Joint Press Briefing by Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet to announce the 2014 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard in the Pentagon Briefing Room

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall; Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, Small Business Administration; and Senior DoD and SBA Officials


SBA ADMINISTRATOR MARIA CONTRERAS-SWEET: Well, good afternoon everybody.

I'm Maria Contreras-Sweet, the administrator of the United States Small Business Administration.

And today, we gather to focus on the importance of contracting to our small business communities, and to release the results of our fiscal year 2014 small business procurement scorecard.

Let me start by thanking Under Secretary Kendall and his team here at the Pentagon for their commitment to small business utilization.

We know it takes leadership and coordination at the highest levels of government to grow our small business economy and all of our small businesses through procurement.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

The Department of Defense, we chose to be here today because it's a shining example of what leadership can do. The federal government, as we all recognize, is the largest procurer in the world. It's the largest procurer of goods and services. Small businesses that secure federal contracts, on average, nearly double that of small firms who do not do business with the federal government.

One of the most important things that Uncle Sam can do to help America's entrepreneurs to succeed is to provide them some small business contracts. And that's precisely what we're doing. Last summer, you may have been with us at NASA, where we announced that the federal government had met its 23 percent small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years.

However, our fiscal year '14 scorecard is not like last year's. It's significantly better. For fiscal year 2014, we didn't just meet our statutory goal. We exceeded it. 24.99 percent of all federal prime contracts were awarded to small businesses. That amounts to $91.7 billion, which supports over 550,000 jobs in our economy.

This is the highest percentage of contracting dollars ever awarded to small businesses since the 23 percent goal was established in 1997. But it took a lot of hard work from an awful lot of people across the government and the small business community to get us here.

I want to give special recognition to three agencies that received a grade A-plus on the SBA scorecard. Those departments are Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Agency for International Development.

We also awarded 17 As, two Bs, and one C. One agency, lamentably, did not get a passing grade, but its small business outreach did not go unnoticed. But more than any other single agency, it was the Department of Defense's outstanding progress that allowed us to reach this new level.

In fiscal year '14, the department accounted for about two out of every three dollars deemed small business eligible. Last year, we awarded a Department of Defense -- we gave them a B. This year, we received -- they received their first A for awarding more than $54.3 billion in prime contracts to small businesses.

Give them a round of applause.

(Applause.)

Today, we take time to recognize the Department of Defense's focus on small business procurement, its leadership up and down the chain of command, the outreach of contracting officers through initiatives such as Better Buying Power, the Department of Defense's success in identifying acquisition opportunities through market research, through competition, and subcontracting.

Put it plainly, people across the department actually rolled up their sleeves, did a heavy lift, and got it done. Today, we're just delighted to be with two DOD small business contractors who achieved remarkable growth through procurement here from the Department of Defense.

Tabatha Turman, a U.S. Army veteran, could you just stand so we know -- everybody knows who you are?

When she transitioned out of the military, she applied her military leadership skills to her dream of owning her own business. Tabitha founded Integrated Finance and Accounting Solutions. She secured DOD contracts worth $18.6 million growing her small firm into a thriving firm, now with over 60 employees. Congratulations to you.

She's now, which we love to see across the country, so many small business paying it forward. In her hometown of Saint Louis, she's launched the Next Generation Leadership Academy, which teaches business and life skills to local urban youth. Thank you so much for doing that social impact that we admire in our small businesses.

We also have Omar Karim. He's the founder of Banneker Ventures. Just stand so we know who you are.

His company provides general contracting construction and facilities management services. Banneker is one of the most successful 8-A certified small businesses here in the Baltimore-Washington area. The company has obtained nearly 50 federal contracts totaling more than $245 million. They’ve increased their revenue as a result by 672 percent since joining the 8-A program. Omar's given jobs and purpose to formerly incarcerated citizens, who want nothing more than a second chance to be productive members of our society.

His firm has contributed more than half a million dollars to charitable organizations.

DOD has one of -- is one of the many agencies that has stepped up its game this year. We also want to recognize five agencies that met or exceeded all of their small business prime goals in every category in fiscal year '14. These agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Agriculture, Treasury, Transportation, and must I say, the SBA.

