Wessel & Associates
Wessel's gift of gab is a major regional resource

Bert Caldwell
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper (Spokane, WA)
February 14, 2006

A well known general contractor had a long list of military projects under its belt. But when a contract for work on the Yakima Armed
Forces Reserve Center went out for bids last year, they were not aware of the project.  The contractor got the contract, in large part
because of a Spokane Valley woman who has made a business out of putting together federal procurement officers and small,
minority-owned businesses.

Carla Wessel has parlayed contacts into contracts most of her working life. Her newest venture, Wessel and Associates, has already
helped clients secure millions in federal government contracts, even though the business is only 15 months old. And often by working
with procurement officers she has never even met.

She credits her abundantly clear gift of gab, but adds that her hate-to-lose mentality helps, too.  Wessel works sole-source and
competitive projects. Many are set-asides for women and minorities under the U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) program. She
also locates contracts for service-disabled veterans, and small businesses in general.

She is not the area's only resource; the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce offers a similar service, the Procurement
Technical Assistance Center. The local SBA office also offers assistance.

More than 400 Washington companies participated in the 8(a) program in 2004. Nationally, the 8,900 8(a)-qualified companies
captured $5.6 billion in federal contracts that year. According to the SBA, the contractors employed almost 200,000.

Wessel was introduced to the 8(a) program while working for Burton Construction Inc., a company that has since emerged from the
program's nine-year window of eligibility. After building up an extensive network of contacts, she says, some procurement officers
suggested she think about taking on many of the other small businesses struggling to snare government work. In November 2004,
she did just that, signing up two clients almost immediately. None of the companies she represents is from Spokane.

Many clients are referred to Wessel by procurement officers.  Wessel has been a ferocious relationship builder since the late 1980s.
Networking breakfasts were big then, but fizzled as attendees fretted about the time away from work. Wessel, who earned a public
relations degree at Gonzaga University, used names she collected at the breakfasts to keep participants exchanging sales leads by
fax. She charged a monthly fee for the service.  A difficult pregnancy forced her to set aside that business. But she powered up her
affability again in the late 1990s as a representative for Apple Computer. Wessel admits she was so computer illiterate she bought a
Gateway computer for the job, not realizing its operating system was totally incompatible with Apple's.

No problem. The Spokane group became one of the top sellers of Apple educational software in the Northwest.  Wessel never left her
home. Never met a client.  "I had a blast," says Wessel, who used contests to build sales.  But retrenching by a then-struggling Apple
soon had Wessel, a single mother of two sons, looking for work again. She hooked on with another software company before joining
Burton.

Wessel does not guarantee results. She charges a monthly fee, and a small percent of the value of whatever contracts her clients
score. Clients can walk at any time. And, knowing her clients will eventually become ineligible for 8(a) work, she educates them about
government contracting as they grow.  Wessel wants her clients so well-known their names pop up first when contracts come up. It's
all in the contacts. Often, she is alerted to contracts before the government posts them.  "Those are the gold nuggets I am trying to
find," she says.


The Spokesman-Review Newspaper (Spokane, WA)
Business In Brief
September 12, 2006


Valley woman sparks connection
By Alison Boggs

A Spokane Valley woman who has made a career of connecting small, minority-owned businesses with large government contracts
recently landed a $2 million contract for a Kennewick electric firm.

"It's a huge coup for me," said Carla Wessel, who operates Wessel and Associates out of her home. "It's a great thing for Spokane.
We're trying to build up business and economic development here in Spokane."

Wessel's client, Cheyenne Electric, will replace a fire alarm system and upgrade the automation system at the Bonneville Power
Administration building in Portland.

Wessel instigated the collaboration between Cheyenne Electric and the General Services Administration on the contract. It was the
second-largest government contract Wessel has landed for a client after two years in business.

The BPA project began in August and is expected to be complete by June 2007, a news release said.
WESSEL AND ASSOCIATES - Carla Wessel - President - 509-922-8437 - Office - 509-924-7240 - Fax
  carla@wesselassociates.net
WESSEL AND ASSOCIATES
Kennewick firm to rehab Bonneville Power
Administration's Portland systems

By Journal, Daily
Publication: Daily Journal of Commerce
Date: Wednesday, September 20 2006

Cheyenne Electric Inc. of Kennewick, Wash., has contracted with the U.S. General Services Administration
for $2 million to replace the fire alarm system and upgrade the building automation system at the
Bonneville Power Administration's Portland headquarters.

Maintaining and repairing the existing systems has been difficult as technology has advanced and the
availability of replacement parts has shrunk.

Cheyenne Electric's design/build team will perform the management and installations and Johnson
Controls Inc. will provide the design, equipment and programming for both systems. Construction
management consultant Heery International Inc. will represent the General Services Administration.
The project is expected to be completed in June 2007.

Wessel and Associates, a Spokane Valley, Wash., public relations firm that represents small
business seeking government contracts, instigated the collaboration between Cheyenne Electric and
the General Services Administration.