PTAC Program - Nebraska Business Development Center

“Effectively Managing Your Staff”
2014 APTAC Spring Membership & Training Conference
Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, CA 26 March 2014
by Andy Alexander, Nebraska PTAC Program Director
“You Only Know, What you Know”
“I use to think that when I
originally moved to Nebraska
that it was the flattest state in
the country. But my perception
was wrong. Nebraska is the
19th flattest state. Florida is #1,
then Illinois #2, North Dakota
#3, Louisiana #4, and
Minnesota #5.”
“You Only Know, What you Know”
“This is how our SCAA is. You
think it is means one thing, but it
really might mean another thing.
Until you read it several times,
you can miss the real meaning
and task deliverables within it.”
“The 6 areas I want to emphasize today regarding Effectively
Managing Your PTAC Staff are shown below.”
The Nebraska PTAC program was started in 1986 (28 years service). Initially under the Nebraska
Department of Economic Development (DED) in Lincoln, NE then transferred to the University of Nebraska
at Omaha in 1996.
I have been the PTAC Program Director since 2007, and have 14 university employees charged against our
SCAA. This includes 6 PTAC Consultants, 1 Program Services Group Manager, 1 Business Manager, 1
SBIR Consultant, 1 Account Clerk, 1 Director of Communications, 1 Secretary, 1 MBA Graduate Assistant
and myself. We use a 50/50 match for our SCAA proposal using federal and state funding.
Nebraska has 510 towns, 11 villages, 93 counties and 2 cities, with a total population of 1,868,516
(unless its a Husker Football game then we have 3 cities). The state has 77,354 square miles, with a
width of 210 miles, length of 430 miles and in 2 separate time zone. We have 1,010 active clients
According to the SCAA, section VII, paragraph C(l): “Verification that a website has been established that
complies with the requirements of Section III, A.1 (they really mean A.5) and that the PTAC has established
and uses an email address for the PTAC that is not tied to a specific person.”
Section III, A.5: “All recipients shall maintain a website that provides, at minimum has a description of the
services offered by the PTAC; point of contact for potential PTAC clients; and the PTAC’s service area (e.g.,
list of counties serviced). The website may be standalone website, or may consist of dedicated, PTAC
specific web page that is separate and distinct, but accessible via a link from the host organization’s
website. In addition to person specific email addresses, all recipients must establish an email address for
the PTAC that is not tied to a specific person. For example, [email protected]
Standard Operation Procedures (SOP)
According to the SCAA, section VII, paragraph C(3f): “The overall management of the program will be
examined and evaluated. The existence of management tools such as Standard Operating Procedures
(SOPs) that are up-to-date, accurate, and complete in accordance with the requirements for operating a
PTAC as set forth in the SCAA will be a significant factor in determining the effectiveness of the PTAC’s
One source of a sample SOP can be found at APTAC’s website at then click on
“PTAC Login”, login, click on “Portals”, then choose “Program Managers Page”, then “Sample SOP”,
then click on “Download Resource.”
Another source is to access the Nebraska PTAC website at and click on “SOP 3/2014.”
One method nationally to collaborate is through your APTAC membership. Once you have completed
your login at click on “Resources”, then click on “APTAConnect
Dashboard” to gain access to “APTAConnect”. From here you can access content alerts, feeds,
community groups and discussions. Also includes hot topics, archives, colleagues and association
Another good website is at by clicking on the states that are similar to your
program or neighboring states. We advertise all PTAC related events for all 6 states surrounding
DLA has a website for the PTAC program at
A final great collaborative effort is during the APTAC spring and fall membership and training
conferences. Seek out your counterparts, tell them about your program and ask them about their
program, especially their successes and best business practices.