I also want to recognize the great work of the entire federal government acquisition workforce. The contracting officers, the procurement executives, the offices of small business programs for their efforts to ensure that small businesses remain a vibrant part of the American economy.

The overall achievement the federal government has undertaken here has broken many records. The government's statutory goal is to award five percent of contracts to socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses. In fiscal year '14, we hit a record 9.5 percent of federal contracts went to these underserved businesses.

Again, five percent goal, we reached a 9.5 percent goal -- a number. We nearly doubled -- I want to make sure we understand, we nearly doubled the goal here. This is a major step forward in our work to ensure that our federal supply chain does reflect the diversity of our great country. It's a source of particular pride for me, as many of you know. I was born outside of this country and came here with no economic advantage. And it was indeed entrepreneurship that helped me change the arc of my life.

So this is a program I am particularly interested in.

The federal government also broke our record for contracts awarded to businesses owned by our service disabled vets. Three percent is the goal. We awarded a best ever 3.7 percent of federal contracts to our military heroes. Again, another record. They served this country on the battlefield, and they continue to serve at home providing others good jobs in this economy.

Last but not least, we broke our record for contracts awarded to women-owned businesses. Last year, you may call we hit a 4.3 percent for women-owned businesses. This year, it's a 4.7 percent. We recognize it's just shy of our goal of five percent, but it's still a record for us.

And it's -- the uptick is very encouraging. SBA will continue to work hard with our contracting partners to implement new tools like sole source authority for women-owned businesses, and to train contracting officers and women entrepreneurs on this program.

I was really pleased to see that both the Congress and the president signed into law this sole source authority that we've been working so hard to achieve, and I think that will be an important tool. Let me just stress, I believe that today's achievements are the result of tougher accountability for agencies to meet their goals. President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett have all convened high level meetings to emphasize the importance of small business procurement to our nation's recovery.

Also SBA has implemented some of the most robust procurement training and education programs since our agency's founding. For example, we now have a new classroom that we call the G.C. classroom. It teaches entrepreneurs the differences between selling to the commercial sector and to the government.

It -- we have another program that we call "ChallengeHER," the last three letters end with H-E-R. This campaign with American Express and women impacting public policy takes our roadshow from city to city to help educate women entrepreneurs about how to seize federal supply chain opportunities.

And SBA's free webinars for applicants who participate in our 8-A program have never gotten more traffic than we've received of late. The result, as you can see, has been stronger applications to the 8-A program, more graduates, and more contracts to certified small businesses looking to grow.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we took a big step forward in our work to help small businesses grow to procurement. I look forward to continuing this momentum in fiscal year '15 and beyond.

I'm delighted that the president has engaged personally, understanding that it's not just the federal government who must do all of the lift, and that's why I was particularly pleased when the president announced Quick Pay, which says that we will pay small businesses in 14 days once we've reconciled their invoices and we’re seeking to do the same for the corporations who do the same with their supply chain.

We have the supplier connection program, where we're calling on more and more corporations to join us on this body of work, and already we have a list of over 50 corporations who are looking to reduce and truncate the time in which it takes them to pay their small businesses.

So I'm proud of this work, but we know that there's much more to do, and that's why it is important to acknowledge the heroes, the people who really did the heavy lift to make these numbers happen.

And that is why we are, as I said at the Department of Defense, and why I'm delighted, so delighted to be here with Under Secretary Kendall.

It is my pleasure to introduce a leader whose commitment to small business procurement has been tireless. I came to see him a little over a year ago, and he vowed to be personally engaged and make a commitment to lift their numbers. Under Secretary Kendall has made great strides in improving his department's defense acquisition buying power and their acquisition enterprise system.

One of his strategies for doing so has been to ensure that small business contractors are playing an even more central role in keeping the nation safe.

It's a proud day for the SBA, for the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government. You have walked the walk, you have ensured that tens of billions of dollars are flowing to our small firms that create two out of every three net new jobs.

Again, on behalf of SBA and the administration, I want to thank you and your team for your hard work and all of your leadership here today.

Thank you so much, Under Secretary. Thank you.

(Applause.)

UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FRANK KENDALL: Thank you, Maria.

