NEXRAD facility adds new employees

The NEXRAD Operational Support Facility in Norman, Okla., an agency of the Departments of Commerce, Transportation and Defense, will add several new jobs through a new five year, $50 million task order for support services. The order is the largest to be awarded using a new, innovative government procurement system that supports small businesses, takes a solutions-based rather than product or service based approach and eliminates paperwork by utilizing electronic Internet-based processes.

The task order was awarded to RS Information Systems, Inc., a minority-owned business based in McLean, Va., which will provide such services as technical writing, software and systems engineering, office automation and microcomputer support and engineering drawing support. The company is establishing an office in Norman. A total of 41 professional and technical employees are already onsite from the previous contract. Under the new contract, seven more people will be added immediately and an additional eight or nine employees will be added in the next year, according to Jim Belville, Director of the NEXRAD Operational Support Facility.

RS Information Systems, Inc. was chosen through a new program called COMMITS, the COMMerce Information Technology Solutions program (pronounced “comets”), which is the first Government Wide Agency Contract reserved for small business and the first information technology (IT) IDIQ multiple award contract set aside exclusively for small, small disadvantaged, 8(a) and women-owned small businesses.

COMMITS fully implements the tenants of acquisition reform and assists small businesses in competing and utilizing these new practices in a paper-light technology based competitive environment. It is the Commerce Department’s first true solutions-based acquisition program. Vendors are free to propose the most advantageous solution to each task order requirement, and neither the Government nor the contractor are constrained by pre-existing labor categories or products.

“Using COMMITS was advantageous for us because we were able to use a streamlined acquisition approach and award the task order in less than 90 days,” Belville said. “Also, the small businesses competing for the work were some of the best in the nation.”

COMMITS used past performance as the principal selection criteria for vendors, which resulted in the best small business IT talent in the nation being made available to solve IT problems. The program is a supporting strategy for implementing the Department of Commerce’s mission, as stated in its strategic plan (1997-2002), to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improve living standards for all Americans by working in partnership with business.

Rodney P. Hunt is President and CEO and Scott Amey is vice president of RSIS. The company, which Hunt started in 1992, currently has more than 640 professional staff members who support more than 100 government and commercial customers while generating more than $80 million in revenue. Hunt received the State Blue Chip Enterprise Award this year and the Small Business Person of the Year Award for the Washington, D.C. district in 1999. In 1998 he was named one of the 25 most promising and interesting entrepreneurs in the country.

The NEXRAD Operational Support Facility provides centralized radar meteorological, computer software, maintenance, and engineering support for all 158 NEXRAD (WSR-88D) radar systems deployed worldwide. In addition, the OSF is responsible for developing operator training for all the NWS forecasters and other radar operators from the Departments of Defense and Transportation. The facility also houses a 24 hour, 7 days a week help desk that assists radar sites with technical support more than 12,000 times each year. This group has been recognized by the federal government for its excellence in service.

More information about the organizations and programs mentioned in the news release is available online:
NEXRAD Operational Support Facility:
COMMITS program:
RS Information Systems, Inc.: