Successful Defense of Small Business Award

We represented Summit2Sea Consulting, an inventor specializing in computer software development, as an intervenor in a GAO protest. Summit2Sea was recently awarded a task order worth nearly $29 million through the company’s Federal Supply Schedule contract. A disappointed offeror protested to GAO the award to Summit2Sea, making several arguments about the procuring agency’s (DARPA) evaluation of both its quotation and Summit2Sea’s quotation. 

The protester first challenged the evaluation of its technical experience, arguing that where the solicitation required offerors to demonstrate experience, expertise, and understanding of the requirement, the agency improperly downgraded its quotation for lack of detail of its approach to meeting the requirement. The protester argued that this constituted an unstated evaluation criterion. The agency adeptly defended its evaluation, with Summit2Sea filing several responses in support of the agency’s position. GAO ultimately found that an offeror’s demonstration of its understanding of the solicitation requirements logically includes details of the actions and approaches it intends to use to meet those requirements. Thus, the agency’s position was upheld, and the protester’s argument regarding unstated evaluation criteria failed.

The protester also challenged the agency’s evaluation of elements of Summit2Sea’s quotation. Working with the agency in response to this protest ground, the Bass Berry GovCon team successfully argued to GAO that because the protester was not next in line for award, it lacked standing as an “interested party” to challenge the agency’s evaluation of Summit2Sea’s proposal. There was another offeror ranked ahead of the protester and behind Summit2Sea, making it next in line for award. The protester failed to challenge the other offeror’s position as second ranked, thus, GAO agreed with the agency and Summit2Sea that even if the protester was correct in its challenge to Summit2Sea’s proposal, it still would not have received the award. As a result, GAO dismissed the portion of the protest relating to the evaluation of Summit2Sea’s proposal.

As for the protester’s challenge to the source selection decision, the agency and the GovCon team successfully demonstrated that the technical superiority of Summit2Sea’s proposal was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria, making the award to Summit2Sea proper. GAO agreed, and denied the remaining portion of the protest. Ultimately, the award to Summit2Sea was upheld and it is now in the process of transitioning into performance under the contract.

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