It's really a pleasure for me to be here today. This is not the final step in a journey, but it's a very important milestone. It's a journey that started about five years ago for me. I came into the department as the deputy to then Under Secretary Carter, and we started a set of initiatives together, which as Maria alluded to, was called Better Buying Power. And two of the elements of Better Buying Power at that time involved small businesses and increasing the use of small businesses, both for innovation and for efficiency and to control costs.

The department doesn't encourage the use of small business because -- just because we like small businesses. We do it for very practical reasons. One of the greatest engines for innovation in this country is small businesses and people who have great ideas and want to take them out and make them into businesses.

The other is the fact that small businesses, particularly in the services industry, tend to be leaner and more anxious to get work, and thus tend to be more economic in many cases for the department. But it relies on us. It depends on us to reach out to these businesses and show them the opportunities and embrace them and find vehicles that make it easy for them to come do business with us.

So we started with Better Buying Power five years ago. And at that time, I made what is by far my best decision, I think, in the entire world of small businesses, which is to hire a gentleman named Andre Gudger, who's standing -- sitting over there.

Andre was the director of our small business office, which we made a direct report to Dr. Carter and I, several years ago, and he carried us through most of this journey. His dedication, his energy level, his commitment, his ingenuity, his creativity, his passion for small businesses and for getting greater results for the department with small businesses are really the engine that has driven this effort.

I'd like you to give Andre a hand.

(Applause.)

We'll get him up here in a few minutes to answer some questions for you, but I've got to leave. I've got to go spend some time with the deputy secretary. But I want to say a little bit about what we've done here.

It has been consistent, tenacious emphasis on small business over a protracted period of time, and been steady progress over the last few years. Again, led by Andre.

Kenyata Wesley, who's here also, has come on board to lead small business for us. We're continuing our progress. The small business community in the Department of Defense, the small business professionals who help everybody make the connection, to help organize the events and reach out are a big part of this. But at the end of the day, it's the contracting people, it's the managers, the people who are spending the money at all levels across the department who actually do the work of awarding contracts to small business, and including small businesses in their procurement plans.

And in this department, those things happen through the three services: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. And it's been the willingness and the enthusiasm with which the services have embraced bringing small businesses into doing business with the Department of Defense that we've been able to achieve this.

And steady progress, a lot of tenacity, some leadership I hope from our part, and from Andre, but at the end of the day, it's the work that's been done within the services by their management teams throughout. And I've got representatives from the three services here with us today also.

Maria, I'm going to have to leave, but I do want to close with one comment. We are not satisfied with an A. We're going to go for an A-plus next year.

(Applause.)

We're on the track -- we're on the track to get an A again this year, but we can do better. And we have one category, hub zones, in which I think we've got to stretch a little bit, but I think we can get there, and we're committed to doing that.

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: And women.

MR. KENDALL: And women. We have that one too. I thought we made that one.

One area in particular that I'm passionate about is the disabled veterans area. And that's an area in which we have made a lot of progress, but I think we still have some ways to go. And that one is obviously of particular concern to the department.

So thank you, it's great to have the recognition. One of the things I was taught by Maria's predecessor and by Valerie Jarrett when I first got into this was that the federal government goes as the Department of Defense goes, in small business.

We have tried to deliver. We came very close last year. In '13 and '14 we made it. We're going to keep on that track.

Thank you very much for the recognition.

(Applause.)

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: Thank you for introducing your team and acknowledging their efforts. And I too, at my end, wanted to acknowledge John Shoraka's leadership as the head of OGCP, the Office of General Contracting and Procurement. So John is here, and we've got our whole team here.

Do we have any questions, comments?

Q: DOD has a ways to go on disabled veterans. Where do we stand with awarding contracts to businesses run by disabled veterans? What are -- what are the stats that they exist now, and what -- what do you -- what are you shooting for? What do you want to get them up to?

ACTING DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ANDRE GUDGER: Yeah, so that's a great question. And Frank is exactly right. I remember four years ago, going to the National Veterans Conference with him, and he specifically said that quite frankly, he thought it was atrocious that the Department of Defense hadn't met our goals. I carried that message back to the interagency task force that the SBA chairs, and said that, you know, you've got a full commitment out of the leadership of the Department of Defense.

What happened in 2014 was actually a silver lining in the cloud, a good news story. We did reach the three percent goal. We achieved it. We exceeded it. But as you can see from my boss, who gave me a lot of -- all of our federal, three percent of the total dollars that we spent went to service disabled veteran-owned small businesses. That's the goal we have, and we achieved that goal.

And so what Frank Kendall was specifically calling out was the fact that we achieve a goal and he's not satisfied with just achieving a goal. He wants it to be even higher. And so it's to his leadership to show that not only do we try to meet what our statutory requirements are, we want to exceed them. And so he wants us to do even better than the three percent goal. He wants us to make a high number even higher. So he was specifically alluding to that.

Q: The three percent represent how many -- how many businesses, how much money?

MR. GUDGER: That -- the goal is based on a percentage, and the percentage is based on dollars. Yes?

Q: What is three percent translate in to dollars?

MR. GUDGER: You know, I'll let these guys share specific numbers.

ACTING DIRECTOR KENYATA WESLEY: So, what you're asking us for is what does it equate to dollar wise, I can get you that information right after here. But it's three percent of the total eligible dollars within the Department of Defense that we spent this year.

So we had over -- do we have the actual number with us?

I thought it was 50, 60?

(STAFF): Yeah, but I will add (OFF-MIC)

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: Yeah, we'll get it for you, but I just read it.

We'll get it for you.

Yeah, we'll have to get it for him. It’s $54.3 billion.

Q: The SBA probably -- you guys have taken some criticism in past years for the way you calculate the baseline, not including overseas contracts and federal prison industries, stuff like that.

Have you changed any of that in recent years to change the way you -- you calculate this whole divide?

ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR JOHN SHORAKA : Yeah, that's -- that's a great question.

National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 I think it was actually, directed us to take a look at those exclusions. And in 2015, we expanded the base. In other words, we eliminated some of those exclusions.

One of the -- one of the exclusions that we excluded in '15 was leases, as an example, to the extent that it was reported in FPDS-NG, the federal procurement data systems. The other large piece is the overseas contracts.

And so for this year, as we go into goaling for 2016, we've been working with our sister agencies, we've been working with Department of Defense, we've been working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to incorporate that into our base for '16 as well. So we're moving in that direction to -- to eliminate as many of those exclusions as possible.

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: Just to be clear, so we added in -- back in a prior exclusion so the base is larger this year.

MR. SHORAKA: Yeah, the base. From -- and just to be clear, one of the things that we always talk about is making sure that we maintain the same ruler, right? Comparing apples to apples to apples. Because we didn't want to be changing the way we measure in order to do better. If anything, we've excluded -- included more in the base. We've expanded the base to make it more difficult for us to meet the goal.

Q: By how much more roughly? I mean, maybe a better way to ask it would be if you hadn't added those exclusions back in, what would your numbers actually look like?

MR. SHORAKA: Yeah, I don't have that off the top of my head, but I'm happy to get back to you specifically. I do know that as we move into 2016 and include overseas contracts, it can be anywhere from 1.5 percent to 2 percent impact.

Q: I apologize for the remedial question, but can you go in a little bit about what these scores actually mean? I mean, we heard the secretary say we have to do better on women and something else he mentioned. Hubzone. So how are you calculating these? What did the DOD do that got it from a B to an A specifically, and how do you develop those other areas?

Q: You can take the three variables (inaudible)?

MR. SHORAKA: Yeah, I mean as far as the grade goes, we look at three different variables, right? 80 percent of the grade is with respect to prime contracting dollars. And where we get that is from the Federal Procurement Data System, FPDS-NG, next generation.

That's 80 percent of the grade. How does the agency do with respect to small business procurement in prime contracting? 10 percent of the grade comes from subcontracting. So every agency again also has a goal with respect to subcontracting, and 10 percent of the grade is calculated from there. The remaining 10 percent is a little bit more subjective. It's what we call success factors. It's -- incorporates questions like what was leadership's involvement with respect to reaching out to small businesses? What kind of control measures do you have to make sure that the data quality is accurate.

That's a little more subjective. And that's actually graded by a peer -- independent peer group of OSDBU, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Directors. They actually evaluate each other, and that creates the additional 10 percent.

