EDC’s GO Contracts Helping Grow Procurement Economy

Innovative Program Fueling Success for Brevard’s Small Businesses

Brevard County, Fla. (January 2, 2014) – The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast is pleased to announce that its innovative G.O. Contracts, Government Opportunities Online service has enabled companies to win more than $6.2 million in contracts in just its first four months of use.

G.O. Contracts is a tool developed and offered by the EDC to help small and midsize businesses capture more of the lucrative government contracts market. It launched September 1, 2013, and has helped at least five companies win contracts as large as $4 million.

“G.O. Contracts has been a huge avenue for me to keep my overhead low, keep my costs low and still keep my costs competitive,” said Jeff Salter, CEO and owner of JDR Unlimited LLC in Melbourne. Using G.O. Contracts, Salter won a five-year contract worth up to $900,000 supporting the Federal Highway Administration.

Salter said he consults other procurement sites but found his contract only on G.O. Contracts. Other users have related similar experiences.

Though Salter is in just his first year of business, his goal is to continue to grow and eventually employ 20 to 30 people.

Growth is already under way at another G.O. Contracts user, Rockledge-based TJR Electronics LLC. This woman-owned designer, manufacturer and tester of electronic warfare systems, avionics and communication equipment won a $4 million contract in September to serve as prime contractor in support of antenna systems for U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels.

The 22-employee company has recently hired three skilled workers, including a design engineer and program manager, and is looking to hire others, President John Rizzo said. Contracts identified through G.O. Contracts are helping to fuel that growth, all while increasing the company’s efficiency.

“It weeds out all the fluff that maybe you don’t have interest in, so you actually spend less time finding quality opportunities without having to dissect through agency after agency after organization,” Rizzo said. “If you can cut off two hours a day by going thru G.O. Contracts, that’s two more hours you can put into doing something else, like writing proposals or doing other types of business development.”

“We’re excited about using the service,” Rizzo added. “It’s a goldmine for small businesses.”

The procurement field in general is rich with opportunities for businesses on the Space Coast. Of the contracts Florida procurement officers put out for bid in 2012, about 80 percent of the awards went to out-of-state companies. Utilizing G.O. Contracts, Brevard businesses are helping to grow the underutilized procurement segment of our economy.

In a sign of the county’s procurement potential, the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center has for the first time assigned Brevard County its own consultant. Patricia Simpson is based at the University of Central Florida Cocoa campus.

“There is recognition that there needs to be more focus in this area,” Simpson said.

In 2012, the Florida PTAC program helped create and save nearly 10,800 jobs statewide. And job creation potential certainly exists on the Space Coast, Simpson said.

“I think what’s in our favor: We have a lot of partners in the federal arena, including Harris, Lockheed, Patrick Air Force Base and NASA. Some really huge companies that we work closely with,” she said.

G.O. Contracts provides registered users in targeted sectors with one-stop access to a comprehensive government procurement database system. A free service to a select number of eligible businesses, it contains over 700,000 government contractors and pulls information from multiple sources.

That deep pool of opportunities allowed Salter to find and win his contract through G.O. Contracts, and that’s what happened with John Booher, too. Booher’s company, Palm Bay-based ACS Ayon CyberSecurity Inc., won a $300,000 contract to “shield” laptops for the U.S. Army to ensure classified data is protected. The contract was not on other major procurement sites, including one of the biggest federal sites, FedBizOpps.gov.

“I found it on G.O.,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow. That’s great.'”

With just under 30 employees, Booher said the contract is a “big deal.” Furthermore, he said, because Ayon works with local vendors to provide services his company does not, such as painting and silk screening, his contract win highlights how one business’s success can provide benefits across the economy.

“Strengthening and growing Brevard County’s existing businesses is a role we take seriously and put a lot of effort into,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “Through programs we create, such as G.O. Contracts, as well as outreach efforts, guidance and assistance, we are focused on ensuring that our economy grows not only through business recruitment, but also organically, through the success of businesses that are already here on the Space Coast.”

At O.T. Trans Inc. in Melbourne, President Tony Gonzalez used G.O. Contracts to find a nearly $65,000 contract to provide retaining straps for the federal Defense Logistics Agency. But he is also eager to find opportunities in state and local procurement, contracts that many of the larger, more costly procurement sites do not offer.

“We see more and more opportunities right on one site,” he said. “We develop relationships with these customers, and I can see future orders increasing.” And that, Gonzalez added, leads to more hiring.

Gonzalez is also a leader in the local chapter of the Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, whose Brevard members will seek to utilize G.O. Contracts, as well. “There are so many ways of using the program for minority companies’ advantage,” he said.

About the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast is dedicated to attracting new business and investment and expanding existing industry throughout the Space Coast, influencing change on government laws and regulations affecting economic development, promoting the Space Coast to encourage new investment, supporting efforts of Space Coast military installations, and relaying new programs and procedures to assist manufacturing and high tech companies. The EDC is a private, not-for-profit coalition whose stakeholders are business leaders committed to the economic growth and stability of Florida’s Space Coast. Visit www.SpaceCoastEDC.org.