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Administrative and Professional Support – DOE

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Department of Energy Office of Science Small Business Innovation and Research / Small Business Technology Transfer

– 2011-present –

Each year, federal agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR program set aside 2.5% and 0.3%, respectively, of their extramural research and development budgets to provide funding to small businesses through grants or contracts to stimulate technological innovation to meet federal agency research and development needs.  The DOE SBIR/STTR program currently provides $167.5 million ($149.6 million for SBIR and $17.5 million for STTR) annually in research grants to high-technology small businesses in support of high-quality research or R&D on advanced concepts concerning important mission-related scientific or engineering problems and opportunities that are likely to lead to significant public benefit.

Since 2011, NCC has provided end-to-end support of the DOE SBIR/STTR program, successfully executing a base year, four option-year, 8(a) contract to provide on-site administrative and professional support services for the DOE Office of Science SBIR/STTR Grants Applications Processing and Support Center located in Germantown, Maryland.  Our eight-person on-site team manages and operates the DOE SBIR/STTR Center, carrying out important responsibilities that include:

  • Preparing SBIR and STTR funding opportunity announcements;
  • Receiving and distributing grant applications;
  • Providing multi-phase evaluation of grant applications;
  • Preparing and distributing multi-phase grant review abstracts and reports;
  • Reviewing and evaluating the commercialization plans of grant applicants;
  • Providing commercialization assistance and outcome evaluation;
  • Preparing grant award announcements; and
  • Providing post-selection administration support.

In addition to coordinating and executing the above administrative procedures, NCC’s on-site personnel assist with communications outreach and provide any and all necessary customer assistance, among other tasks associated with the electronic grants management process.

By providing thorough management and support of the SBIR/STTR program, NCC has helped DOE achieve several institutional goals, which include 1) funding high quality projects with relevance to DOE mission needs; 2) increasing private sector commercialization of technology developed through DOE SBIR-support research and development; 3) stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; and 4) improving the return on investment from federally-funded research for national economic and social benefits.  We are proud to be associated with this important and unique program, and look forward to continued vibrancy and growth in our relationship with DOE.

 

Custom Event Registration Websites

As a company that offers premiere audiovisual and multimedia solutions to our clients, it’s our business to stay familiar with the newest gadgets and cutting-edge technology.  We remain committed to implementing such solutions when the business needs make it necessary, but we also recognize that while a fancy piece of equipment or program with advanced features is quite impressive, it’s not always the right solution for our clients’ needs. This is especially true when the end-user is not an expert when it comes to navigating complex systems.

So when we were asked to provide an event website with registration for one of our government client’s conferences, we had a choice between offering third-party registration software or building our own lower-cost but customizable site with a simple, clean interface.  Our associates were eager to jump on the opportunity to showcase our dedication to our clients and our flexibility when it comes to meeting their unique requests. Thus, the framework for the event website with registration was built within a month.

Since that first request over two years ago, NCC’s AV & Technology Solutions Team has partnered with our Conference and Peer Review Management Team to launch more than half a dozen individual websites for various private and public sector clients.

The Event Website can be as basic as a single registration page or can be loaded with multiple tabs to communicate the myriad conference details to all meeting participants. No two events are the same, and in keeping with our belief that “one size does NOT fit all”, no two event websites should be either. Flexibility, navigability, and affordability are three key components that make the NCC Event Website an ideal choice.

Flexibility: NCC staff members are dedicated to tailoring our services for our clients through responsive communication and accurate interpretation of individual needs. Once a vision for the Event Website is discussed between the meeting coordinator and NCC’s Conference Team, our associates get to work customizing the website to the client’s specifications. We can modify, add, or delete entry fields for each event so that each has a unique electronic form with the registration information our client needs in order to run an effective conference.  For example, dietary restrictions can help create menus and travel itineraries can be arranged based on necessary travel accommodations as indicated by the attendee. Furthermore, waitlist capabilities, automated e-mail acknowledgment, and session tracking are a few of the other registration features that benefit meeting coordinators as well as attendees. In the days leading up to a large event, meeting details can often change with short notice.

NCC’s in house web designers can respond to requests for changes to the HTML pages or form fields within minutes of receiving a phone call. As soon as the Event Website is launched, the conference team begins monitoring event logistics. Customized Microsoft Excel or PDF reports, name badges, and mailing labels can be generated in a timely manner, allowing the meeting coordinator and our conference team to efficiently track registration and improve overall meeting effectiveness.

Navigability: From a basic welcome page with a customized header to a layered website with tabbed links to organize information, we make certain viewers can easily find what they’re seeking.  All features of NCC’s Event Website are fully customizable and we never compromise on navigability.  Agendas, directions, attendee lists, presentations, speaker lists, travel and hotel information, and other meeting materials are clearly labeled so they can be downloaded by participants. Every page is designed with an eye-appealing aesthetic and built to be user-friendly.

Affordability: Lastly, NCC offers our Event Website at competitive, low rates based solely on the complexity of the final site.  Furthermore, while the majority of registration websites charge a per registrant fee, which can quickly multiple the cost of a meeting, NCC does not. We understand the need for our government clients to choose cost-effective options and are pleased to provide this affordable alternative.

