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Minneapolis-Saint Paul Post

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Panel Discussion: Small Business Panel Mentor Protégé and Other Topics

Gene Kuppenbender, Bay West, representing a small business
Michelle French, Stanley Consultants, representing a large business
Gwen Davis, US Army Corps of Engineers, Small Business Program
Randy Czaia, US Small Business Administration, MN District Office
Sherri Komrosky, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) 

Synopsis:  The September meeting will be a Small Business discussion addressing the mentor protégé program and other new topics from different perspectives from a panel of experts.  The panel discussion will include the following as well as other topics posed by the audience and the panel: mentor protégé program, recent updates for small and large business requirements, challenges and solutions.

Speaker Bios:  

Gene Kuppenbender, CHMM, is a Vice President and owner of Bay West.  He has 27 years’ experience in the sales and marketing of environmental and industrial services.  He served as Sales & Marketing Manager at Bay West for 8 years before becoming a Vice President/Owner in 2004.  Since taking the helm, he has helped grow the company’s contract backlog by 150%, which led to Bay West twice being included on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Fast 50, a listing of the fastest growing companies in the Twin Cities.  Gene is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and is active in SAME, National Association of Ordnance Contractors (NAOC), and various management groups.  Prior to Bay West, his experience included sales positions with Superior Special Services, operational roles with Dynex Environmental and IT Group, and completed 6 years with the US Navy.  Contact Gene at (651)291-3450 or

Michelle French, CIH, is a Project Principal and the Federal Practice Leader at Stanley Consultants in the Chesterfield, MO office.  Michelle is a certified industrial hygienist with 23 years of experience supporting the federal marketplace as a client service representative to lead strategic planning and development initiatives.  Michelle is involved in establishing teams with both large and small businesses to pursue federal opportunities and works regularly with the Department of Energy, NAVFAC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Air Force.  She is active in SAME having served as the Sustainability Track technical chair for the 2010 Missouri River Regional conference and the awards committee for the Omaha Post, and is the Regional Vice President for the Missouri River Region of SAME.  Contact Michelle at (314)740-9955 or

Gwen Davis is the Small Business Specialist for the St. Paul District Corps of Engineers.  Gwen works closely with the contracting office to determine acquisition strategy regarding set asides and achieving goals.  Previously she was the contracting officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs and contract administrator for the Defense Contract Management Agency.  Gwen started working in contracting while on active duty in the US Air Force at Minot AFB and then in civil service as a contract specialist and procurement analyst at Little Rock AFB.  After leaving Little Rock she worked for 2 small businesses, a tool and die manufacturer and a commercial well drilling/geology services company, as an HR specialist and in accounting.  Contact Gwen at (651)290-5723 or

Randy Czaia is the Supervisory Business Opportunity Specialist for the 8(a) Business Development Program at the Minnesota District SBA office.  Prior to joining the SBA as a contracting officer for the 8(a) Business Development Program in 1997, Randy worked in procurement for 15 years with the DoD.  He spent 6 years with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command in Warren, MI and 9 years at the Air Force Research Lab in Albuquerque, N.M.  Randy has experience as a contract cost/price analyst, a procurement analyst, and as a contracting officer.  He is also the Chair of the Federal Executive Board of Minnesota’s Small and Disadvantaged Business Opportunity Council.  Contact Randy at (612) 370-2314 or

Sherri Komrosky became the Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Program Director in June 2006.  Prior to becoming Program Director, she was the Northern MN Area Manager for 15 years.  Sherri’s initial experience with the government was with the VA Medical Center in Fargo, ND.  She had various positions during her 10 years at the VA, many of which were in the procurement area.  Sherri then joined the North Dakota PTAC where she worked for two years before transitioning to the MN PTAC program.  Sherri is a member of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) and holds the certification as a Certified Contracting Assistance Specialist (CCAS).  She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and is a founding member of the Red River Valley Chapter.  Contact Sherri at (612)259-6565 or


Meeting Schedule and Logistics:

  • Social time and lunch (if you so desire) will be from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM in the dining room of the Officers Club.
  • The Club’s cafeteria-style lunches are typically $10.00 or less; people who partake in the cafeteria-style lunch will pay the Officers Club directly.  If you come only for the presentations, there is no charge. 
  • Post Meeting and Presentation will be from 12:30 PM to about 1:15 PM in the ballroom of the Officers Club.
  •  1/2-PDH for this Presentation.



Please RSVP with your intent to either partake in the cafeteria-style lunch or to come for the presentation only; this will help the Officers Club staff to ensure that an adequate amount of food is prepared.  Either leave a voice mail message with Michelle Larson at 651-290-5632, or click the RSVP button in the left-hand column, or send an email message to


Meeting Location: 

Fort Snelling Officer's Club near Post Road.  See map at: