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Space Advisory Group with Andrew Bossert and Severin Blenkush

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Join Tim today as he chats with Andrew Bossert and Severin Blenkush from Space Advisory Group.

Andrew and Severin are the Co-Founders and Managing Partners of Space Advisory Group, LLC, a boutique advisory firm which specializes in Federal acquisitions.

Andrew Bossert is the Co-Founder and a Managing Partner of Space Advisory Group, LLC. Space Advisory Group is a boutique advisory firm which specializes in Federal acquisitions. The firm was established in 2020 to assist startups in navigating the federal acquisition landscape. Additionally, Andrew serves in the United States Air Force Reserves as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee. Previously, Andrew served on Active Duty as an Officer in the United States Air Force. He most recently served as an Advanced Concepts Contracting Officer, Special Programs, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, CA. He was responsible for contract execution and administration of a $740 million dollar portfolio. In this role, Andrew supported classified programs to field and sustain cutting-edge space technology ensuring US space superiority. Andrew entered active duty in 2015 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at the University of North Texas. He served in various contracting and acquisition positions including base level services, construction, and commodities, as well as operational contract support, space systems, classified contracts, contingency, and completed a tour with USSOCOM’s Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics - Contracting GHOST program. Andrew deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel as the Chief of Contracting for the Special Mission, Special Operations Advisory Group, Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan from 2019 until 2020. Andrew is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California, holds a Masters of Science in Accountancy and Bachelor of Art in Economics and Finance from the University of Dallas.

Severin is a Colonel retired from the air force who over his 27 year career largely in acquisition, ended up working across the spectrum of contract and acquisition. [00:02:00] Centers. He ended his career as the director of contracting for air mobility command.

[00:02:08] He served as a three-time. He served three times as a commander deployed direct twice Qatar once ended up serving in the U S embassy in Copenhagen, in Denmark. And has spent some of his space time working on classified systems at Los Angeles air force base and ended up working for two years at the national reconnaissance office.

[00:02:33] Upon a severance retirement. He worked as the assistant vice president at the St. Louis federal reserve bank, where he worked in support of Treasury's invoice processing platform the federal government's largest invoicing system, other than the. Several and also work as a business Intel lead for space forces, rapid capabilities office and he was one of the early members of the [00:03:00] space RCO working as a senior acquisition advisor, helping develop some of those early acquisition strategies for the space for.

[00:03:08] Outside work, Severin enjoys a trail running with is a Siberian Husky cayenne, restoring British cars and playing the piano. It's it's exciting to have both of you here and let's let's get started.

Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Tim Chrisman: All right. Welcome to another edition of podcast for the future. I'm Tim Christmann with the foundation for the future. Today, I'm joined by. Andrew Bossert and Severin Blenkush. Both of whom are co-founders and managing partners of space advisory group, Andrew is. Former active duty officer in the U S air force most recently serving as an advanced concepts contracting officer in their special programs that the space and missile systems center in Los Angeles air force base in California, he was responsible for contract execution and administration of.

[00:00:54] Large contracts almost a billion dollars. And in this role, he [00:01:00] supported a number of different classified programs to field cutting edge space tech to ensure a us space superiority. Andrew came on to active duty in 2015 through an air force ROTC program at the university of Texas and held a variety of contracting and acquisition positions, including base level construction, commodities working with everyone from the United States, SOCOM special operations forces all the way through.

[00:01:34] Supporting the chief of contracting for special mission units in Afghanistan. Severin is a Colonel retired from the air force who over his 27 year career largely in acquisition, ended up working across the spectrum of contract and acquisition. [00:02:00] Centers. He ended his career as the director of contracting for air mobility command.

[00:02:08] He served as a three-time. He served three times as a commander deployed direct twice Qatar once ended up serving in the U S embassy in Copenhagen, in Denmark. And has spent some of his space time working on classified systems at Los Angeles air force base and ended up working for two years at the national reconnaissance office.

[00:02:33] Upon a severance retirement. He worked as the assistant vice president at the St. Louis federal reserve bank, where he worked in support of Treasury's invoice processing platform the federal government's largest invoicing system, other than the. Several and also work as a business Intel lead for space forces, rapid capabilities office and he was one of the early members of the [00:03:00] space RCO working as a senior acquisition advisor, helping develop some of those early acquisition strategies for the space for.

[00:03:08] Outside work, Severin enjoys a trail running with is a Siberian Husky cayenne, restoring British cars and playing the piano. It's it's exciting to have both of you here and let's let's get started.

[00:03:25] Alright, great to have you both here, Andrew and Severin it's it's really cool to be able to chat with you all you know, is you're looking at a different piece of. The space sector and coming at it from a angle that I will readily admit terrifies me. And you know, former army officer, you both were in the air force and anything around a contract.

[00:03:54] I ran. Away from, cause I was told that's the surest way to go to jail. [00:04:00] So I'm excited to have a chance to talk to you about, you know, what you've taken from that and brought into the space sector.

[00:04:08] Andrew Bossert: Yeah. Thank you for having us. We appreciate it. We're excited to talk to you about that. How, you know, how we took our careers as contracting officers and our experiences working with the space industry space community and parlayed that into co-founding space adviser.

[00:04:24] Tim Chrisman: Cool. Well, you know, when I want to give you a second to introduce a space advisory group, before we start jumping into some of the questions but that's a relatively new organization, isn't it?

[00:04:38] Andrew Bossert: It is. Yes. We seven and I co-founded space advisory group in December of 2021. Three months old. But thankfully we lend a lot of our.

[00:04:48] A lot of our skills and what we're doing from our experiences and our time on active duty of which I will be the first to admit Severn has way more experience and knowledge of this than I do. And I, and we make [00:05:00] a, I think a unique and a very complimentary partnership and, and kind of the service and the, the insights and foresights that we bring to the folks that we work with in the different organizations.

[00:05:13] Severin Blenkush: Yeah. Okay. So I'll, I'll probably know too until I I'm just a little bit older than Andrews. I appreciate that. So that, that does equate to some, some years of experience. And that's kind of the neat thing about space advisory group is that we've got. Very complimentary skillset. So I I retired from the air force after 27 years.

[00:05:33] And as Andrew said, I was in contracting that entire time did I followed some, some mentors around during that time and they were all about space and they got me out to Los Angeles where I did three years in classified programs, which was really. And then did one of the big no-nos in the air force.

[00:05:53] I did back-to-back green door assignments. I went out to the national reconnaissance office and did two years in Chantilly [00:06:00] and then followed that up with two years at Schriever in the ops side. And that really kind of cemented for me the importance of, of space and in what it actually brings to the, to the fight.

[00:06:15] Yeah, that was good. So space advisory group, we've got a little bit of the, the senior perspective. I also did, and I just wrapped up almost three years with the, with the space rapid capabilities office, where I was helping out with acquisition strategies and doing business Intel, which consistent of talking to a lot of the new companies, understanding what the government demand signal is and trying to make that match.

[00:06:41] That combined with, with Andrew's really hands-on approach to working the, the SBI, our small, just innovation research contracts. And STTR really is, has got the space on the brain. And there's so much potential and so much need for, for that new technology [00:07:00] and, and for policies to, to incorporate into bring that into the forefront of a lot of people.

[00:07:06] Oh, sure.

[00:07:07] Tim Chrisman: And you mentioned green door assignments. That's new to me. Is that basically what the air force calls space assignments?

[00:07:14] Severin Blenkush: So a great green door is, is the air force speak for classified assignments. Apparently at the personnel center, the, the door that's got 10 locks on it that controls all of the people that go to these classified assignments there's pain.

[00:07:28] Great. So, oh,

[00:07:29] Andrew Bossert: okay.

[00:07:30] Tim Chrisman: That makes sense. Yeah, there you go. All right. Well, cool. Yeah. Sounds like, you know, from, you know, the little you mentioned there about the backgrounds that this, this advisory group is, you know, the natural outcropping of that, you know, and you mentioned a little several and about, you know, how you got into space following this mentor.

[00:07:56] But, you know, your education [00:08:00] wasn't in space, was

[00:08:01] Severin Blenkush: it? Yeah, no. I graduated the air force academy with a management degree and that kind of suited me well for, for contracting. Management's kind of air force academy, speak for business school. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So understanding the acquisition part of it and working on, you know, small contracts, large contracts and, you know, major weapons system contracts Yeah, the S the space, it's the contracting.

[00:08:28] There is a different beast than, than your average based support contract or any other type of contract because of the time involved. So in an average air force assignment of, for years at a particular location might see you through one modification on a, on a major space system. Just the amount of time it takes for putting together.