NCC staff members remain committed to providing the best service and value to our clients.  To that end, we’re ready to create our own solution when one does not exist or does not fit within the budget.  Our team looks forward to building Event Websites for meetings of all sizes and types for our current and future clients.

 

Annual Meeting Coordination – NSF OISE

National Science Foundation, Office of International Science and Engineering

– 2011 –

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program needed assistance with logistics support for the PIRE Principal Investigators Meeting.  This is an annual meeting of the 50 grantees of awarded projects.  The meeting is designed to allow the grantees to share strategies and learn from each other as well as strengthen international research and education collaboration.  The meeting was comprised of Principal Investigators, Co-Principal Investigators, and Administrators of the grants.  This is the first time that NSF used a contractor; all this work was previously done by NSF staff.

In late 2010, NCC was contracted to provide meeting support to include the following:

  • Site selection and contract negotiations;
  • Secure meeting space and hotel guest rooms;
  • Logistics coordination;
  • Development of meeting website;
  • Creation of registration database and online form;
  • Development of registration fee for participants;
  • Meeting promotions and communications with participants;
  • Development and reproduction of meeting materials;
  • Travel support for up to 15 invited guests traveling from locations throughout the United States;
  • On-site meeting support and registration services; and
  • Distribution of participant reimbursements.

NCC developed a timeline to track the deliverables and created a project schedule for all of the tasks involved.  Prior to the event, audiovisual equipment was secured to include LCD projectors, screens, and microphones in each room.  All equipment was set up, tested and operational before each meeting.  The NCC team provided on-site support to include registration and logistics support beginning on Monday, 2/14/11 through Wednesday, February 2/16/11.  All meeting-related tasks were completed early, where possible, or on time.

The client was very pleased with the overall outcome of the meeting.  NCC negotiated with an outside audio visual provider in order to offer the client a substantial savings over the typical charges associated with using the in-house audio visual provider at a hotel.  Following the meeting, participants were given an evaluation and NSF received favorable comments on the level of professionalism that was brought to the meeting by having a contractor present.  It also allowed the NSF employees to concentrate on the program and have more interaction with the participant than in years past.

Industry Day Conference – NIH

On September 30, 2009, the National Institutes of Health awarded NCC a contract to provide Conference and Event Planning services for their first ever Industry Day conference for small businesses.  The purpose of the event was to encourage relationships between various NIH Institutes and Centers and small businesses from around the United States.

Throughout the course of planning the 2010 Industry Day conference, NCC’s Conference Planners constantly adjusted to NIH’s evolving requests.  While the conference was initially planned for March 2010, NIH rescheduled the event for June in order to better fit its internal schedule.  NCC was able to shift reservations, staffing schedules, and budgets in order to hold the event 3 months later.

As the June 2010 Industry Day approached, we increased the number of staff assigned to supporting the contract.  Consequently, when NIH requested for NCC to create a welcome package for Industry Day guests with only 2.5 weeks left to design the collateral, engage vendors, and provide drafts of these items to NIH, we completed the task on time and within budget.  The 2010 Industry Day package included tote bags, an informational book that included the conference agenda and biographies of VIP attendees, notepads, folders, and pens.

The results of NCC’s efforts included the following:

  • Successful lodging and conference cost negotiations with the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center;
  • Utilization of our own A/V equipment and personnel to save the government over $2,000;
  • Attendance of over 700 individuals, including representatives from 400 small businesses and 150 government representatives;
  • Active participation in formal networking sessions that matched NIH Project Officers and Procurement staff with small businesses; and,
  • Project execution on time and within budget.

Upon successful execution of NIH’s inaugural Industry Day Event on June 8, 2010, key NIH stakeholders provided positive feedback about the event and informally requested NCC’s services for future Industry Day events.

Science of Behavior Change Meeting – NIH

2009 –

The NIH recognizes there are daunting scientific challenges and the need for foundational work before more definitive work on the science of behavior change can be pursued. A planning meeting to prepare for a trans-NIH conference on the science of behavior change (SOBC) was proposed to ensure that larger Roadmap activities are productive and generate transformative research that meets the goals of the Roadmap development effort.

NCC was responsible for the development of the SOBC Planning Meeting Agenda in conjunction with over 15 NIH IC representatives. Additionally, NCC liaised with hotel staff regarding guest room accommodations, meeting rooms and facilities, and refreshments. We coordinated with 11 invited experts regarding travel arrangements and reimbursements and selecting local restaurants and menus for working lunch and dinner sites. In preparation for the meeting, NCC coordinated with an independent audiovisual vendor to set up microphones and sound systems in the meeting rooms. After the meeting, NCC developed a robust meeting summary to capture recommendations for larger trans-NIH conference in June 2009 and was subsequently awarded a contract to provide logistics and executive secretariat support for the June SOBC meeting, which brought together over 150 invited experts and NIH scientists for a two-day meeting on the science’s next steps.