NSBA Fly-In: The White House, Capitol and More

June 13, 2019

On Monday, June 10, small-business leaders from across the country converged on Washington, D.C. as part of NSBA’s annual Washington Presentation. The event featured a procurement and cybersecurity panel discussion, the annual Advocate of the Year Award luncheon, a White House briefing, a lobbying tutorial, the Congressional Breakfast and culminated with the small-business owners disseminating on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers.

Kicking off the event was a the cybersecurity and procurement panel discussion with experts discussing how small businesses can participate in the federal marketplace, as well as the key reforms needed to expand that marketplace to more small businesses. The experts also spent a great deal of time discussing cybersecurity challenges and requirements for federal contractors. The highly-regarded session was moderated by Jere Glover, executive director of NSBA’s hi-tech arm, the Small Business Technology Council and featured: Major L. Clark III, acting chief counsel, SBA Office of Advocacy, Paul Karch, Founder & CEO, Gardant Global, and David Loines, Director for the Office of Government Contracting at SBA.

Next, NSBA honored its Lew Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Awardees and recognized for the first time publicly, Calvin Mills, Jr., CEO of CMC Technology Solutions and SLT Technology, Inc in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as the overall winner. Three other small-business owners were recognized as finalists: Richard Fleming, CEO & Founder of State Tax Group, LLC in Farmers Branch, Texas; Joyonna Gamble-George, COO and Chief Scientific Officer for SciX, LLC in Lutz, Florida; and Brian Morales, President of Pro-Cal Electrical Contracting in Vista, California.

At the luncheon, attendees also heard from keynote speaker, Rick Dearborn who served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff from January 2017 to Mid-March 2018. Mr. Dearborn shared his insights as a high-level White House staffer as well as two decades of service on Capitol Hill under then Sen. Jeff Sessions.

A highlight of the event, the delegation then headed to the White House for a briefing from senior administration officials who discussed issues ranging from global trade to procurement. Representing the administration was Tom Pataki, Assistant to the President, and Director of the Office of Public Liaison, Chris Pilkerton, Acting Administrator of the SBA and John Melle, Deputy United States Trade Representative

Following the White House briefing, NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken provided a tutorial on the key issues for which the delegates were to lobby the following day on Capitol Hill. McCracken was joined by Vice Chair for Advocacy, Mike Stanek of Berea, Ohio—a veteran of lobbying on Capitol Hill—who gave attendees insight on how best to get their message across to lawmakers during their Hill visits. 

Closing out the day, NSBA held a reception for attendees to relax and informally network with one another. NSBA’s Leadership Council then participated in the Leadership Dinner where they heard from Paul Stebbins, chairman emeritus of World Fuel Systems and co-founder of World Fuel Services Americas, Inc., a subsidiary on the dire need for political reform in order to address the major issues our country faces. Stebbins is part of the FixUS campaign, led by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

On Tuesday, June 11, the NSBA delegation headed up to Capitol Hill early, kicking off the day on the Hill with our Congressional Breakfast where they heard from Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Garret Graves (R-La.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). The delegation was also joined by Naveen Parmar, the Policy Director/General Counsel for the House Small Business Committee majority staff and Meredith West, Staff Director for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, majority staff.

For the remainder of the event, NSBA’s small-business attendees spread out on Capitol Hill and met with lawmakers and their staffs. Among the various topics discussed, the NSBA delegation focused on free trade issues, namely the U.S.- Mexico-Canada agreement, cybersecurity, data privacy, tax reform 2.0, reining-in health care costs, and improving small-business contracting.

If you were unable to attend NSBA’s Washington Presentation, there’s still time to have your voice heard with lawmakers. Simply click here to access NSBA’s Action Center where you can personalize pre-drafted letters on our key topics, and send them up to the hill in less than two minutes.