Selling to Uncle Sam

AbeSelling to Uncle Sam.

That is not what I do, rather it is what I help my clients and the clients of the company I currently work for do. For those of you not familiar with my background (almost everyone reading this), I have over 16 years in government contractor business development, program management, and contract support. I have military experience and have owned a small business. Does this make me an expert? No. Does it  make me knowledgeable and inquisitive? Yes. So here goes.

I was driving home from a client’s office the other day and, as I stopped at a red light, I looked at my phone to send a one-word text. Looking up, I saw that the light had already turned green but at that precise moment, a car ran the red light heading down the street right in front of me. If I had not looked down, would I have seen the car coming, would they have seen me, would I have been hit? I tell this story for a reason. First of all, I do not approve of, recommend, or even tolerate texting and driving. However, I can see an analogy between myself at the green light and a government contractor.

Can’t see it? I don’t blame you. You have to possess a curious way of thinking, but here is the analogy. How many times as a government contractor have you been blindsided by a change in government requirements, procurement strategies, or key personnel? It has happened to most companies. What do you do about it? You look both ways, know which way the government driver is heading, and look out for sudden changes in speed or direction. How do you do that? If possible, you establish a relationship with the customer but you also maintain that relationship up to and through the proposal process. Seems simple and logical, however, you would be surprised at how many businesses that should know better, don’t. Remember, watch out for the other car; before, during, and after the solicitation that you are bidding on is released. Stay tuned for more and feel free to respond with your own examples of how this has happened to your business.


Can’t work miracles

Ruminations about Linkedin. As a professional dealing with people in the government and in other industries, I am on Linkedin often. I try to grow my network, keep in touch with my connections, and look at what has been posted by other professionals. I am, by no means, an expert as my less than 300 connections will tell you, but there are some things that I just don’t understand. In no particular order:

  1. If you don’t want your picture on the site, I can understand. This is the internet and available to anyone searching the web. However, I do use the pictures to place a face to a name.
  2. Conversely, since this is the internet and, supposedly, used in a professional capacity, are pictures of yourself hunting, fishing, or wearing funny costumes how you want to present yourself? If so, then that is fine. Maybe it will work for you.
  3. In a similar vein, should you have family members, particularly your children’s picture on your page? Pets are OK but then again I like animals.
  4. Do you have a purpose to your page? If so, let people know. Your profession or the professional skills you have should be easily discovered by people who visit you?
  5. Finally, keep it up to date. If you change jobs, positions, or companies, make sure it is reflected on your page.




My second book, Hollis County Mysteries, Cold Case and Other Stories, is free on Amazon Kindle beginning December 6. Read the description below and look it up. If you like it, please leave a review.


Jason McKittrich is settling into his new home in Bella Ridge, Tennessee. He has a job, new friends, is negotiating to buy the paper that he is working for and a mostly quiet, peaceful life. A cold case, the apparent drowning death of an unidentified young man 15 years ago, might not sound earth shattering but, as in everything that happens in Hollis County, there is more to it than meets the eye. If that wasn’t enough, Bella Ridge is visited by a hit man who can’t figure out who he is supposed to kill and by a Psychic who gets messages in her grocery lists. There is also the case of Hollis County’s first Psychic Reading and Driver’s Education Business that runs into a bank robbery in progress. Finally, Jason’s boss, Charlie Braddock is charged with murder. It’s all in a day’s work for the Hollis County Record staff.



Persistence and Tenacity

CS002892Persistence and tenacity are the secrets to success. To get anywhere, you have to not give up, keep working, keep striving for the the best. History is full of examples. Henry Ford went broke five times before founding Ford Motor Company. Harland David Sanders of KFC fame, had his secret recipe rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. They kept going. Thomas Edison tried 10,000 experiments before succeeding with the light bulb. He kept going. These examples prove that persistence is important to success.


The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Isn’t that also persistence or tenacity without reflection, without thought? Every time Edison tried an experiment and it didn’t work, he stepped back, evaluated the results, and tried something new. He was persistent but also flexible. He had a goal and he was persistent in trying to achieve that goal but he didn’t just keep trying the same experiment. He changed it to find out what would succeed. Perhaps when Colonel Sanders finally had his recipe accepted, he presented it in a different way, used more descriptive words or provided something new that would lead to success. Then again, maybe he just finally got lucky.




No poem can real express

our life so far we’ve lived

and I cannot begin to tell

of all the joy you give.


You hold me and you touch

the boy turned into man,

the man that I desire to be,

The boy inside I really am.


You are strength and courage

though child you sometimes are.

I feel as if we’ve just begun.

I love our life so far.


Available soon on Amazon 

Hollis County Mysteries Cold Case and Other Stories

NOdigital_book_thumbnailW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Hollis County, Tennessee

15 Years Ago

Ted Richards drove quickly, but not dangerously, his car powered by anticipation and fueled by hope. Another hour and he would be with his wife and child. The last two years, ever since the plant he worked at had unexpectedly closed down, had been rough on the entire family. He and his wife had kept it going through odd jobs and help from family, but now that was going to change. A friend had pointed him in the direction of a job opening fifty miles from home and he had taken a desperate flyer, driven the hour-long trip on narrow roads, and had put in an application. Not only had he been given an interview, he had actually received an offer for almost the same salary he was making at his previous job. Although some little ways from home, the plant was still close enough for him to commute. He smiled, thinking about his wife when he told her the news. He picked up the small stuffed rabbit five-year old Carrie had given him on the way out the door that morning.

“For luck, Daddy,” she said.

He was so lost in the memory of her smile, that he didn’t see the light of the vehicle approaching fast behind him or hear the roar of the truck as it attempted to pass him on the narrow road. He did feel the crash against his car as the truck bed swerved into him, forcing his vehicle off of the road. He also felt the impact of tree hitting his front grill and the softness of the stuffed toy he was still holding when he died.



Now available on

Going to the Dogs Part 3

IMG_0070Well this is definitely a surprise. After Going to the Dogs Part 2, I thought we might be finished fostering for a couple of months. I was looking forward to just the 3 of us; myself, my wife, and our own dog Jack (see Going to the Dogs Part 1), spending some quality time together. ‘The best laid plans’ as they say. Almost a month ago now, while I was busy in a meeting, my wife sent me a text saying that she was on her way to a shelter to pick up a sweet English Foxhound mix. There was more, she was fixing to give birth any day now, and therein lies the rub. The shelter was so crowded and full of disease that either the dog would be euthanized before she gave birth or, if the puppies were delivered, the odds of them surviving were very slim. Stella, her name, was placed in the back of my wife’s car with the hope that she arrived home before the whelping got underway. The weather was bad and, from my meeting, I had horrible visions of my wife being in a terrible automobile crash and the rescued dog giving birth in the back seat. Fortunately every one made it home safely with no accidents and no deliveries. Instead to the 3-4 puppies we anticipated, a digital x-ray showed 9 little spines. Instead of one foster, we would soon have 10. My wife paced, I fretted, the weekend came and went, and almost a week later, beginning oddly enough at the vet’s office, Stella started delivering. The first four appeared before my wife and a friend who had met her there got home. The next four (there were only eight) came into this world over the next 5 hours. Our friend who was there for the entire process, a retired doctor who actually did an OB-GYN residence, was invaluable. We can truthfully say that our foster dog had an OB-GYN to deliver her puppies. It has been almost three weeks now; the puppies have opened their eyes although I don’t believe they can hear yet. We are learning to feed the puppies with little bottles of formula – the poor girl needs a break after all, and the puppies are starting to find their legs. So that is where we are now, a temporary family of 12. Stay tuned for Going to the Dogs Part 4, and maybe some other posts in between.IMG_0071

Going to the Dogs, Part 2

I am finally getting around to finishing up the dog fostering saga (for the time being). If you remember from Part 1, and if you don’t, feel free to read it first, our dog fostering began when we got our dog Jack through an organization called Friends of Rescue (FOR). Through them we began fostering dogs, or keeping dogs that were housed at shelters that had no room for them, until a ‘forever home’ could be found. First we had Dash, and after handing him off to his new family, our next one was called Lola. A part lab, bull dog, pit, boxer, who knows what, Lola was a big, stocky girl, totally submissive with the aim to be a big lap dog. She had the mostsoulful eyes that looked right through you.

Lola on her ‘Freedom Ride’

Her ‘forever home’ turned out to be with a very nice family with two teenagers. The son, almost college age, let’s Lola sleep with him  and takes her on rides in his two seat sports car.

Chloe at home

The next one was a 6-month black lab mix named Chloe. She was just what you would expect out of a puppy; funny, energetic, and still finding her way around. Before we even had a chance to spend much time with her, my wife heard of a dog in the shelter with four puppies. Other fosters were taking all of the puppies but one so the Friday before Memorial day, we traveled to the shelter and picked up Lola 2 (renamed by my wife Bella) and one adorable black and white puppy. Searching for a name for the puppy, I saw the emblem for an automobile dealership on the car in front of us so that is how Ryder got his name.

