Entrepreneur launches free bid leads Web sites

Tim Loncarich

Tim Loncarich

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Tim Loncarich has been involved in the procurement process from both sides in searching for government and business contracts and compiling information about those contracts for others.

But the serial entrepreneur and former Grand Junction resident hopes to expand the process to a far larger scale in making bid leads available through national, state and industry specific Web sites — for free, no less.

Loncarich said he wants to not only help more businesses take advantage of potentially lucrative contracts to provide goods and services, but also bring additional transparency to the procurement process and at the same time curb corruption.

Loncarich created the North America Procurement Council (NAPC) as a social enterprise project for Bid Ocean, a company he founded that compiles and publishes bids, tenders and requests for proposals and quotes from public and private sources around the world.

Founded in Grand Junction as a public benefit corporation, the NAPC operates more than 100 free Web sites through which businesses can find bid leads, classified advertisements and news for their countries and states as well as their industries.

Loncarich said he expects to complete paperwork on July 4 giving ownership of the United States Web site located at
www.AmericasBiz.net to the people of the U.S. Ownership of www.coloradobids.net and other state portals similarly will be transferred to the people of those states, he said. The NAPC will continue to administer the Web sites until new administrators are put in place.

Under the current arrangement, Bid Ocean supplies bid leads and other information to various NAPC Web sites in exchange for advertising. But Loncarich said he hopes to fund NAPC operations through sponsors that advertise on the sites, donations of money and labor and subscriptions to advanced features.

The NAPC constitutes a kind of exit strategy, Loncarich said. “I don’t want to sell bid leads forever.”

At the same time, he said he wants to make sure customers continue to receive the information they need. Moreover, he said he wants to accomplish something significant in promoting business opportunities along with  greater transparency in the government procurement process.

Loncarich lives in Canada and oversees the operations of a total of five companies in three countries that employ a total of more than 160 people in seven countries.

Loncarich said he’s been an entrepreneur since he was a child, first raising rare tropical fish and then buying and selling finds from flea markets. He also followed his father and grandfather into the utility contracting business and worked in pipeline construction.

While working in the construction industry, he sought ways to track down leads for government and business contracts. He subsequently expanded the effort to serve all types of contractors and then made the bid leads available online.

Loncarich launched Bid Ocean with just $20,000, but said he’s been able to expand the operation and fare well despite the ongoing difficulty of obtaining the information from thousands of government agencies and going against several large corporate competitors.

Through the NAPC, bid leads, classified ads and other information is now made available through more than 100 free and open access Web sites. The sites publish a total of more than 700,000 bid leads annually with a combined contract value of more than $1.5 trillion, Loncarich said.

The NAPC Web sites reach more than 300,000 users a month and attract a total of more than 1 million unique visitors a year, he said.

NAPC also has rolled out improved electronic procurement systems designed to enable government agencies to more easily enter data and provide information about their solicitations, bid documents and contract awards.

The goal, Loncarich said, is to provide free and open access to procurement solicitations from all federal, state and local government agencies as well as provide businesses and  private organizations a venue in which to publish their solicitations.

In the process, he said he hopes to help businesses land more contracts and in turn stimulate local and national economies, streamline  procurement processes and reduce costs and waste.

Making procurement more transparent will help to keep track of how government spends money and expose corrupt officials who seek to enrich themselves, he said. “We can turn the spotlight on the cockroaches.”

Reducing political corruption in the United States could in turn help to preserve democracy in country he said is fast becoming an oligarchy.

For more information about the North America Procurement Council, visit www.napc.pro. For bid listings in the United States and Colorado, www.AmericasBiz.net and www.coloradobids.net.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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