UACES Facebook Ice cream, camping, and government contracting. Wait, WHAT?
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Ice cream, camping, and government contracting. Wait, WHAT?

by Kimberly Randle and Kim Magee - September 5, 2023

A man and woman stand behind an open windowPeople always say that you should work at what you love, and then it is not work at all. But government contracting, really?

Just ask Ricky and Kathy Knight. They have enjoyed camping every summer for 10 years at Greers Ferry Lake, meeting new friends and immersing themselves in Arkansas’ Natural State beauty and temperate climate. In 2021, one of their fellow camping couple friends employed as Park Attendants with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) suggested that the Knights might consider getting involved, as well.

They explained that as retirees, they would serve as ambassadors of our charming state, welcoming and assisting visitors to have fun and make memories, all the while, continuing to enjoy the place they would be camping anyway, and generating income simultaneously. Talk about a Win-Win!

Ricky got busy and established his sole proprietorship business entity, and, working with the Arkansas APEX Accelerator team, set about getting registered in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM), required to be able to seek and compete for federal government solicitations. In 2022, he was awarded a two-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and had a great summer working in this capacity.

Each year, however, federal contractors must renew their SAM registrations, and Ricky had changed his cell phone number. He found himself unable to access or renew his registration. Stymied by the process and in dire jeopardy of losing his government contract, Ricky again reached out to the Arkansas APEX Accelerator and began working with Procurement Counselor Kimberly Randle. Since Ricky’s initial registration the prior year, the System for Award Management had undergone a substantial overhaul, and working together with the Knights, in person and remotely, Randle was able to ensure that Ricky could again access his registration, renew his registration and report to work on time for another summer season at the lake!

Earlier this summer, Randle visited the Knights at the Greers Ferry Dam Site Day Use Park, where young and not-so-young alike flock to jump off the cliffs, adjacent to the Dam Site Campground. She can attest to the warm welcome the Knights extend to everyone, offering informed, conscientious help and tips and pointers to the park’s visitors. After all, the Knights know the responses to provide from their own first-hand experience, and the beneficiaries are the park’s guests that can focus on enjoying their families, friends, captivating sunset views, and lots of summer fun.

Like the Knights, perhaps amongst the crowd, you have government contracting in your future! If so and you want to learn more about the free services offered by Arkansas APEX Accelerator, please get in touch with us at: