In Memoriam: APTAC’s Becky Peterson

Small government contractors lost an important ally last week–and many of us lost a great friend.

Becky Peterson, the longtime Interim Executive Director of the Association of Procurement Technical Centers, passed away on Thursday.  Her legacy lives on in the amazing network of PTACs across the country.

I first met Becky a number of years ago, when she and the APTAC leadership team took a chance, and invited a little-known government contracts associate to give a breakout session at the APTAC national conference.  Many conferences later, Becky’s amazing blend of professionalism and kindness always stood out.  “You’re family here,” she would tell me, giving me a hug.  Then she’d pivot into a nuanced issue affecting small contractors, discussing how her PTAC counselors could best make a difference.

Becky strongly believed in the mission of PTACs: to provide government contractors (mostly small businesses) with individualized counseling services, training and assistance in pursuing, winning and successfully performing government contracts.  Working with a network of nearly 650 procurement counselors nationwide, Becky sought to arm her team with the information they needed to best counsel their clients.  But more than that: she and the APTAC leadership team always emphasized the importance of ethics and compliance, helping make sure that PTAC clients were counseled on much more than just the nuts and bolts of the contracting process.

She fought hard for her organization, working to raise its profile on Capitol Hill and ensure that it continues to receive much-needed political support (and funding).  And she didn’t stop fighting: just a few weeks ago, even while she battled illness, she was in Oklahoma helping organize the Indian Country Business Summit.  I am heartbroken to know that was the last time I’ll see her.

You shouldn’t feel bad if you didn’t know Becky’s name.  She wasn’t one to seek the spotlight for herself.  Her focus was on PTACs, and all the wonderful things they do for contractors around the country.  In fact, if she could read this post, she’d probably say something like, “that’s very sweet, but enough about me–please remind your readers of the free PTAC counseling they can get right in their own backyards.”

If you haven’t connected with your PTAC, there’s no time like now.  Visit the APTAC website to find your local PTAC and schedule an appointment.  I think you’ll be impressed with the organization Becky helped build and run.

Those of us who knew Becky will miss her dearly.  And those who didn’t will feel the positive effects of her hard work for years to come.