USWCC Announces 2014 WOSB Contracting Award Winners

The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce proudly announced the 2014 Women Contractor Award winners at the WOSB National Council Spring Conference held in Washington, DC on March 26, 2014.  Awardees were selected from a pool of women-owned firms for their accomplishments in contracting.  Awards were presented in the following categories: Emerging Star, Innovation & Performance and Growth Master.Congratulations are being extended to the following:

INNOVATION & PERFORMANCE – awarded to contractors who exhibit outstanding innovation and/or performance on a key contract that will significantly bolster their ability to secure future opportunities.

Winner:  Crystal Williams, President & CEO - International Training Associates

crystal_williamsInternational Training Associates (ITA) is a human resource consulting firm with a global practice in workforce diversity and software applications technology.   Our mission is to inspire learning and to sustain value. Since 1992, ITA has worked collaboratively with corporations and government agencies world-wide to address global business challenges – workforce productivity, attracting and retaining talent and cultural competence in the workplace.  ITA provided a federal cabinet-level agency with an organizational development process that was replicated to improve and sustain job satisfaction and collaboration across the organization. As a direct result of innovation in design and outstanding products and services, ITA was able to help mitigate a 28 million dollar class action lawsuit against the Agency. ITA has over 125 clients internationally including: the DC Court System, FEMA, HUD, The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, The National Institutes of Health, The Department of Defense, The Law firm of Wilmer Hale and Aspen Systems Corporation. ITA is internationally known for excellence. Government contractor performance assessment report cards (CPAR) reflect ratings of exceptional in all categories of performance to include quality of products and service, schedule, cost control, management of key personnel, utilization of small business and business relations on every contract for more than 20 years.

Reference Quote: HUD was able to abolish a division and won an award from USDA; because of Crystal's process, they spent $600,000 instead of millions.  The CO was 'Floored" that a small business had the ability to satisfy the Inspector General and be cost effective in the process.

GROWTH MASTER – awarded to contractors who have achieved significant growth in the government sector over the last three years.

Winner:  Patricia Bonilla, President & CEO - Lunacon Construction Group

Patricia_BonillaPatricia Bonilla, a Civil Engineer with a Masters Degree in Construction Management, decided to take a leap and start her own business after a 17-year career in which she successfully managed over $100 million worth of commercial construction projects. Lunacon was founded in 2007, during the beginning of the economic recession. Previously the head of Fort Lauderdale’s Construction Management Division, Patricia, envisioning a company with a commitment to the community, decided to start one herself. From this vision was born Lunacon Construction Group, a company built on faith and a belief that helping the disadvantaged – whether through hiring or community involvement – could pave the way for Lunacon to become an icon in the industry. Lunacon has grown swiftly, from a two-employee company at its inception to more than 35 full-time employees in 2014. Its contract revenue has increased similarly; the firm recently secured over $16 million contract with the USACE Savannah District and continues to work regularly with other federal agencies including the US Air Force and the US Department of Agriculture. Patricia has kept pace with this sharp rise in business despite a busy life at home as well, as she and her husband have five children. Lunacon provides a broad range of construction management and general contracting services through a “hands-on” approach founded on integrity, hard work and dedication.

Reference Quotes: A Contracting Officer said that Patricia was definitely worthy of an award.  She is a hard worker, has a good crew and will jump in if she needs to the get things done; the CO cannot send her a thank you  note so this is in place of one.  Another CO said that she did such a great job on the IDIQ, they will probably renew it; very good contractor to do business with.

Winner:  Emma Sopko, Founder & President - PotomacWave Consulting

Emma_SopkoEmma Sopko is the founder and President of PotomacWave Consulting, which received the DHS Small Business Achievement award from the Department of Homeland Security in 2013 for the cost savings and efficiencies at DHS Headquarters.  Under her leadership, PotomacWave has grown to be in the top 20 small businesses rated in Washington Technology’s Fast 50 list as well as SmartCEO’s Future 50 firms recognized for superior performance.  PotomacWave is supporting transformational initiatives across DHS, DoD, the Intelligence Community, and commercial clients. Ms. Sopko is a certified ITIL Expert, Certified in the Governance of Enterprise Information Technology (CGEIT), and a Project Management Professional (PMP), with over 16 years of experience leading high-profile initiatives in the High Tech and Government sector having previously worked with Microsoft Corporation and Accenture in transformational program implementation and delivery.  When not engaged with PotomacWave activities Emma can be found either running half marathons, traveling, or spending time with her husband, mini Schnauzer, and Boston Terrier.

Reference Quotes: "One Program Manager stated - Potomac Wave has had the contract for four years and it is the best deal she has ever gotten.  Emma is growing and taking on other contracts but she is selective - making smart choices. The PM is very happy and the annual evaluations reflect high marks as there are no performance issues.

Winner: Suzanne Witnauer, President - Construction and Services Solution Corp.

suzanne_witnauerSuzanne Witnauer is the President of Construction and Service Solutions Corp.  Witnauer formed Construction and Service Solutions Corp. (“CSSC”) in March of 2002 and has since steadily grown the organization into a profitable multi-million dollar company with offices in multiple locations.  CSSC is an 8(a), SDB, WBE and DBE certified general contractor.  CSSC provides a full range of construction services. The company’s mission is “To safely provide full construction services while enabling our customers to remain focused on their own business goals.” Suzanne is a graduate of Canisius College’s Leadership Program for Women, a graduate of LP Ciminelli’s Construction Business Training Program, a graduate of Niagara County Community College’s Dept. of Labor/OSHA Training Institute’s OSHA Training, has completed numerous additional construction, business and safety related training programs.  She holds an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Construction Technology from Erie Community College. Suzanne brings almost 20 years of executive-level business management and strategic planning experience to the leadership of the company.  She epitomizes customer service, teamwork, and customer relations, and encourages her team to strive for solutions each and every day.  Witnauer’s professional and volunteer endeavors relative to leadership, innovation, and business ownership have been recognized in the community.

Reference Quotes from Contracting Officers: "I gave them an emergency contract and they fixed everything, we are happy with their work. Because of the quality of their work and the best price when I sole source with them, they will grow." "They provide excellent service, the staff is knowledgeable and the contracts are on time; our customer is very satisfied with the results."

EMERGING STAR – awarded to contractors who received their first government contract award within the last two years and are on their way for future opportunities.

Winner:  Vaani Malhotra, Founder & CEO - 77 Degrees West, LLC

vanniVaani is the founder & CEO of 77 Degrees West, a federal services company founded in 2010.  The primary focuses are on International Development, Program Management and Information Technology. A native of Washington DC., Vaani has led her firm from a startup to an emerging company to a leading provider of services within the Federal Government sector. Under her leadership, she has decisively positioned the company as a higher growth, a higher value, and a stable company. Prior to founding her own company, she served in various roles in the industry including business development, capture management, and customer liaison support. Vaani graduated from University of Maryland with a B.A. in Anthropology.

Reference Quotes: A teaming partner said they originally teamed on a project and acted as a member but 77 Degrees West has been winning contracts ever since; the have a good reputation and continue to work together.


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