The benefits of pursuing government contracts

There’s some satisfaction that occurs when a plan comes together. Just ask those of a certain age who used to watch the “A Team” on television back in the early 1980s and eagerly listened for the catchphrase of the cigar-chomping leader of team, Col. “Hannibal” Smith. But there’s also something to be said for serendipity and the fortunate confluence of events.

It was serendipity, not planning, that two stories in this issue of the Business Times cover the benefits of businesses that secure government contracts. The cover story offers a look inside Capco’s new facility in Grand Junction to manufacture bomb fin assemblies. A story that starts on page 2 details the re-opening of the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) office in Western Colorado and procurement counselor hired to staff the operation.

The story about Capco is a compelling one for a number of reasons.

For one thing, the story involves an interesting operation and yet another of those products that prompt Grand Valley residents to remark, “Wow, I didn’t know those were built here.”

For another thing, the story is significant in the economic effects in play. Capco manufactures bomb fin assemblies under a nearly $34.3 million contract. But that’s just one of three substantial contracts the Grand Junction-based defense contractor has secured in recent years. Capco received a nearly $40 million contract for impulse cartridges used to eject flares and chaff from aircraft. The company received an almost $39 million contract for lightweight machine gun tripods. Capco has supplied cartridges since 2002 and tripods since 2013. Thanks to its success in competing for contracts, Capco has grown its staff to nearly 375. When fully staffed, the bomb fin assembly operation will employ about 35 people. That’s a lot of revenue coming into the Grand Valley and a lot of jobs to add to local payrolls.

While the numbers might not always be as large, securing government contracts also can pay off for small businesses, according to Jim Kidd. He’s the Western Slope procurement counselor for Colorado PTAC.

Government contracts — whether federal, state or local — offer opportunities to bring in additional revenue and diversify operations. Contracts also can help to level off the ups and downs of a seasonal operation or business cycles.

As Capco has demonstrated, businesses that succeed with contracting hire more employees, buy more equipment and even buy buildings to house their growing operations. That’s good not only for the individual businesses, but also the entire region. But as Kidd is quick to stress, businesses don’t have to be big as Capco to reap the benefits of government contracting.