Reality show stars come and go. But the winner of season four of “The Apprentice,”  Dr. Randal Pinkett, has proven to have staying power. Pinkett, who is chairman and CEO of national consulting firm BCT Partners, has just landed two billion-dollar contracts.
BCT specializes in a full-range of program management, research and evaluation, technical assistance, and information technology services to government agencies, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, educational institutions, foundations and philanthropic organizations. The latest deals are two contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).
And these are no small deals--the SAMHSA Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract could be worth upwards of $900 million over the next five years. While NIH Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) IDIQ Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) may be worth $20 billion over the next ten years.
The deal was struck not by chance, but by strategic planning by Pinkett.
“Three years ago our executive team at BCT Partners – Lawrence Hibbert, president; Kenya Crumel, director of program management and technical assistance; and Pascale Lafontant, director of finance and administration, and myself – made the strategic decision to expand our business into the health industry,” says Pinkett. “According to some sources, healthcare spending will encompass nearly 20% of the U.S. economy by 2019, which highlights the tremendous growth opportunities in this sector. BCT had already established a solid track record working with the federal government, so it was only natural that we explored opportunities in government healthcare.”
The deal was inked after Pinkett built relationships with key people. “In 2010, one of our strategic partners, Delta Solutions and Technologies, approached us about joining their team to submit a bid for a contract with the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled Chief Information Officer– Solutions and Partners 3 or CIO-SP3,” explains Pinkett. “CIO-SP3 is a government-wide acquisition contract with a $20B ceiling that allows any government agency to purchase information technology (IT) services that suit their needs. This 3rd generation of the CIO-SP3 contract placed a particular emphasis on health IT and, to our pleasant surprise, a portion of the contract was set-aside for small businesses only. We subsequently joined Delta’s team as they pursued a large business award and, in parallel, BCT pursued a small business award along with some additional strategic partners including the Minority Information Technology Consortium, an alliance of 41 minority IT firms and four HBCUs with expertise spanning the full spectrum of technology services.”
Networking, careful planning, and preparation led to not one, but two contracts. “In 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued a request for proposals for a contract with a $900M ceiling to provide research, evaluation, technical assistance, training, and other services related to behavioral healthcare,” says Pinkett. “In similar fashion to CIO-SP3, a portion of the SAMHSA contract was set-aside for small businesses only. BCT once again joined Delta’s team as they pursued a large business contract. In parallel, we pursued our own small business contract along with MITC and other strategic partners.”
But for Pinkett, it was a team effort. “We were extremely excited to receive the news very recently that BCT was awarded both contracts with NIH and SAMHSA in the small business competition and Delta was awarded the same contracts in the large business competition (Delta was also subsequently acquired by CACI). The way these contracts came about is an excellent example of the importance of developing solid strategic partnerships. These opportunities would have never come to fruition for BCT Partners without help from our partners at Delta Solutions, MITC and beyond,” he says.
Obviously Pinkett and his team will be more than busy. But Pinkett says he’s ready for the tasks. "The SAMHSA contract was awarded in April 2012, while the CIO-SP3 contract was awarded in June 2012," he explains. "The work against both contracts is driven by ‘task orders’ or requests for specific projects to be completed. The SAMHSA contract is already underway, albeit to a slow start. We have only received a few task orders thus far. The NIH CIO-SP3 contract is unfortunately suspended due to protests that have been filed. The protests should be resolved by no later than November 2012, at which time we will begin receiving task orders."
These contracts are just the beginning for BCT, which Pinkett plans to expand--but he is cautious. "These contracts are significant accomplishments for BCT Partners and represent our largest awards ever. Because the SAMHSA award is a five-year contract and the NIH CIO-SP3 award is a ten-year contract, we expect both opportunities to help fuel our growth over the next decade," reveals Pinkett. "What we want to avoid is growing the company solely as a result of these contracts and then – ten years from now – watching the company diminish because the work has been completed and we did not cultivate any new opportunities along the way. Two things are already underway to ensure that this does not happen. First, our marketing and sales team, which is led by our executive vice president of sales, Aric Perminter, and me, is being very aggressive with our business development efforts to cultivate new opportunities. Second, our operations, administration, and delivery teams, led by Lawrence, Pascale, and Kenya, is seeking to capitalize on this window of opportunity by expanding our project management and project delivery infrastructure so we can fulfill even more opportunities of this size and scale. We see these contracts as the beginning of the next chapter in the story being written at BCT Partners, not the end."
Looking back, Pinkett says he remains happy he decided to participate in the reality show. "My experience on The Apprentice in 2005 and subsequently working for the Trump Organization in 2006 significantly expanded my horizons. The show enhanced my platform as an international public speaker; as an author publishing three books: Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business, No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash, and Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness. (I’m currently working on my next book, Black Faces in High Places); and as a volunteer and spokesperson supporting a range of charitable causes and nonprofit organizations such as Autism Speaks, the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute, the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, and the National Visionary Leadership Project, to name a few," shares Pinkett. "My experience since returning to BCT Partners in 2007 has been immeasurably rewarding. We are blessed to have an incredible team of people that make me proud to come to work every day. Our mission is to partner with our clients to build organizational capacity, strengthen communities and improve the quality of life. Our vision is to be at the forefront of transforming neighborhoods into vibrant communities, empowering stakeholders to maximize their potential and catalyzing change that is so lasting that its effects are felt for generations to come. While we are fortunate to have received these contracts, we know that our work has only just begun in order to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision. Winning ‘The Apprentice’ was a wonderful individual accomplishment, but I take even greater pride in what we are doing collectively at BCT Partners. These milestone opportunities with HHS are merely the tip of the iceberg for what is to come from our organization."