CIRAS Helps Small Business Land More than $329K in Government Contracts

Jeanie Waters
Jeanie Waters

From the beginning, when Jeanie Waters launched 3rd Degree Screening in Council Bluffs in 2012, she knew that its success would require both commercial and government contracts. Waters, whose company provides background checks, drug tests, and field investigation services for clients worldwide, turned to CIRAS for help with the government part.

“The overall value [of CIRAS] is in learning the process and having educated support throughout,” Waters said. “You keep building on what you know and you build off your CIRAS representative.”

Waters’ business landed its first government contract within eight months of submitting its first proposal. As of today, government business has totaled more than $329,000. One of those contracts is set to double in the next month, and another contract has been extended.

Waters believes her company’s government contracting success partly stems from the tools and advice CIRAS provided regarding the company’s capability statement. CIRAS critiqued the company’s original draft and shared tips about what contracting officers are looking for in vendors.

CIRAS provided a template to create a cleaner and more professional-looking presentation of the business and helped Waters identify what information should be included, such as a company description, bullet points of key differentiators, geographic coverage of services offered, and affiliations.

“I follow the flow of the original layout, tweaking the capabilities statement and responses to fit each proposal,” Waters said. This allows her to focus on key aspects “rather than getting overwhelmed with all the details.”

CIRAS also helped Waters realize that her business—although growing steadily—qualified for the State of Iowa’s Targeted Small Business (TSB) certification as a woman-owned business. Waters has secured this state certification and has received her federal certification from the SBA as an economically disadvantaged woman owned small business, which will open even more government contracting opportunities for her company.

“What CIRAS teaches isn’t just for government work,” Waters said. “You can cross over what you learn to the commercial side, too. I have seen the process come to fruition.”

Try this article for more tips on building a capability statement.

> For more information about contracting, e-mail Andy Alexander at or 402-547-0333.


This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of CIRAS News. You can find the rest of this issue and more of CIRAS News on our website.