Marvin Woodward

An Owner’s Perspective: New Procurement Process for the AEC Industry

In the wake of COVID-19, the AEC industry can expect major shifts in how Owners are approaching the procurement process. The Georgia State and Investment Commission (GSFIC), is the State’s premier buyer of professional services across Georgia. Each year, GSFIC is involved in projects around the State totaling roughly $1B. They work with countless service providers from the AEC industry, intending to connect highly qualified firms to projects through a competitive bidding process. In our Season 2 opener for the AEC Marketing for Principals podcast, we talked with Deputy Executive Director of Construction of GSFIC, Marvin Woodward, to understand how the procurement process has changed due to COVID-19. He answers the question everyone wants to know: What does it take for AEC firms to win work with the State?

What Makes a Project Successful?

While virtual interviewing best practices are of importance, Woodward says it boils down to an increased emphasis on team dynamics. Nearly every company that interviews with GSFIC has the knowledge, skills, and the ability to see a project through, but that’s not all they are looking for. “We’re looking for somebody who wants to be a partner with us. Somebody who understands our needs and the needs of the agencies that we’re building projects for,” says Woodward. Across the industry, project budgets are predicted to be tight, so it’s important for interviewing firms to bring value to the project. Value Engineering, and cost-efficient construction techniques and products help round out a high-value skillset at the interview table.

Rising Importance of Team Dynamics

While a resume will get you to the table, the interview is the differentiating factor. The Q&A gives an Owner an indication of how prepared a company is to begin working on a project. “We are strongly considering moving to a more interview-style, Q&A selection process,” Woodward says. “Don’t think that there won’t be any presentation, especially on the design side, but we will probably allow more time to interview those who we’ll be working with day-to-day.”

This is especially important as Woodward expects to be conducting all interviews virtually for the foreseeable future. Teams must ensure they fully understand each question and focus on the quality of their answers. Woodward prefers those who can answer succinctly while still using details to bring thoughtful solutions to the discussion. His best advice when meeting with GSFIC is to close strong, stay on schedule, and bring solutions.

During the Q&A Owners will ask themselves:

  1. Did the interviewing firm listen to the question and answer correctly?
  2. Were they brief or did they ramble on?
  3. Did they bring value and thoughtful solutions to the table?
  4. Did the team show strong collaboration, and do they work well together?
  5. Will the team work well with GSFIC?

Converting traditional presentations to an online format can prove difficult, but firms that come prepared, follow virtual interview best practices, and bring value to the table will likely come out with a win. For more on how to win work with GSFIC, listen to our season 2 kick-off episode of AEC Marketing for Principals with special guest Marvin Woodward.