How experts got involved in capture and proposals – and what keeps them coming back: Part 1 of 3

Ask anyone working in the capture or proposal profession how they got started in this “crazy” business (check out my “war stories” blog series), and you’ll get a different answer every time.

There’s often an underlying theme in each response, though – most  folks never intended to become a capture/proposal professional.

Once someone becomes immersed in this profession, however, a number of factors keep them coming back for more “excitement” year after year.

I asked a number of colleagues how they got started in capture/proposals – and what keeps them coming back for more. Here are their responses.

  • Necessity to grow my company. It’s swim or sink in the federal business. Over time I realized that to grow we need to be A+ at capture/proposal, so it has become our #2 priority – only behind serving our customers. –Hamid Moinamin, President, Inserso
  • A friend of a friend asked if I was available to develop graphics on a large proposal. I said, “Yes” – even though I didn’t know what a proposal was. We worked crazy hours and ate a lot of delivery. In the end, we helped deliver an amazing product. I returned home tired and weak from lack of sleep. One week later I found that I missed the faster-than-normal pace and interdependence needed to deliver a proposal, so I volunteered to help again. Flash forward 14+ years and I love what I do for the following reasons: I am challenged every day; I get to pursue becoming a guru in our industry; I have relative autonomy; my work has purpose bigger than myself (I get to work with teams and help others achieve their goals); and I make enough money that I don’t worry about money. –Mike Parkinson, Principal, 24 Hour Company
  • I’ve never been one to think INSIDE the box, and love to know the “why?” of things, so competitive intelligence was a natural fit – and every day, I get to study a new technology, or a new approach, or a new strategy, or a new… It’s fun, it’s intellectually stimulating, and it’s profitable! –Randy Richter, President, Richter & Company
  • For those of us who enjoy creating documents, the proposal world offers the motivation to deliver the most effective documents we can with every competition. And, being part of a winning team several times a year is extremely gratifying, especially when the work is for the benefit of the country. –David C. Hilnbrand, Principal Consultant, DC Proposal Services, LLC
  • I learn something new every day. –Brenda Crist, APMP Fellow and Principal Consultant at Lohfeld Consulting Group
  • I “fell in” from several senior operations assignments in which the primary concern is always, “How do we win the re-compete?” and “How can we use this experience to expand into other opportunities?” What has kept me coming back is the challenge inherent in matching my client’s capabilities to the target opportunity and helping to frame a convincing and competitive “winning” response. –Maury Sweetin, Capture Manager/Proposal Manager/Red Team Captain/Volume Lead, Lohfeld Consulting Group
  • I started as an artist because I heard you could make more money if you could do proposal art (I was a starving artist at the time, so more sounded good – regardless of the hours). I worked my way up through the ranks (coordinator, proposal manager, director of proposals, orals coach) because I love the proposal cycle – beginning, middle, end. Well, sometimes throw an extension in there. I was very fortunate to be able to support and watch many of the best orals coaches in the business and how their teams reacted to them. I keep coming back because I love making a difference in people’s lives and their wallets. Coaching and managing proposals allows me to do both. –Ben Rowland, Orals Coach
  • I woke up one day and realized that all my best friends and most valued professional contacts were people I had worked with on proposals. It is still true to this day. –Wendy Frieman, APMP Fellow and Principal Consultant, Lohfeld Consulting Group

How did you get started in capture/proposals? What keeps you in the game? Send an email to me at with your thoughts, and I’ll share your insights in upcoming posts!