The Times West Virginian

Breaking News


June 9, 2013

Pierpont, SBA team for Federal Acquisition Management Certification Program

FAIRMONT — The U.S. Small Business Administration and Pierpont Community & Technical College’s government contracting program is impacting the region and state in a positive way.

The Federal Acquisition Management Certification Program, in its sixth year, will start July 17 at Pierpont’s Center for Workforce Education, located at 320 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont.

Barbara Weaver, who is the primary instructor, covers all of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania as a procurement center representative and commercial market representative for the SBA’s Office of Government Contracting.

She has spent 12 years with the SBA, and has been working in the government contracting arena since 1976.

“It’s been my life for quite some time,” she said of government contracting.

Weaver designed the FAM Certification Program and has continued to refine it over the years.

She said she had heard a lot of horror stories about small businesses that were in trouble because they didn’t understand the federal requirements and were losing money and contracts. She was also spending a lot of time of her time with the SBA helping businesses become strong again and be able to manage their contracts.

This led Weaver to talk to Dale Bradley, vice president for administration and finance for Pierpont, and Paul Schreffler, Pierpont’s vice president for workforce and economic development, about her program idea and ask if they could support it. They jumped on board and it became a Pierpont program.

The FAM Certification Program runs for six months, with two-day sessions every month until the students graduate in December. There are 96 classroom hours, and students also commit time outside of the classroom to research and testing, Weaver said.

She explained that the program has six separate parts, starting with a overview of federal acquisition regulations and moving into planning for strategic growth. The students next focus on marketing and winning federal contracts and then learn about financial requirements.

Another component is negotiated procurement, which includes a mock negotiation, and the last piece is contract management, which deals with all the things related to managing a federal contract, Weaver said.

“It’s highly experiential,” she said. “They work a lot in teams.”

The sessions feature about 25 case studies. Because the case studies are based on real-life situations, it’s always interesting to see how participants solve those problems, Weaver said.

Business owners, government employees and other experts serve as guest instructors during the program. Weaver said previous students often come back to lecture and do a great job.

All of these individuals are happy to help because they believe in the program, she said.

“It really is positively impacting our area,” Weaver said.

She encouraged anyone who already has a business or wants to start a business and is interested in getting into the federal market to enroll in the program, which is limited to 30 students. Certain professions — managers, attorneys and accountants — can use this program for continuing education credits.

People have two years to finish the program, which means if they have to miss a class, they can make it up the following year and receive their certification at that time, Weaver said.

Since the program started, 167 students have graduated. In addition to West Virginia, people from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., have participated, she said.

Weaver said she has seen many business success stories come out of the program.

Aarti Patel, CEO and president of Novus Federal Solutions LLC in Fairmont, graduated from the FAM program at the end of last year, and wants to take a few of the classes again this year as a refresher.

Patel, originally from Kingwood, is a graduate of University High School in Morgantown and The Ohio State University, where she earned a degree in operations management.

After doing some business consulting work and living in Chicago for a while, she decided to come back home to Morgantown.

She knew West Virginia was the right move for herself and her future company.

“I think this is a great area if you want to start your own business,” Patel said.

Plus, North Central West Virginia is just a few hours away from Washington, D.C., which is a huge location for federal contracting, she said.

“Federal contracting allows small businesses to grow to any size imaginable,” Patel said. “I think it’s a wonderful marketplace for women and minority business owners that have a a vision, drive and passion to succeed to be able to accomplish their goals.”

She established Novus Federal Solutions, a woman- and minority-owned business, in May 2011. The company, located in the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center in the I-79 Technology Park, offers information technology and operations management services.

She said her uncle, Nash Patel of DN American, has been a wonderful mentor to her.

Aarti Patel isn’t from the federal arena and wanted to enroll in the FAM program to get an overview of government contracting.

“It’s kind of a crash course into everything you basically need to know,” she said. “I thought it would be a great place for me to really go to understand where to start and how things work in the federal arena.”

