The NH-PTAP and its staff have contributed to the success of many New Hampshire businesses. Below are just a few of these stories.
Saving Artemas: As Told By Artemas Industries' Sales Manager, Michelle Cammett
Artemas Industries, Inc. is a veteran-owned, precision machine shop located in Farmington. We were steadily building our sales until late in 2008, when the economy came to a screeching halt. Up to that last quarter, we had sales with our two largest customers of $351,381 with Goss International Americas, a printing press manufacturer in Durham, and $74,587 with ContiTech Thermopol, a hose manufacturer in Somersworth. Artemas employed six full-time and three part- time employees. All that changed during the last quarter of 2008.
We had to reduce our workforce to three full-time and one part-time employees. Machine shops around us were also devastated. Semi-conductor, printing, telecommunications, digital pre-press, automotive and even high technology industries were suffering. Our sales had literally dropped to less than payroll costs many weeks. Our 2009 sales were half of 2008, sales to Goss dropped to $70,900.00, one-seventh of the previous year. Where would we turn to generate enough work to keep our doors open was a question we brainstormed over every day. If we had to, we could lay off all the employees and try to survive with the owner and vice-president. This was a desperate option.
In our search, it became apparent the machine shops that were doing business with the U.S. government directly or with prime contractors for the government were busy. We went online to research how to become a vendor and realized it would take us months to negotiate through the paperwork without technical assistance. A former state representative suggested we contact Martha Keene at NH PTAP.
During my first telephone contact with Martha, she gave me specific instructions on how to apply for a CAGE code, fill out an ORCA certification application, getting technical documents through approval of the Joint Canadian agreement and how to become a client of PTAP. For the first time in months, we had hope that our business could survive the downturn.
In the months following, we attended training sessions on where to look for bid opportunities, doing market research, preparing sales materials, obtain technical specifications, preparing to attend a matchmaker event and dealing with FARS and DFARS regulations. All our questions were only a phone call away from an answer. Larger companies have entire departments devoted to deciphering these opportunities and regulations; as a small business, we do not have that luxury. The PTAP program made it a level playing field for us.
After a short time, we had good success in winning $29,470 in contracts on the DIBBS (Defense Logistics Internet Bid Board). These contracts were the only jobs in house during several months in 2009.
We continued working with Martha, Dave and Amanda at NH PTAP to expand our sales to prime vendors as an approved sub-contractor and in the fall of 2009, we won a $142,000 contract with Sig Sauer in Exeter.
Artemas Industries would be out of business if not for the PTAP office in Concord and specifically the assistance given by Martha Keene, David Pease and Amanda Duquette. Their efforts saved three full-time employees' jobs and created an additional full-time and part-time job.
Farmington is still suffering from the economic downturn; just this month (September 2011), two restaurants and two small businesses closed. It is imperative our government do all it can to help small business through this recession. Providing assistance through the PTAP office is a logical, effective choice.
We are looking forward to expanding our bid opportunities in new areas of the Federal Procurement arena. This will once again, require the assistance of our NH PTAP office.
Monument Construction Sells to the Federal Government
In 2008, service-disabled Marine veteran Daniel Proulx, Jr. recognized an opportunity to put his construction background to good use serving the federal market. While building a business plan for what would become Monument Construction, LLC, Proulx began to uncover the myriad requirements and regulations a new prime contractor must navigate to win, then work on, government business.
"Without a doubt the NH-PTAP deserves tremendous credit for helping us get where we are today," he says. "They gave us a college-level education in how to succeed in the federal market: getting registered in the right government databases, pointing us to valuable networking opportunities and events to get our name out, even explaining what contracting officers look for in a winning request for proposal."
Monument Construction's first project was a small one with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Togus, Maine. The firm celebrated its second birthday in December 2010 with its largest award to date, the $6.5 million psychiatric and polytrauma VA facility in White River Junction, VT.
"Some people found our initial growth predictions wildly optimistic in 2008," said Proulx. "But with our terrific team and assistance from knowledgeable partners like those at NH-PTAP, we've already exceeded those goals."
As a verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and HUBZone-certified prime general contractor located in Nashua, Monument currently serves the Northeast—New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania—and supports veteran-owned small businesses in its subcontracting practices. The firm and its principals have completed more than 100 government projects for such clients as the US Department of Veterans Affairs, US Department of the Navy, US Army, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, US National Park Service, and the US Coast Guard.
NH-PTAP, which serves as a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), is funded in part by a cooperative agreement from the Department of Defense, through a program administered by the Defense Logistics Agency. The content of any written materials or verbal communications of the PTAC does not necessarily reflect the official views of or imply endorsement by DOD or DLA. NH-PTAP is also funded by the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and operates as a program within the Division of Economic Development.