[00:08:50] The, the requirements a and, but then actually performance it takes a long time to put those systems together and make sure that they are good to go because you get [00:09:00] one shot.

[00:09:01] Tim Chrisman: Well, yeah, no, that's a good point. And a lot of, you know, a lot of people know. Military space systems, billions of dollars, school, bus sized giant things up there.

[00:09:14] But how does that compare to normal contracting? Cause I would assume a lot of people, you know, they see, oh, the defense department has hundreds of billions of dollars. All of their contracts must be giant.

[00:09:31] Severin Blenkush: Okay. So contracting is contracting, you know, the, the, the far, the federal acquisition regulation is, is the overarching guidance. But again, putting together the strategy, putting together the incentives, putting together how you're going to judge the performance, that that is very different from. From the rest of DOD contracting union, it goes back to the, the high dollars involved, the, the high [00:10:00] risk of needing to get that, that mission assurance piece right.

[00:10:03] The first time. Cause again, you you've got one shot, but as soon as I say, you've got one shot. Now, now we're looking into the on orbit, service and manufacturing part of, of the space industry that could, could potentially be a game changer for. For a stuff that goes wrong and be for stuff that you might want to, to extend that life and, and, and get more mission capability out of something that, you know, maybe may have been planned for five years, maybe can stretch out to 10.

[00:10:31] So lots of potential moving forward.

[00:10:35] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And so when, when you were working on the contracting side, Andrew what was, what was your experience.

[00:10:44] Andrew Bossert: Yeah. So, so I had two recent experiences both at the operational level level. So supporting west coast space launch ops at Vandenberg.

[00:10:53] Supporting those launch operations from, from numerous perspectives. What we call an air force base [00:11:00] operational contracting went over to South Korea where I worked with special operations. So it took me away from space gave me a unique Viewpoint vantage point on how to do rapid acquisitions and working on kind of operational contract support.

[00:11:13] And then the air force threw me back into space at Los Angeles air force base again at a green door assignment doing classified acquisitions. And it was interesting to see how the larger programs, how they, they progress through acquisition strategies to getting on contract through.

[00:11:29] Solicitation process to fielding proposals, to doing the technical evaluation and bringing together the program management team, the developmental engineers, the finance folks bring everyone together to make sure the acquisition stays on track. And I think looking back and, and, and also reading through and hearing about how other acquisitions have gone at the systems level I think that's why we're seeing the space force and, and space command move towards buying buying items as a service buying [00:12:00] launch as a service, you know, space as a service debris removal as a service because that's a way to fast track the acquisition process.

[00:12:07] It's so. You're not necessarily buying an item and then having to maintain that. Now there are certain things that, that you'll see the space force will, will buy a, buy a product versus buy a service. But I think a lot of that has to do with the limited budgets, the sustainment pieces of that, and wanting to move fast, which you've heard from a lot of senior leaders wanting to move as quickly as possible.

[00:12:29] And the main roadblock that always gets brought up time, and again is either contracting or federal acquisition, right.

[00:12:36] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. And so, you know, based on the little, you guys have both talked about here with you know, the. Federal acquisition regulations, the contracting process. It almost sounds like the, the whole process is the pace it's at because there's a perception of you've got one shot and you've got to get everything right.

[00:12:59] And so that [00:13:00] slows everything down as you, we get into on orbit servicing more and more things offered as a service. Does that then. Essentially give space for us, the ability to work around or speed this up. Absent policy changes.

[00:13:19] Andrew Bossert: I don't think there's so much working around as it's using the prostates in place to your advantage.

[00:13:25] But what also has to happen is as a shift in culture, right? A shift in mindset of how do we take, how do we manage risk versus being risk averse? And so much of that is what plays into the acquisition process. I also think that the desire to go fast is because of the shift that you see. From the, from the highest levels of the department of defense, that we're no longer in this counter, violent extremist organization fight in the middle east.

[00:13:52] We're now shifting to near peer competition. We're seeing the importance of a SAR imagery coming out of different satellite constellations with what's [00:14:00] happening right now out in the Ukraine spaces becoming much more important and it's, it's playing a pivotal role in conflicts that are now.

[00:14:10] Potentially moving into the realm of, of near peer competition. Right. And and so I think those are the driving factors for wanting to go fast. Now it's just kind of changing the culture of, of always doing things a certain way or going through the acquisition process in a certain manner that suited maybe fielding the next fifth gen fighter fighter jet, but it doesn't suit fielding the next capability that we're going to put in this.

