Woman-Owned Business Overcoming Barriers
Beacon Grace LLC, a technology, consulting, and professional services firm, less than 3 years old, has been selected for a Maryland Department of IT Master Contract when they were told it could not be done.
Beacon Grace LLC is a niche technology and consulting business primarily supporting the supply chain industry.
Last summer, Beacon Grace attended the Pre-Proposal Conference held by Maryland’s Department of IT (DOIT). The CATS+ Master Contract (Consultants and Technical Services) is a master contract, or simply a preferred vendor list, that will expire year 2028 if accepted. During the Pre-Proposal conference, DOIT representatives made it very clear that businesses less than 3 years should not submit a proposal. They explained it is a long-standing policy they follow to only accept firms at least 3 years old.
Without deterrence, Beacon Grace’s owner, Becky Willard, opted to submit a proposal even though it was highly discouraged. Ms. Willard said, “When I applied, I knew it simply made business sense. It seems logical to me that Maryland would want strong niche expertise; in which I bring. Additionally, I thought since Maryland awarded our firm MBE status (Minority Business Enterprise) after rigorous review, then why would they not award us the CATS+ Master Contract?” For Ms. Willard, it just seemed to make sense.
With determination and entrepreneurial spirit, the proposal was submitted. After waiting several months, Beacon Grace officially received word in January 2017 that their firm was selected to be on the master contract. In February 2017, the contracts were signed and Beacon Grace LLC officially moved to the CATS+ (Consultants and Technical Services) preferred vendor list. Beacon Grace will remain on the master contract through to year 2028.
Since starting the business in 2015, Beacon Grace has had several notable achievements. The firm was awarded MBE and WOB Certifications; awarded a DOD contract after being told it could not be done; and now being selected for the CATS+ Master Contract. Additionally, owner Becky Willard, helped establish a tristate supply chain professional organization currently seeking CSCMP affiliation (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals).
Ms. Willard shares, “I love what I do. There is a passion and drive inside me that keeps me pushing forward. I thank God for his grace and blessing this exciting adventure!”