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Session Description

Incumbent vs. Challenger: Who Has the Edge?

We surveyed APMP members and asked them to answer our most pressing questions from two perspectives. First, as an incumbent bidding on a recompete. Then as a challenger trying to unseat the current contractor. For example, what are the primary reasons incumbent lose, and how can you prevent them? How do you avoid the “curse of the incumbent”? As challenger, how do you solve the incumbent’s weakness, mitigate their strengths, eliminate client concerns about transition, and create a compelling reason to change? From either perspective, how do you propose innovation without introducing risk? Move beyond the basics as we battle it out “Family Feud” style. You’ll leave with solid strategies to ensure you win all of your recompetes. As challenger, make informed bid/no bid decisions when trying to unseat a competitor incumbent, and increase your probability of winning new opportunities. This session promises to be informative and entertaining!

Presenter Bios


Robin Ritchey

Robin Ritchey is an independent consultant specializing in needs assessment and training to apply capture and proposal best practices. Her training sessions are fast-paced, relevant, and fun! Feedback from more than 400 participants indicates 99% of attendees felt the class met stated objectives, and 99.5% said the class was a valuable use of their time. Robin presented Persuasive Writing at the APMP International Conferences and Southern Proposal Accents Conference (SPAC) in 2013, and has presented other topics at both forums numerous times. She is published in the APMP Journal and holds a Master in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Prior to striking out on her own, Robin developed and implemented a best practice capture model doubling RTI International’s capacity to win strategic bids. She also served as senior proposal manager supporting more than 100 proposals annually. Previously, she helped transform a commercial sales unit from a regulated monopoly to a competitive business.


David Sotolongo, CPP APMP Fellow
Vice President of Business Development
RTI International

David Sotolongo, CPP APMP Fellow, is vice president of Development at RTI International. He also manages RTI’s multi-media communications group. David has presented at various APMP conferences, including the Generation Gap at Work, Science of Happiness, 10 Rules for Dating My Proposal Manager, the Walking Capture, and many other topics related to capture and proposal management. He currently serves as the chair of APMP’s Procurement Improvement Committee. He is actively involved in protecting RTI’s strategic incumbencies and positioning for incumbency thefts.

Amy Mills, CP APMP
Director of Proposals for Government Services
ICON Clinical Research

Amy Shende Mills, CP APMP, is Director of Proposals for Government Services at ICON Clinical Research where she was hired to help this successful commercial company grow their government business. Prior to joining ICON, she served as Deputy Director of RTI International’s Proposal Development Office and has more than 20 years' proposal and group management, research, and training experience. She trains internal staff on best practices and manages proposal and capture teams. Ms. Mills has presented at both internal and external training sessions and at the APMP international conference. In addition to instructor-led training sessions, she is currently developing iLearn training sessions for staff at ICON.

Kristin Dufrene, CPP APMP Fellow
Vice President, Proposal Development

Kristin Dufrene, an APMP member since 1995, has served on the APMP Board as Chief Operating Officer and 2017 Chief Executive Officer. She has 27 years of Federal Procurement capture and proposal experience. Kristin has led joint Industry-Federal initiatives, including the Procurement Improvement Committee, the Federal Procurement Community, and the Government-Industry Acquisition Task Force. Kristin is VP of Proposal Development at Engility where she manages a large proposal organization.

Meg Dwyer, CF APMP
Director, Proposal Center
SAS Institute Inc.

Meg Dwyer, CF APMP, is Director of Bid Management for SAS Institute Inc. (SAS) and has grown the function and focus of the organization over the last 16 years. Meg approaches challenges with curiosity, asking the questions that lead to the best-told stories. She is focused on building high-functioning, cohesive teams that are results-driven. She coaches proposal, capture, sales and technical teams to success. Meg is a former member of the APMP International Board, served as the chair of the Chapter Liaison Committee and currently serves as co-chair of the APMP Carolinas chapter and co-chair of the Southern Proposal Accents Conference (SPAC).

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