So what you know, obviously I think the administrator talked about the important impact that small businesses make, and I always speak about this in public is, when small businesses receive these contracting dollars, they have to grow. They have to increase their footprint. They have to go out and hire.

And I think we have great examples of that here today. But it makes a significant impact on the local environment, the local economy. I think with respect to -- and the one thing, and I don't want to monopolize it, because you guys have done a lot, but the one thing that I would add is that our administrator talked about the White House focus and accountability. The White House made accountability an important part of the Senior Executive Service member's rating, right?

So if you're a Senior Executive Service member and you have a rating at the end of the year and you have a budget, you're going to be held accountable to a goal. And so as that happened, and the importance of small business was elevated, we see a lot of improvement in our small business numbers across the federal government.

Now, with respect to how DOD approached it…

MR. WESLEY: It's okay. So we took a multifaceted approach to trying to establish a pace for meeting goals. And you know, one of the things we wanted to do was express to all of our leadership that it was -- the goal was not a ceiling. All right? So you go after -- you go after work because market research told you that a small business could perform the effort. We focused on the impact of what small businesses bring to the table versus just pushing someone on a goal or a metric.

We wanted to actually encourage people to actually do their research, understand what the full capabilities of a small business actually are, and that way they're judged on their capabilities and their merits, their past performance, and their skillsets that they bring to the table.

The services that you see on my right, to include MDA, is also present: the missile defense agency. And they've done an outstanding job of actually performing good market research. And I think that is one of the key -- the key pieces of the puzzle for them to make good decisions on when to use small businesses, put small businesses in a position to be successful, and also for their missions to be successful.

Because each of the stakeholders have a responsibility to actually ensure that their responsibility to the warfighter is taken care of.

And so I want to make sure that you understand it wasn't taken lightly that they award a contract to a small business. They put a lot of thought and effort into the criteria that the small businesses will be evaluated against, the market research that they put in place to actually become more efficient and actually drive change in this department.

And I think that's something that they should be given credit for because it's a lot of effort. Better Buying Power strategically focuses on small business as well as technology and innovation, and you heard Mr. Kendall say earlier that the majority of the innovation that comes out of this country comes out of small business.

Well, it's important if you look at Better Buying Power 3.0, which is now the third iteration of Better Buying Power, it's -- there's a lot more initiatives based on small businesses, because we're not stopping, we're not taking the foot off the gas. We're driving innovation home. And by doing that, you need small business.

You know, it's not a political statement that they're the economic engines. They're technology engines. And we want to make sure that we take -- capitalize on that, on their skillsets and capabilities going forward, and we're not stopping.

Make sense?

Q: Thanks.

Q: I have a question for Mr. Andre Gudger.

The -- some of the DOD prime contractors, they've been saying for a long time that their supply chains are weak, that they have small businesses that are specialized in certain components, and that they are financially weak and potentially could be going out of business. So it sounds like they are making it to be a crisis.

I was wondering if you have looked into that problem. Do you believe that it's a crisis, and what are you doing about it?

MR. GUDGER: Yeah so in my new job, I actively monitor that. I'm responsible for the industrial base and making -- ensuring that it's a modern, healthy, robust industrial base. And we're performing constant assessments, you know, sector by sector, tier by tier. And we look at the fragility and criticality of all businesses, not just small. That includes the medium and the large, to see where we have critical capability where we might have an industrial base that’s thin or weak.

And so there is no, as we constantly monitor, there is no systematic crisis in place. But there's areas that we have focused on that will help us maintain our technical dominance and key capabilities we want for the decades to come.

And we've done that in partnership with our large suppliers who have opened up and shared information in their supplier base with us so that we could -- we can actively monitor that.

So I will say that making an overall assessment, a healthy -- our industrial base looks very healthy. We have improved it. We have made efforts to modernize the industrial base. It is a healthy one. And we are happy with where we are, but we still continue to actively monitor to ensure that we maintain that health.

And so it's -- it's something that is a constant evolution and something that we never stop doing. It's something that we do daily, because the industrial base shifts daily, there's a transaction, there's a buy or sell, and there's a capability that we look to acquire.

