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In a bid to boost the small businesses that provide job opportunities to Americans, Congress mandated that at least 23 percent of federal government contracts be awarded to small businesses. Under this mandate, Small Disadvantage Businesses, Women-Owned Small Businesses, HUBZone Small Businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses would all get a piece of the potentially lucrative government contracts. For many people working in federal contracting, including Susan M. Taylor, recognizing small businesses is a positive way to ensure their growth and contribution to the American economy continues.

The Small Business Administration makes it a priority every year to make sure that federal agencies meet and exceed the procurement goals. Small businesses winning government contracts results in a win-win scenario. The businesses get the financial resources they need to expand and create more jobs while the federal government gets to work with some of the most creative business minds in the nation.

Encouraging small business participation in government contracting has been a priority for every administration. The Obama administration worked hard to ensure that during his first term in office, the federal government awarded contracts worth more than $300 billion to small businesses. It's a marked improvement over decades past and represents a positive shift in attitudes towards what small businesses can bring to the table.

There are challenges for the SBA to overcome in its mandate to promote small businesses, particularly the instability caused by an erratic budget climate. Still, the agency is working to ensure that small businesses can find a stable environment to make a difference.

Susan M. Taylor has nearly 30 years of experience in the federal government, most of which are in senior acquisition management positions in both the Department of Defense and civilian agencies.



Creating a talented workforce starts by hiring the right people. Next, you have to figure out how to keep them. Conventionally, it was thought that all employees cared about was taking home a steady paycheck. But with changing work culture and millennials taking over the workplace, good pay might not be the only thing that keeps an employee motivated. For many employees, it's about the relationships gained at work that make a difference. Susan M. Taylor, an experienced executive in procurement, has done a lot of research in the strategies that help organizations retain employees.

To keep employees happy, some organizations come up with benefits packages that fit individual needs. Such packages include perks such as health insurance, retirement savings plans, and life insurance. Also, some organizations allow workers to work from home and plan their schedules. Such gestures go a long way to communicate that the company is flexible in its approach to work.

As mentioned, it’s no longer enough for employees to offer financial benefits. Workers want to feel that the organization is committed to solving issues they can relate to and also working to make lives better. They want to see how the organization is moving forward and how corporate policies impact the community. For business leadership, this means making employees feel they are a part of something bigger; a compelling vision that inspires them to go the extra mile.

When employees can relate to the company’s message, they become its biggest ambassadors because they believe the organization’s goals make a difference.

Susan M. Taylor has previously worked in a task force charged with coming up with strategies on employee retention in the procurement industry. This task force was formed by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).



Effective contract management is crucial for companies that seek to maintain a competitive advantage in all areas of their operations. Organizations that have established a solid contract management framework are able to save millions of dollars and gain an advantage over their competition. Susan M. Taylor, an experienced executive, knows that good contract management practices are essential to the success of a business.

Good contract management works to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the commodity being procured. One way to ensure customers are happy is to gain their input through satisfaction surveys. These surveys help to capture the performance of the contractor and notify them when client expectations are not being met. Additionally, procurement officials and advisors can use the information to improve on future contract management.

Disputes are common when two unique entities work together under a contract. To ensure disputes don't negatively affect the flow of supplies, both parties are encouraged to develop a success plan with the aid of a neutral facilitator. The facilitator helps the parties to identify the shared objectives and seek peaceful means to resolve any issues that might arise after the contract has been implemented. The process results in parties developing an agreement that lays out the roadmap for success.

It is equally important that procurement and finance officials involved in the process are aware of their roles and responsibilities. This helps to ensure that prompt payment is made and that individuals don’t overstep their mandate or abuse their positions, especially if large sums of finances are involved.
Susan M. Taylor has served in the Senior Executive Service (SES) as Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, leading 2,800 contracting officials nationwide in the award of billions of dollars in contracts annually to support veteran hospitals.


Tips for Finding and Collecting Civil War Artifacts

Collecting Civil War artifacts is a rewarding hobby that is the result of hard work, patience, and determination. If you are lucky, you may come across a couple of timeless treasures that are valuable. Here are a few tips and ideas to consider for beginner and experienced civil war artifact collectors.

  • Use the Internet to your advantage. There are a lot of scam artists who are trying to sell fake or replica artifacts. The Internet is a great resource to use to determine who the credible sellers are and who the reputable dealers are. Scam artists will charge an obscene amount of money that you could have spent elsewhere. Taking the time to do proper background research on the dealers that you are talking with will be advantageous to you in many ways.
  • Use a prospecting tool like a metal detector if you have it. This is a valuable tool to own because it will give you a leg up on collectors who look leisurely rather than intensely. Metal detectors are also a great way to come across gold, which is common to find in areas where civil war artifacts can be found.
  • Speaking of metal detectors, never use a metal detector at any national or state park. Metal detector use is illegal at national and state parks and if caught using one, you will face a hefty fine and possibly jail time. This means that you cannot go to Gettysburg, for example, and use a metal detector. It’s still advised to visit Civil War battlefield parks though.

Susan M. Taylor has worked for the federal government in senior leadership roles as a procurement advisor for over 20 years. In her free time, she enjoys collecting Civil War art and artifacts.


Three Important Dog Show Training Tips

Participating in a dog show is a fun activity for you and your dog. Dogs enjoy learning and being trained. Participating in a dog show requires you to train your dog thoroughly in preparation for the show. Participating in a show is a great way for you and your dog to form an even stronger bond. Here are three important things that you need to train your dog in if you plan on participating in a dog show.

  • You need to practice gaiting, which is a way of walking that allows the judges to see your dog’s structure, build, and movement. Gaiting is a trot where your dog's right front leg and back left leg move forward at the same time, and vice versa for his or her other legs. This is an important skill for your dog to learn because the judges will give your dog points or take away points based on what they see from gaiting.
  • You have to teach your dog to "hand stack," which is when your dog stands squarely and still. You have to manually place your dog's legs into position and kneel by your dog to come to him or her in that position. You will only use the hand stack position when showing your dog directly in front of the judges.
  • You will also have to teach your dog to “free stack”, which is the same as hand stacking, but is done by the dog itself. You will have to teach your dog to assume this position on command.

Susan M. Taylor served as an experienced procurement professional for the federal government. She is also an experienced dog owner and breeder, who has taken part in dog shows in the past.




Three Important Aspects of Puppy Training for Two and Three

Month Old Puppies

Training your puppy will be a frustrating process but one that will be incredibly rewarding if you take the right amount of time and do it with the right amount of patience. The important thing to do is lay a foundation for good behavior. Here are three important things your dog should understand by the age of two or three months.

  • Your puppy needs to be comfortable being handled by you, thus accepting you as the household leader. This means he or she needs to be comfortable being groomed, being given medicine, removing ticks and splinters, putting collars and leashes on, and having his or her nails clipped. Reinforce good behavior when being handled by using positive words. This way the puppy learns to be handled and learns words.
  • Similar to being handled, your puppy needs to learn how to play and behave in a gentle manner. Puppies tend to be a bit nipping and enjoy playing rough when they are young, so you need to teach them how to restrain themselves a bit and what kind of playful behavior is acceptable with humans and other dogs.
  • Your puppy should understand the rules of your house by the age of two or three months. This means that your dog isn't jumping on people or shredding toilet paper, for example. You also need to let your puppy know if it is acceptable for them to sit on the furniture, sleep on your bed, or bark at passersby's from the window.

Susan M. Taylor is an experienced dog owner and trainer. In years past, she has entered her Bearded Collies in AKC dog show competitions.

1.      Three Important Dog Show Training Tips


A History of the Modern Department of Veterans


First officially established in 1776 by the Continental Congress to create pensions for soldiers in the Revolutionary War and expanded after the various conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Department of Veterans Affairs continued to support veterans of all kinds into the 1920s. On August 9th, 1921, the United States Congress consolidated all World War I veterans programs into the Veterans Bureau. All Public Health Service Veterans’ hospitals were transferred to Bureau control, and the Bureau began constructing veterans’ hospitals for World War I veterans at an unprecedented rate.

World War I changed warfare forever, exposing fighters to ailments that were never before seen in American soldiers. Exposure to mustard gas and other weaponized chemicals required treatments never before administered at veterans’ hospitals.

The Veterans Bureau had to open specialized hospitals for the treatment of tuberculosis, respiratory problems, and mental health issues after World War I. Many veterans’ hospitals today started as National Home, Veterans Bureau, and Public Health Service homes decades before. In 1924, Congress expanded veterans’ benefits again, this time covering non-service-related disabilities. Four years later, admission to these facilities was extended to women, National Guard veterans, and militia veterans.

Susan M. Taylor was the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration for four and a half years. During that time, she worked with procurement officers nationwide to procure services and supplies to veterans’ hospitals and clinics across the country. Taylor spent almost 30 years in the Federal Government, the last 15 of which as an executive or manager.



Many small businesses find it hard to experience substantial growth, and they keep status quo for a very long time. Others move into the major leagues, experiencing rapid growth in a relatively short period of time. Susan M. Taylor, a procurement executive with decades of experience in federal procurement and contracting, appreciates the effort required to scale a business.

While business owners can’t be faulted for coming up with great ideas, some find it difficult to grow the business. Every business might be unique, but there are a few key principles that enable success. First, businesses in every sector can achieve growth. The issue isn’t the business model adopted, it’s the ambition of the owner to take it to the next level, even if it may take longer.

If the growth is to be achieved, the systems and processes have to be adapted to the changes. The people who helped establish the business might not be the right people during growth. A business owner has to change their attitude and adopt strategies that can help overcome the challenges ahead.

Passion is required for growth. Business owners have to be clear about their personal goals and be prepared to invest in the necessary resources. The owner must also have a vision that inspires the team and have a clear strategy on how to get there. They need to invest in their best people and be willing to go out of their comfort zones.

Susan M. Taylor is an accomplished senior executive in procurement and contracting who is an advocate for the promotion of small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.