Original Post Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dude, Where’s my Stimulus?
If you turn on the news or open the newspaper, you will definitely come across an item about the stimulus package. Obviously, there will be much debate to come over the price tag for the initiative. But I wanted to take a moment to discuss where resources will be directed and how they will be dispersed. I also would like to talk about how this bill might affect us in the "Land of Estimation."

High-tech is the theme for this stimulus. Most projects will involve technology upgrades of one sort or the other. Even shovel type projects will have a futuristic spin to them. For example, school repairs are geared toward energy efficiency. Health IT, alternative energy and high-tech manufacturing are at the top of this agenda.

An even more important point is that not a lot of new bureaucracy will be created. Instead, existing federal bureaucracy will be expanded. For example, the Manufacturing Extension Program, a Clinton-era initiative, will receive more funds. The Office of the National Coordinator, a Bush-era Health IT office, also will receive more funds.

So what does this mean for business, in general, and estimators, specifically? First, partnerships will be essential. Estimators should partner with federal agencies and programs on the dispersal side. These groups will be focused on accountability and affordability. Their goal is that no dollar is wasted. On the reception side, partnerships should be formed with states and industry-leaders. These groups will be interested in developing accurate business-cases. Their goal is to demonstrate that their projects create value.

So, the stimulus will indeed be controversial. But it also may create a golden opportunity for the estimation world.