Q: So would you agree with the companies that say that there's a weak supply chain? You disagree with that?

MR. GUDGER: We don't have a weak supply chain. We have a very healthy one. There's areas of concern that we have that we focus on, but yes we have overall a healthy industrial base set up from our first tier to our sub tier suppliers.

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: I just wanted to add, because I think we need to put a fine point on that. And thank you for those remarks. I think you are -- you are spot on. Let me just say that in talking that just to our federal departments, but also with the private sector, small businesses, and as I think Frank appropriately pointed this out, this is not something that we're doing just to be nice to small businesses. We need small businesses in the game. It gives the federal government and corporations more nimbleness, more agility, and small businesses now are filing more patents than ever. So they're also driving innovation.

But to the extent that in any case there can be from time to time a business that may find themselves cashflow challenged or something, then I think it's important for us to remind ourselves that the SBA's already launched a program that we call emerging leaders where we take experienced companies, as we help them grow to scale, we're putting them through what we call a mini-MBA, so we're having great success with that tool.

And another program, as I said, our Quick Pay program is also addressing some of the cashflow challenges that we may find in any business large or small. So I really want to point that out.

Third, I just want to say that I have seen so many best practices that I really want to help lift, and that is that the corporate community has shown us that in some instances where they really rely on a small contractor, what they're doing is sometimes taking an equity position in that company, sometimes providing them a loan, sometimes allowing that small business to also engage in their own H.R. training programs.

So I think we ought to study some of those best practices to see how we can even strengthen even more so the supply chain to make sure that it is enduring and that we continue to benefit from these wonderful innovations.

Q: Mr Gudger, can you elaborate on the role the Defense Department services contracts played in reaching this goal? And Mr. Kendall got into this a little bit with the services contracts, saying that sometimes they're a little bit leaner and a little bit hungrier, and can actually save the department money.

Are they the bulk of what got you to this goal, or do you sort of want to give us some details?

MR. GUDGER: Yeah, I don't think there's any one single thing that helped us achieve a goal. There's many things that we -- that we did over the past few years. Whether it was policy, accelerating payments, or focus on a particular area, the Department of Defense made a decision to focus on areas that were very healthy for small businesses to continue to contribute to help uplift our numbers. And so we focused on areas such as knowledge base services, electronic and communications, and facilities management. We made a deliberate effort to focus on those segments of our industrial base, because we knew we had a very healthy one and robust one. And this kinda is a piggyback on the prior question.

You know, it's hard to argue that any one thing did it because when you look at the health of the small businesses, it's probably the -- and by numbers, it's the healthiest pro rata share that any group of small businesses have ever had with federal contracting.

This is historic.

And so we have seen improvements. And if you look at where we're driving to and (inaudible), you know, that the historic achievement, well, you'll see that there's an improvement in the efficiency side with our service-based contracting, which the department spends about half of its money on service-based contracting. Small business has played an essential role in that. They have been a huge supporter of those key portfolio areas that I just mentioned.

And quite frankly, we also made a focus on technology and getting products into the acquisition system and helping small businesses commercialize and transition those -- their technologies into the acquisition system.

And we've been very successful at that. You know, one of the numbers that didn't get mentioned earlier that we crossed over $2 billion in commercialization. Commercialization is what we use to measure the success of a small company receiving funds from the Department of Defense that have gone on to transition them into a Department of Defense system or into a commercial system, sold at your favorite commercial goods store.

And so that focus on technology dominance and superiority has led to great outcomes for the economy. And that's the reason why we see you know, a record number of net new jobs added. You know, small business is still the engine, and it's showing up through our entire economic system framework.

MS. CONTRERAS-SWEET: You know, I always like to punctuate these great remarks, but I just wanted to add that when you think of the small, it's really important to remember that these are largely American jobs. When we go to the small, they’re more apt to be local neighborhood jobs, and I think that's a really important point to stress.

And as we see, these are now companies that I have -- I have gone to -- you know, all the four corners of this country to go in to visit and to see that they are making things in America, they are promoting manufacturing.

I think that's really a remarkable feat. Local manufacturing jobs produce higher-quality, higher-paying jobs.

I think that's a wrap then. Thank you so much everybody.

Thank you. Have a good afternoon.