Bella and Ryder

Bella, Ryder and Chloe, had their own crates – their safe places – when not playing outside or chasing each other around the yard. While with us, Chloe and eventually Bella, when she healed from giving birth, received their necessary life-altering surgery that they had to have prior to being adopted. Chloe was posted on the FOR web site (if you are looking for a dog, see ), and she was seen by a man in Tennessee who drove down with a friend to pick Chloe up. There were rough spots. He was a first-time dog owner and she is still a puppy, but now they are best friends. Ryder was picked up by another foster and adopted soon after that, puppies always being in high demand. That left us with Bella. Bella was at times, endearing, such as when she would climb into your lap and look at you with needy, adoring eyes. At other times, she could be a test of your patience such as when she was trying grab Jack by the collar or chase him around the yard. It got to where Jack would not go out in the yard if she was out there. She also was a born hunter, a fact learned that a couple of birds unfortunately learned the hard way. With her puppy and Chloe gone, she also developed an aversion to sleeping in her crate, an accommodation made necessary by her propensity to chew furniture or other valuable artifacts. FOR arranged for us to visit ‘Such a Good Dog’ and meet with the owner to learn about handling Bella. The visit worked wonders. If not for her ‘prey’ instinct, we found out Bella would be a good candidate for service dog training. When we got her back, we worked with her, made the crate more of a home where positive things happened, toned down her demanding behavior, and everything moved on smoothly. A few weeks ago, even though my wife was feeling bad, we packed Bella up and went to an all-day adoption event featuring a number of agencies and organizations with dogs and cats looking for a new home. Against all odds, a lovely couple of empty-nesters with kids and grand-kids away from home, and who had lost their dog a while back, saw Bella, fell in love with her and within two weeks we were fosterless for the first time in months. All of the dogs have wonderful homes and we have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I say we, but my wife is the driving force, the one who is with them, and the one who has so much love to give. That is it for now. Look for my new book, Hollis County Mysteries, Cold Case and Other Stories, on Amazon in a couple of weeks. I’ll have an excerpt in my next post.

Going to the Dogs!

This is a totally different type of post, however, since I have found myself straying away from the original theme of Small Towns and Communities more and more lately, I figured what the heck?

First, a little background. My wife grew up as an only child with a canine

Lilly sunning herself

sister, a dachshund named Tina. Although, we had dogs growing up, I was never really a ‘dog person’, a fact I now truly regret. Soon after my wife and I married, we welcomed our first dog, against my wishes of course, since I felt we had higher priorities.  Silly me! She was a 6-week old Yellow Labrador we named Lilly or Lillian Beatrice after my wife’s Aunt. Although she had her moments, she was a special dog and add

ed so much to our life. Sadly, we lost her in February of last year at the age of 15. Soon after, a little over a month later to be precise, we got Jack, again against my wishes.I wasn’t ready to move on, or so I thought. Jack is male, black, a combination of I don’t know what, to include possibly Australian Shepard, Catahoula, Black Lab, Border Collie and you-name-it. In other words, everything that Lilly was not. He had been rescued from a kill shelter

Jack in a regal pose

by an organization called Friends of Rescue (FOR). Two days after he arrived, he misjudged a step on our deck and broke the bones in his paw. He was in and out of a cast for almost two months. Who said adopting pets was cheap? The lady who rescued him, his Angel Mom, as we call her, became a good friend  and, through her, we became involved with FOR. In December of last year, a FOR volunteer called my wife with an urgent request. They needed a foster for a a young Basenji mix who would be put down at the shelter soon if not picked up. Virginia agreed and then asked me about it. Of course I consented, as if I ever really had a say in the matter. Dasher, as he was called, and very aptly named as you will see as you read on, was a sweet, hyper, loving dog who liked to dig holes and escape through the fence. I told you the name would begin to make sense.

Jack and Dasher

We have an old wooden fence at our house and unknown to us, some of the slats had started to come away from the frame. Dasher found them and I ended up chasing him around the neighborhood a few times. He even found a place where the wire fence in the back had been bent by a falling limb and climbed over it into the neighbor’s yard. Even with all of that he is a great dog and was adopted within about a month. Unfortunately, the adopters couldn’t take him right away because of work being done on their house so we ended up keeping him until mid-February. When they came to pick him up at our house, they fell in love with him immediately and became friends of ours as well. True to form, as his new father was leading him out to the car, he escaped the leash. The two of us, followed in the car by his new mother, spent the next twenty minutes chasing him all over the neighborhood until finally cornering him under a parked pickup truck. Neither one of us being spring chickens, and that is all I will say about that, I was glad to see that there were no ill effects suffered by canine or human in the hand off. Finally they drove away with their new addition. But that was certainly not the end of the Dasher saga. The adopters had already planned a west-coast trip which would prohibit them from taking Dash so they asked if we would keep him for three weeks in March. Of course we agreed, and enjoyed seeing him again. I mean what are a few more holes and a few more chases down the street. It is what keeps you young. We still keep up with them and with Dash, mainly through social media and emails and, I am sure will see him again. That was our first adventure in fostering but, as I am sure you have guessed, certainly not our last. Next time I will fill you in on soulful Lola and how we ended up with a Black Lab, a Black Mouth Cur mix (and her 6-week old puppy) and of course poor Jack who always seems to get the short end of the stick.