“How did you get started in capture/proposals?” is a question often asked when meeting new colleagues at a conference, seminar, meeting, or around a war room conference table.
Answers vary from person to person and company to company, but most often practitioners became “accidental” capture or proposal professionals and discovered they love the excitement, colleagues, and “thrill of victory.”
I asked a number of colleagues from small to large businesses how they got started in capture/proposals – and what keeps them coming back for more. Here are their responses.
- I fell into proposals when I was a programmer years ago. The company found out that I could write well and asked me to contribute to the technical approach on a proposal. As I moved from programmer to technical lead to project manager to program manager and finally director, I have continued to gain experience with capture and proposals as part of my other responsibilities. When I retired 9 years ago, I decided that I wanted to continue to work in a consulting capacity, and proposal management was a great fit. What keeps me coming back proposal after proposal and year after year is that I always learn something new when I work a proposal and that keeps it exciting. –Margie Regis, Proposal Manager, Management Resources Group
- I continue to learn something new every day, and it’s never dull! –Kristin Pennypacker, Principal Consultant, Lohfeld Consulting Group
- I chose this career because it fits me like a glove. I love the intellectual stimulation of working on a wide variety of subject matters; the rigor and discipline of creating compliant bids; the pleasure of working with many of America’s best companies and with bright, interesting, hard-working subject matter experts; and the sense of concrete achievement that comes from turning in a good proposal and, more often than not, of winning. What’s not to like?! –Marty Williamson, Proposal Manager
- My first post-MBA job was as a system analyst for a large system integrator (AMS now CGI). After a year or so, I discovered that managing a team of DB2 programmers was not for me. My manager thought I had good writing skills and encouraged me to assist with proposal writing. We won the first proposal I worked on. A number of successful proposals followed in the manufacturing, association, and telecommunications industries. I eventually ran capture and proposal for a blockbuster pursuit that led to one of the largest contracts in the history of the company. A few years later, Deloitte Consulting hired me to grow their telecommunications practice. It was a dream job with a high profile, high pay, big bonuses, and a fancy office. Unfortunately, I was the first director/partner laid off as a result of the telecom industry crash.
It took a number of years to recover from the crushing blow of being laid off from a dream job. With luck, timing, and hard work, I ended up starting my own successful company. As I look back over the last 10 years, the Deloitte Consulting layoff was a blessing in disguise. The variety of customers, solutions, people, work locations, schedule flexibility, and compensation make it easy to come back for more every single day. –Chris Simmons, Principal, Rainmakerz Consulting, LLC
- I had worked on bids as a program and product manager, and it was a logical next step to get out of product management. I did not know until 3 months later that I was going to LOVE the work. I love the fast pace, the continuous learning about the products and services, and that every project has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Celebrating the wins with the teams keeps me coming back for over 12 years! –Deborah Brooks, Sr. Regional Bid Manager, TATA Communications
- I was a line program manager who could write – and folks just kept asking me to work proposals. When I decided I needed a change, my firm moved me to a team that was institutionalizing capture and proposal processes to help build the corporate processes. I just love the strategy, the challenge of winning, and the adrenalin associated with getting a proposal through the process. –Brooke Crouter, 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 BWingate@LohfeldConsulting.com with your thoughts, and I’ll share your insights in upcoming posts!