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The Challenge

As one of the nation’s largest water and wastewater contractors, Kansas City-based Garney Construction competes for government contracts that have budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. So missing out on a required pre-bid meeting or an actionable RFP for a big-budget project could have a major impact on the company’s sales pipeline – and, by extension, its pipeline sales.

In 2003, Garney estimator Steve Swatek was looking for a procurement-notification service to complement another similar service he was already using and the lead-prospecting efforts of Garney’s estimating team. The goal: To get as close to 100 percent coverage as possible in tracking project opportunities in the company’s industry sector and regions of operation.

“Being a prime contractor, we have a good network among our materials suppliers and the engineers we know – they often tell us when contract work is coming up,” says Swatek, a senior vice president at Garney. “But you can’t catch everything. We needed to get out ahead of projects and make sure we weren’t missing them.”

The Solution

Swatek chose Onvia to provide that safety net of project tracking. “We operate in about 30 states,” he says, “and Onvia has good coverage in all those states. But where Onvia really helps us a lot is with notifications of mandatory pre-bid conferences. It’s critical that we catch these as they’re announced and not a week or two later, when we might have missed them. And if you’re not there at the conference, you’re not allowed to compete for the project.”

To monitor bid activities and announcements in Garney’s sector, Swatek uses the Onvia Guide, a daily emailed PDF document containing the latest information and updates on bids and RFPs from among tens of thousands of government agencies nationwide. Swatek has set up saved searches in Onvia’s Online Database so that Garney’s version of the Guide includes only the projects that match the company’s areas of construction expertise and market regions. Swatek says he reviews the listings in all regions each day, while area managers check for projects in their respective regions.

The Results

“By combining Onvia with our other service and our industry contacts, we get 99-plus percent project coverage,” says Swatek.

We’ve tried other competing services and have narrowed it down to the two that help the most. Onvia also keeps our team on their toes and has helped them create databases of project owners in their regions that they may not have had previously.

Steve Swatek, Senior Vice President

“If Onvia lets us find and be successful on just one project a year that we would have otherwise missed, the service more than pays for itself.”