[00:14:39] Severin Blenkush: Yeah. I'd like to add to that two part. Part of the, you know, the, the mindset shift is also on the requirement side where, you know, Tim, you mentioned that the large exquisite systems, the, the architecture now a part of the whole protect and defend is not going to be about those exquisite systems that you could [00:15:00] take 10 years to build and could afford to have around for 10 years.

[00:15:03] So the, the mind shift in the requirements to more of a. Lower costs, higher production rate. And if you can afford to lose one or two of them, that that's okay, that that should be part of the equation. And also that mindset shift is towards the commercialization aspect that we don't have to build everything.

[00:15:23] We can go out to a commercial source and get data or get information that is part of an overall or overarching requirement. And for the requirements. Not to be afraid to accept a commercial solution. That might be a 95% of what they really need. Yeah,

[00:15:45] Tim Chrisman: no, and I mean, I think, you know, your. Really touching on something that, I mean, space force is doing a good job.

[00:15:53] Shifting its culture around is moving from this mindset of a satellites, the equivalent of an [00:16:00] aircraft carrier, where you have to protect it at all costs. If we lose it or we're doomed to more of a fighter jet mentality where it's like, yeah, that sucks. But So I think that's really useful and probably is going to end up making this whole acquisition process a lot easier.

[00:16:17] You know, when you all are talking about this risk appetite, where is it that that is coming from the, you know, limiting the risk in acquiring different or that 95% solution? Where does that coming from?

[00:16:35] Andrew Bossert: I would say that. So, so from a risk perspective, I think the large part, the, we, the culture has been to be risk averse to not take the risk, to go out and take a risk on a new technology that may or may not work out in the end, take a small risk.

[00:16:55] If it pays off, it's an exponential reward. If it fails, it fails. And we [00:17:00] just we've learned something from the process and we move on. To the next, you know, the next vendor, the next solution. And we feel that for the war fighter. I think that's one of the biggest takeaways I took from my time at the ghost program at SOCOM program that Abraham Gertz put in place was from his time at SOCOM was field a prototype.

[00:17:22] That's 60, 70, 80% solution. Get that downrange to the warfighter. I'll let them use it, see how it works, see how they break it and go right back and iterate on the tech and get it to the a hundred, a hundred percent solution. And that's kind of where you saw this innovation start was with within software.

[00:17:40] Was that iterative process of Kelsall. Ron is standing up a new way. Imp implementing software and the AOC that's out of value deed, and they put software programmers down at value deed to work with the folks that were in the AOC, and they were making updates to the software as the actual users using it.

[00:17:58] And that process [00:18:00] sped everything up. So it's, it's taking, there's a culture aspect of being risk averse, and then you see organizations like a castle run that went from being risk averse to mitigating risk and. That same process is something that we can apply all throughout the acquisition community to different apps, different acquisition programs, particularly in space.

[00:18:22] It's a great way. And you hear general DT Thompson. Talk about this. We don't need to deploy super elaborate and expensive satellites that if one goes down, the system's broken, let's put up a constellation of good satellites that if we lose one, the whole system is in broken. And that's a way to manage your risk.

[00:18:42] Severin Blenkush: Yeah. And senior leaders talk about fail early, fail fast as, as part of their risk posture. So I kind of hate to say this, but we need one example of somebody failing fast and not being crucified. Yeah. That, that will go a long way in setting a culture [00:19:00] of, okay, senior leaders are saying that they're willing to accept this and they really are

[00:19:06] Tim Chrisman: well.

[00:19:06] And I, you know, from the limited time I had, so I spent a couple of years on the joint staff is assistant to the chairman. And a lot of what I saw from the risk appetite, at least for OSD was From Congress, they didn't want to have to take a report to Congress and be like, eh, our bad. And so is, is there messaging on the part of Congress that can help with that?

[00:19:33] Other than the standard press releases that come out that say, we want space for us to move fast. We want DOD to be bad.

[00:19:44] Severin Blenkush: Yeah, no, nobody wants to take that first step and being, being the failure that that gets reported. But again, it goes back to you take examples of folks that have been highly successful in producing.

[00:19:58] The lot of them [00:20:00] didn't get it right the first time. Yeah. I think if we can produce a couple of very well known examples of, you know, so-and-so, didn't get it right the first time neither did we, but you know what, the next time we did and, and that if we can get that kind of messaging as part of the mindset of both leaders in the DOD and in the political side, That I think will enable us to, to take more risks and to take more chances and not be so afraid of being that guy or gal who failed, but you know, that guy or gal who might've failed once or twice, but then hit the home, run with respect to any type of technology or.

[00:20:46] Yeah,

[00:20:47] Tim Chrisman: my my wife gives me a hard time about telling bad jokes and I say, I mean, objectively, I tell way more good jokes than you. It's just my hit. Rate's about [00:21:00] 3%. So you're going to hear a hundred jokes

[00:21:04] and. She waits until she's got one good joke and says it I'm like I'm at three already. So like, it sounds like that sort of approach is exactly maybe not a 3% success, but at least. Faster and more failure than what we have now.

[00:21:22] Andrew Bossert: So if you could sum that up, sorry. I think you could sum that up by saying it's all about taking calculated risks, right?

[00:21:29] It's making sure you're communicating it, communicating your boss, making sure it's communicated. And especially if it's, if it's a large calculated risk, then you want the buy-in of senior leaders to provide you that. That's a great term that we love to use in the military is have top cover from your senior leaders.

[00:21:44] And the expectation should be that the senior leaders are, you know, if it's, if it's a big enough program, gaining enough attraction you know, they are articulating this through. Every, every services, legislative liaison office that they have on, on their, on the you know, for the air or for the air force, they [00:22:00] have the air staff and they have their staff LL office.

[00:22:02] And so it's, it's you get the buy in from Congress through, I think through those, those offices that are already stood up within each branch, providing the communication and, and that's what it comes down to is communicate, communicate where it's going what your, your ideas and your plans are. So. No, one's shocked if, if it, if it fails and no one is shocked, if it if it succeeds succeed, success should, you know, should be the expectation.

[00:22:26] And then if there's a failure, you learn from it, you document it, you share the, you know, what you learned. So, so other folks don't go down the same path and, and you progress with.

[00:22:34] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Rinse and repeat. Yeah. Yeah. So I wanted to pivot to talk a little bit about, you know, what is it that got you all interested in space?

[00:22:43] You know, we hear it's such a wide variety of stories ranging from. You know, I watched Carl Sagan growing up. I always knew I was going into space all the way through, like, I dunno how I got here. Just sort of showed up. What was it [00:23:00] like, you know, what was it that brought you to the space sector?

[00:23:03] Andrew Bossert: Sure. Yeah, so I so for me it was my, my two assignments, one at Vandenburg where I met A mentor, a good friend of mine who was at what was called the J Spock at the time now is the CCE box spent his entire career as a space operator. And he, he. Became a great mentor and is still a mentor and a friend to today.

[00:23:23] At the time, as, as a second Lieutenant, I was going to apply for a program at the air force had in place, which was space, space, acquisition education program, where someone in the acquisition Corps could go be a space operator for four years and then go back that didn't pan out because the air force sent me to to Korea.

[00:23:37] But then, you know, what that did do is it led me to a follow on a second. Los Angeles air force base space and missile center now called space systems command and the special programs office and just the fascination around space and where things were headed is been, you know, and then realizing that there was just a booming space economy outside of the military and at the time air force, space command and wanting to help [00:24:00] these, these founders that were developing.

[00:24:05] Innovative technology to impact the space community in a positive light. That was, that had both commercial and military application, but they just didn't understand how to navigate federal acquisition regulation. I never thought when I joined the air force that having an economics finance accounting background, coupled with contracting and acquisition background would be valuable.

[00:24:25] In tandem. And I was shocked when I separated and came to find out that there were a lot of really smart engineers developing really cool technology that, that wanted to talk to someone like me. And and it, it, it really got me excited and it's what led me to reach out to Severn and co-found space advisory group.

[00:24:45] So I'll pause there. Yeah.

[00:24:48] Severin Blenkush: So again, I mentioned some, some mentors of mine pulled me into space when I was a captain and you know, those, those familiar with military careers. Now, you, you can't do one thing the entire [00:25:00] time if you're going to be around for a while. So I did, you know, seven years of, of purely space-related both on the acquisition and the operational side, and then was away from.

[00:25:12] Doing, you know, other air force type things, but everything else that I did in the air force had a tie to space, everything. So it kind of in the back of my mind was wow, that that cross cutter across so many missions is so important. And when I had the chance to get back to the space rabbit capabilities off.

[00:25:35] I jumped on it because understanding the day, the need to go fast, to be an organization that was stood up specifically to do that, and then see how important everything is all, all the other things relating to space. And in that, you know, like, like Andrew said, somebody with a business degree is going to be able to contribute to space because it's not just about [00:26:00] engineering.

[00:26:01] Building and designing stuff. There is a lot of thought that goes into applications of that stuff. There is a lot of technology that's developed outside of space that is directly applicable to space as well. And sometimes it takes somebody with imagination, you know, maybe, maybe you know, somebody who's into video games to, to connect dots on what can be used and what, what the is going to benefit the overall space.

[00:26:26] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, you're right. N you know, we've seen for decades, the space, sector's been engineers and rocket scientists. And now we need a lot more than just that I guess we even need accountants.

[00:26:42] Andrew Bossert: So this doesn't the consulting gig. Doesn't work out. I'll, I'll revert back to get a job.

[00:26:48] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, but so. You mentioned a little bit about, you know, you both were talking about this desire to help companies navigate the acquisition [00:27:00] process. And so, you know, can you talk a little bit about space advisory group?

[00:27:04] You know, what, what is it that makes it different? What, what was it and how was it formed?

[00:27:14] Andrew Bossert: Yeah. So, so, first base advisory group is a boutique advisory firm working with both startups in the, in the space industry. As well as startups who are developing technology outside of the space industry, but have a touch point.

[00:27:28] The US-based force or US-based command. We also work with government agencies nonprofits venture capital firms and helping link this entire ecosystem that has really popped up around the advent of what is now the U S space force and US-based command and their desire to be the first, all digital force.

[00:27:47] So, so we, for, for our clients that are developing technology, developing solutions they are startups that have raised venture capital or private funding. And we help them navigate federal acquisition [00:28:00] regulation through finding those early non-dilutive opportunities with the federal. That could be through the cyber center process, but it's, we're not solely focused on their, and we're not solely focused with Africa and space works.

[00:28:11] We do work with NASA, with DHS department of energy department of commerce, all of these organizations that are opening up. Commercial solutions, openings opening broad agency announcements putting out solicitations for OTAs and other funding avenues to start start bringing in new technology into their day to day operations.

[00:28:33] What our real focus is is transitioning that technology, getting companies, helping. Leverage this ever instead our process, but not stay in that process. Get through it quickly, develop your technology, strategize about how you go through that process. So it's in conjunction with when you're going to raise private funding on the outside develop your commercial line of business so that you can then [00:29:00] make that jump across the quote unquote valley of death.

[00:29:03] Get out of the silver program and get onto an OT. And start, start on your way to a program of record, either as a prime or as a sub to a prime. And that's really kind of what we, we kind of charted ourselves to get after when we founded co-founded space advisory group.

[00:29:22] Tim Chrisman: So before we go, I just want to make sure OTA verse prime contracts, what's the difference.

[00:29:29] And we can go to use it and then come back and answer the question. So.

[00:29:34] Severin Blenkush: I say the only thing I wanted to add to what Andrew was saying is the, the perspective of how and where a, an individual technology might fit into the bigger picture is something else that, that we definitely bring to, to, to our, our clients in that, you know, a lot of folks that have the great ideas are so focused on that great idea that they, they, you know, kind of like forest for the trees kind of thing.

[00:29:59] They might lose [00:30:00] sight of where and how that is going to be applied. And. You know, through, through all of the experience that we've got in the various offices in, in listening to all of the pitches and understanding the requirements, you know, from a very early onset, it gives us the perspective to advise on how and where that technology.

[00:30:22] Tim Chrisman: That makes sense. That makes sense. Yeah. And sounds like that perspective is particularly useful in this early stage technology piece.

[00:30:33] Severin Blenkush: Absolutely.

[00:30:34] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, but so getting back to OTAs versus prime contracts SBI are pretty well known. What, what is the difference between, you know, the sort of regular contract versus OTA?

[00:30:49] Andrew Bossert: So from my perspective, my experience the other transactional agreement allows for that continued research and development to occur. It allows companies to continue to iterate on their [00:31:00] technology. Sometimes you'll see it through a cross share where the government says. Put up 5 million and you're going to cover the other 5 million from private funding.

[00:31:07] And we're, you know, in 24 months, we want to get to a place where we can then award you a, a sole sole source full rate production contract. So OTA is just a, it's a mechanism to have a small business or any business that is able to do business with the federal government on contract. To continue performing research and development initiatives, a prime contract.

[00:31:28] I would say a prime contract or is the, the contractor who holds, who has been awarded the contract from the federal government. And so, so typically you would think of an ID IQ a, it could be a standalone FAR-based contract. Et cetera. And, and I'll let Severn, you know, dive in again with, with a lot more expertise there.

[00:31:47] He can you can definitely go more in depth on that.

[00:31:51] Severin Blenkush: Yeah. So what you've mentioned, Tim, or just different vehicles that, you know, tools in the toolbox, if you [00:32:00] to use an overused phrase, but yeah. And some of those tools are more applicable to, to the startup companies, to the non traditional, because they don't have the, the requirements like the OTA that was mentioned.

[00:32:14] It doesn't have any of the like cost accounting standard requirements that a FAR-based. Wood. And most of these young companies don't have those types of established accounting systems in place. And for the contract, you know, a fixed price where, you know, here's 10 bucks go build me a widget. It's those, the OTAs is totally appropriate for that type of, of an action.

[00:32:39] And part of the, the mindset we talked about earlier is getting acquisition professionals and program managers. Comfortable with using some of the, the, the newer and lesser used vehicles that might be more appropriate for a particular acquisition.

[00:32:55] Tim Chrisman: Oh, okay. Okay. That makes sense. And yeah, no, I'm.[00:33:00]

[00:33:00] I spent most of my life in government. And so I'm just now learning that what I think of as accounting is not generally accepted. And it's been a process. It's a

[00:33:12] Andrew Bossert: pain, again, it all comes back to

[00:33:17] Tim Chrisman: it's terrifying.

[00:33:20] Andrew Bossert: I'll add, I'll add onto what. But what we found that part of what we S we, we set out to work with the nonprofits where work with the venture capitalists worked with industry for as much time as we spend doing that. We have also spent a lot of time. Educating the government end users and customers on these different mechanisms that are available to themselves.

[00:33:44] So socializing app works in space, works CIBER sitter, tack by strapped by programs to end users who have maybe have heard of it or know of it, but don't know where to get the resources to get smart on it. Socializing with our clients and with government end users that [00:34:00] they're contracting shop can award a company.

[00:34:03] Can award a sole source contract to a company who has been a word of phase one CIBER. Due to, you know, different policy directives that have been put out and the, the exceptions, the competition. So as much time as we're spending, working with organizations outside the government that want to do business with the government, or want to spur innovation in the space industry, we're also spending a lot of time working with different organizations within space force, within AFRL, on AFL CMC and within, in space command, helping them under.

[00:34:34] You know, again, for lack of a better term or an overused term, what tools they have in their toolbox to use, to, to start integrating this technology.

[00:34:42] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, and I, and oftentimes that's probably the harder of the two jobs. It was some of my best friends in the military were logisticians. And it was because they knew all of those hidden places that they had authorities.[00:35:00]

[00:35:00] I'm like, wow, you are a great, I'm like, no, everybody can do this. I'm like, everybody doesn't do this.

[00:35:09] Yeah. Well, what makes space, advisory group different? Cause the way you describe it, it. There's a lot of consulting groups that help navigate whether it's the CIBER process, other acquisition process. But you know, as I've talked with you all over the past couple months, you set out to make something different.

[00:35:31] And so how is it? The space advisory group is different.

[00:35:37] Severin Blenkush: So part of that is the, the complementary skill sets that we bring. We've got one, one member with a little more senior perspective who has been involved in requirements, generation and acquisition strategy planning, and working with the folks who have those pain points, who have those end use needs combine that with somebody who is [00:36:00] very fresh on the nuts and bolts.

[00:36:03] Making sure that everything that is submitted is going to satisfy all of the requirements that are put forth with documentation in mind, and then also having the sole or major focus upon the space industry. You know, so that's, that's what we know, that's what we're passionate about and that's what we're going to continue to help people navigate.

[00:36:27] And I'll let Andrew finish off with his thoughts.

[00:36:33] Andrew Bossert: We aren't. Yeah. As much as we do want to get the latest and greatest technology into the hands of the space operators, space warfighters we do want to work with those companies that are the best of the best that had the most viable potential of fielding or producing a technology that is going to be a game changer on the global stage.

[00:36:57] You know, in, in terms of who we want to work [00:37:00] with, we are, we are selective. So as much as organizations, both nonprofits and research institutions and VCs and, and just industry partners that want to work with us that are interviewing us, why should they work for space advisory group we're intern interviewing them?

[00:37:14] We do that because we want to make sure that we are working with folks that again, are going to drive the U S. The space force and US-based command to be above and beyond the best space force in the world. Right. And we want to make sure that. As we were working with the best clients, we want to make sure that we're upholding their reputations and working with us and who we associate ourselves with.

[00:37:44] And we also want to make sure that we're doing a service to the government and users and customers that we work with. So we want to make sure that when we reach out to. Someone within the space force, they go, Hey, space advisory group. They brought us X, Y, and Z that produced [00:38:00] this capability. Last time we need to, we need to listen to whoever, you know, they're bringing to us this time because this could be another game changer of technology.

[00:38:07] And so I think that's what separates us is we're not willing to work with anyone who's going to, you know, has the funding to pay us, to pay for, for our services. We, we truly want to work with the best folks and we're willing to do our own due diligence to make sure that the folks we are working and working with and representing to the U S government are going to be, be providing a product, a service of value to the space force in space.

[00:38:32] Yeah,

[00:38:33] Tim Chrisman: no, that's cool. And that I think is a really useful differentiator. Especially when you're talking with the government client, being able to say, you know, where your, your first-line filter ends up helping them. And so therefore helps your clients So, you know, as we're getting towards the end here, a lot of things we talk about on the podcast or, you know, challenges worth doing you know, from what we've talked [00:39:00] about, this whole process sounds incredibly challenging to me.

[00:39:02] But what is it that gets you up in the morning? What's that challenge that you're. You know, if, if you're able to surmount it, you're like, this is, you know, we've done good.

[00:39:17] Severin Blenkush: Okay. So challenge. Yeah. Getting up in the morning, you don't, you don't spend an entire career serving the country and then just wake up the next day and say, I don't care. So a large part of what motivates me. Wanting to be the best. And we are going to be enablers. A space advisory group is, are, is going to enable the U S to remain that, that predominant space, power, both commercially and militarily.

[00:39:52] Andrew Bossert: Yeah. And I would add for, for me, what gets me excited to get up in the morning and work with. Different organizations and clients [00:40:00] we have is as much as they are building a business because the startups we're working with are, are going through their fundraising. They're finding commercial clients, we're helping them find clients and customers on the DOD side.

[00:40:11] You know, sever and I are trying to build a base advisory group as well. And. Having the potential to work with someone who, who could be the next space, X could be the next big Space contractor that that brings a crazy and unique technology. Like having reusable rockets that that 20 years ago was a thought it was a dream.

[00:40:35] 20 years ago, folks might not even have known what space. I think space X was founded 20 years. I think it was 2002. They were founded. So probably very few people knew what it was. But it's the excitement of knowing that one of the companies we're working with could be the next space X or all of them could.

[00:40:48] And knowing that we kind of had a part in, in, in helping them on that journey is what excites me and seeing the excitement they get, as they're talking about their technology to the end user and the customers [00:41:00] that we connect them with, you know, that gets me excited because their energy feeds our energy.

[00:41:06] As we're trying to build this and bring more folks in and connect more dots for the community. And it's just this. So a lot of really good energy from a lot of really great folks and really smart folks that we work with. And that's every single day is something new. And, and that's what it makes, it makes us a lot of fun.

[00:41:22] I mean, we, every, every, you know, we, we sync up multiple times throughout the day and Again for, for using another overused military term, it's like the vector check. Are you still having fun? Yeah, I'm having five. Let's keep going. Yeah,

[00:41:37] Tim Chrisman: no, that's awesome. And it was great having you both on here. Is there anything we missed that we didn't talk about?

[00:41:46] Andrew Bossert: No, I think I, I think we covered everything. I appreciate it. I appreciate Tim having us on and, and excited to, to continue working together and, and especially seeing where, where your effort and on the legislative side goes. It's, [00:42:00] it's an exciting time to be working in the space industry and, and seeing the, just the rapid change that's happening.

[00:42:07] Severin Blenkush: Yeah. Yeah, glad that.

[00:42:11] Tim Chrisman: Alright. Well, thanks for coming on and look forward to seeing you out there.

[00:42:15] Andrew Bossert: Sounds like.

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