Budget Cuts and Cancelled Conferences – GSA’s Expo is Gone for Now

Budget cuts, scandals and travel restrictions have caused the General Service Administration to cancel their 2013 Expo.

“It is the first time in almost 20 years that GSA has put on the Expo that they have decided to cancel it. Even in 2012 when the agency was racked by conference related scandal, they moved forward with that year’s Expo,” said Larry Allen.

Allen is the President of Allen Federal Business Partners. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program why the Expo is important.

What is the Expo?

“It was originated as a way to market GSA schedules global supply programs to federal agencies who would in turn use them. Overtime they Expo morphed more and more into primarily a training show. They always had the showroom floor, but the last couple of years the 1st 2 days of the Expo were really dedicated to training and only then did the showroom open up,” said Allen.

Will the Expo be missed?

“I think it is the training opportunity that will be particularly missed this year. The need for training doesn’t go away, particularly when we are talking about the acquisition workforce training that brings federal buyers closer to using GSA’s programs. So as an agency GSA took away a primary training activity for people who would use its programs,” said Allen.

Restrictions?

“All the travel restrictions placed on feds, particularly at the DoD meant that training would have to be provided on another venue like a webinar or a more localized class. This is primarily an outflow of budgetary uncertainty. Training and travel money has been cut, we’ve seen many of DoD’s own conferences cancelled,” said Allen.

Need for Conferences?

“Conferences offer safe spaces for government and industry to talk. With cloud computing, big data and others the solutions are not static, so getting together in an Expo like environment is a good opportunity for discussion away from having a direct sales calls. Without conferences you diminish the opportunity for good and proper discussions between government and industry,” said Allen.

Future?

“Hopefully we will see some sort of conference in the future. They could take this year’s cancellation as a way to re-think the format, make it smaller and more localized,” said Allen.

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