SCAA, Section I, C,5: 5, Cost Principles: The cost principles establish general standards for the allowability
of costs, provide detailed guidance on the cost accounting treatment of costs as direct or indirect costs,
and set forth allowability principles for selected items of cost. The allowability of costs under any resultant
cooperative agreement is governed by the applicable cost principles which are set forth as follows:
a. 2 CFR Part 220, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21)
b. 2 CFR Part 225, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments (OMB Circular A-87)
c. 2 CFR Part 230, Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations (OMB Circular A-122).
d. 48 CFR Parts 31 and 231 (FAR and DFARS, Cost Principles for For-profit Organizations)
SCAA, Section VIII, G1: Recipient shall maintain and the GO, AGO, or duly authorized representative shall
have the right to examine and audit books, records, documents and other evidence, and accounting
procedures and practices, sufficient to verify if all costs claimed to have been incurred in the performance
of the cooperative agreement award are recorded therein.
We follow the written cost principles of the SCAA, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of
Nebraska system and state of Nebraska. I attend periodic training to keep up with these principles.
I am provided an electronic monthly expense report that I compare against our annual budget and match
each item accordingly and initial the report each month that I have conducted my audit.
We maintain an Employee Self Service (ESS) system that not only tracks vacation, sick, military leave, etc,
it is the system for which we process all expenses through, such as travel, office supplies, etc. I am the
approving authority on this system for the employees that charge expenses against the SCAA.
I use a cost center number on all expenses, including salaries, fringe, F&A, travel, supplies, etc.
I receive a graphic/spreadsheet monthly from our Business Manager showing our PTAC budget and
expenses year-to-date, to include projected expenses for planning purposes and to stay within our budget.
We advertise and conduct hiring review boards for all PTAC employees. Three people serve on each board
and final selection is made by the NBDC State Executive Director. Once selected and inprocessed into the
University system, they are provided a written job description, a copy of the SCAA and sign a letter of
work effort allocation.
New hires are evaluated after 180 days in their position and all other employees are evaluated annually.
Annual rating period is from 1 May – 30 April each year.
Employees attend quarterly training throughout the state, attend both APTAC conferences, and a PTAC
planning conference in January each year. We also conduct monthly All Staff Teleconference meetings to
discuss results in accomplishing goals and key performance indicators, and share best business practices
and sponsored and supported but not sponsored outreach events.
All PTAC/SBIR Consultants are scheduled into an annual professional development plan which includes
obtaining their APTAC CCAS or CCP, complete the FCC program, and university
scholarships for additional undergraduate, graduate or doctorate levels of education.
In an effort to reduce my administrative workload to include the paperwork, a year ago I read a copy of the
federal government’s Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. This was a U.S. federal law enacted in 1980
designed to reduce the total amount of paperwork burden the federal government imposes on private
businesses and citizens. The original requirement was initiated in the Federal Reports Act of 1942 (72
years ago). After reading these reports I decided to “go virtual” to set the example for our clients and my
PTAC/SBIR Consultants. This resulted in scanning 28 years of PTAC client records, SCAA proposals,
expense reports, audits, invoices, and day to day correspondence from paper to electronic files.
By January 2014 I turned-in my large metal file cabinets and printer to our Business Manager. Also turnedin my computer hard disk drive and loaded my scanned paper files into the cloud environment and back-up
on a memory stick that fits in the palm of my hand. I access everything I do either through our business
website or a small notebook computer, and eventually maybe event an IPad, etc. This effort has provided
me more time to read things thoroughly, communicate quicker, research things for my Consultants, conduct
site visits and attend more sponsored and supported non sponsored outreach events statewide.
I also no longer carry a suitcase, or lug paper files around
with me to meetings, client sites, conferences, etc.
Reducing the amount of paperwork that I handled and
maintained in the past has really made a difference in my
Old Dog
New Trick
Andy Alexander, Director (CCAS FCC Level IV, Track I)
Procurement Technical Assistance Program
University of Nebraska at Omaha, Mammel Hall 200
Omaha NE 68182
Phone: (402) 554-6253
[email protected]
7 years service
Office hours: 7am-4pm enter “Andy Alexander, Omaha, NE”

similar documents