your competition is proposing and how they were scored. The result? A better understanding of selection process priorities.

The public sector can be daunting. The key is to leverage every piece of insight possible to ensure that your firm pursues the right business and that you have a complete view of the project opportunity.

Learn more about The 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study.

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