Patel said she found out what small companies like hers should do to get noticed by the government and how to market her business to those agencies. She also learned about the different types of contracts available, how to figure out costs, and what steps she needs to take to grow her business at a steady rate.

In addition, the class allowed Patel to meet other people who were in the same situation and could guide her if she had any questions. She praised Weaver for the great work she does with the program.

“She’s just a wonderful person,” Patel said of Weaver. “She really does a great job of conveying exactly what the government needs and wants from all business perspectives. She wants to ensure that your values are incorporated into your business.”

The total cost of the program is $1,295, or $250 per class, and people can register online at

To find out more information about the Federal Acquisition Management Certification Program, call Pierpont Community & Technical College at 304-367-4920 or e-mail

Email Jessica Borders at or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

Text Only
  • Statewide online directory lets you track local goods

    A new online tool is providing a detailed look into West Virginia’s local food system.
    The West Virginia Food Mapper, a statewide interactive mapping application, was officially finalized and launched in February through a partnership among several entities. Those partners include Downstream Strategies, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and its Meat Processing Working Group, and the West Virginia GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technical Center.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chancelors reopens at new site after devastating fire

    Nothing, not event a devastating fire, can keep Chancelors down.
    At the beginning of March, this family-owned auction business and store opened at its new location beside Premier Body Works, a mile and a half past the Barrackville Covered Bridge.

    April 13, 2014

  • Despite coal decline, West Virginia remains strong in exporting

    Companies throughout West Virginia are bringing new dollars into the economy by exporting.
    The governor’s office recently reported that the state’s exports in 2013 totaled $8.4 billion. This is the third-highest amount of exports that West Virginia has seen in its history.

    April 6, 2014

  • Mannington B&B Wireless offers affordable service

    B&B Wireless is now offering affordable cellphone services to the Mannington area.
    Owner Brad Weaver recently opened this store, which is an nTelos Wireless exclusive retail provider, at 122 Market St. in Mannington. The new business is located beside Hero’s Corner Cafe and shares a building with Fancy Nancy’s Gift Shop.

    April 6, 2014

  • NASA IV&V, TMC play key role in launch of satellite

    A modeling and simulation product developed by the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility and TMC Technologies, both in Fairmont, recently played a key role in launching a satellite off the ground.
    Brandon Bailey is the lab manager of the Jon McBride Software Testing and Research (JSTAR) Laboratory at NASA IV&V.

    March 30, 2014

  • Quality of life focus at White Hall Hearing Care

    White Hall Hearing Care encourages people to do their ears a favor and visit an audiologist.
    Owner Barb Litton Cox, a nationally certified state licensed audiologist, opened her office on March 4 at the White Hall Professional Complex, located at 177 Middletown Road.

    March 30, 2014

  • Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café set Tuesday

    Main Street Fairmont is helping small businesses find opportunities to grow.
    The Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café are scheduled for this Tuesday at Veterans Square, located at 320 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont.

    March 23, 2014

  • Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham opens doors

    The team of the new Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is glad to be in Fairmont.
    The hotel, located at 20 Southland Drive next to the Middletown Mall, officially opened its doors on Friday, March 21. That afternoon, the management team and staff welcomed members of the public to tour the new facility and enjoy lunch during an open house.

    March 23, 2014

  • Scammers will ‘go after anyone, regardless of age, gender or income’

    West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges consumers to protect themselves against scams related to online purchases.
    A Fairmont woman, who prefered not to be interviewed for this story, recently became the victim of one of these scams and lost a considerable amount of money as a result.

    March 16, 2014

  • Service focus at ERA Signature Properties

    The new owners of ERA Signature Properties are ready to provide excellent customer service to clients from start to finish.
    On Jan. 1, Realtors and owners Brian and Mikaelah Seifrit officially took over the business that Jo-Helen and Ed Williams led for many years.

    March 16, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads