After two decades working in business development for the nuclear industry, Darren Shank decided to stop chasing down Department of Energy dollars and instead make it easier for others to find contracts.
“This industry is overwhelming with procurement data from RFPs (Requests for Proposals) to the key intelligence you need to win work,” said Shank, who started theEDGE with his wife, Kelsey, in January. “The software system we built was geared around all of the things required to be successful in business development capture, the key attributes to win DOE business, that we would have liked to have had in one location. We wanted to provide a tool that would bring business opportunities to all business sizes to help grow their business.”
In March, Kelsey came on full time as the couple officially launched their product to the public at the Waste Management Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. At the event, they showcased their software, which tracks hundreds of data points every hour, analyzing, sorting and putting the information into a platform that’s easy for users to filter and find jobs that suit their needs.
“For example, the DOE or one of their major prime contractors will release an RFP from one of their environmental management or national laboratory sites, but there is not a central location where opportunities are posted,” said Shank, adding, “theEDGE solves this problem, plus brings key information related to business intelligence, news, budget data and contractor details.”
With theEDGE, Shank said the software identifies opportunities for businesses of all sizes. It tracks DOE news, including contract awards, updates and budget information and pulls the data into one location. Business opportunities can be filtered to include criteria such as job size, scope and experience needed. Jobs can also be sorted by classification like woman-owned or minority-owned business. Additionally, clients can customize their dashboards specific to an area, such as Hanford or Savannah River.
“The DOE’s budget this next year is about $35 billion, and we track every DOE procurement dollar from staff augmentation, to first-of-a kind high-level waste treatment, to a major prime procurement,” Darren Shank said.
Kelsey Shank said the software can be accessed on a computer, tablet or through theEDGE’s app. The owners hired a Washington-based company to develop the software with one of the main criteria: make it easy to use.
“It’s extremely user friendly. I even tested it on my dad, and he’s not tech savvy,” she said. “Once I get someone set up in theEDGE, we go through and do a very detailed presentation with the customer. A lot of them are not in town and we do those presentations through a webinar. We wanted it to be as simple as possible to use.”
Local customers can learn about theEDGE in person at their office at 710 George Washington Way in Suite G. Although theEDGE is based in Richland—the heart of Hanford contractors—most of the company’s clients are not from the Tri-Cities, as many contractors are headquartered elsewhere.
“A majority of the major prime contractors in the DOE are using our system. We have clients throughout the United States and Europe,” said Darren Shank, adding that they spend time traveling to conferences and networking to ensure they bring the latest information about DOE to their customers.
Business owners interested in the system don’t have to sign up right away, Darren Shank said. Potential clients can sign up for a free five-day trial, although he notes that 95 percent of people who try out the system continue using theEDGE. After the trial period is over, customers pay a monthly fee to use the system. Monthly memberships are annual and run $499 for a small business and $799 for large businesses.
Companies also can acquire additional memberships at a reduced rate. Small businesses can add an additional user for $99 per subscription, and large businesses can add another user for $499 per subscription.
“We have some people who just have one membership and others who have more. One large company we work with has six memberships,” Shank said. “You can’t go hire a person for $799 to do the work theEDGE does. You’d need a support team of probably 10 to acquire and update the information.”
The Shanks said even though the product is less than a year old, they’ve received great feedback from customers that fits with their mission to make finding jobs less of a headache and more of a reality.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You’re saving me time and it’s a great tool,’ ” Darren Shank said. “But when someone says, ‘I’ve found something I didn’t know about and I won it,’ that’s the best type of feedback we receive.”
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!