Major military contract will impact QC businesses

Story courtesy of WQAD Ch. 8

Posted 3:37 pm, August 27, 2015, by Angie Sharp
Updated at 03:59pm, August 27, 2015

Something happening 250 miles away is big news for businesses in the Quad Cities.

On Wednesday, August 26th, Oshkosh Corporation in Oshkosh, Wisconsin held a press conference announcing that the U.S. Army is awarding them a multi-billion dollar contract to build a new kind of armored vehicle for the military, which would phase out the Humvee.

“Today indeed is a historic day for Oshkosh Corporation,” said CEO, Charles Szews. “We are honored that the U.S. government has chosen Oshkosh to produce the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle or JLTV.”

The $6.7 billion contract will be used to build 17,000 of the military vehicles for the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps. The contract could also be extended up to $30 billion over the years.

“We’re excited about this,” said Vicky Miller, Director of Illinois-PTAC. “This is a great bit of information for our region.”

PTAC is the Procurement Technical Assistance Center and is supported by Black Hawk College in Moline. Miller covers 10 counties in the northwest region of Illinois and helps small businesses find work with big businesses through government contracts.

“The government has a requirement that flows down to these large prime contractors that 23% of that spend shall go to small businesses and so I help the business learn how to  position themselves for those subcontracts,” she explained.

When it comes to the Oshkosh contract, Miller said she let her clients know almost immediately.

“We are just rich with manufacturing processes and we have some of the best manufacturing companies, I believe, in this world and they’re right here in this area,” she said. “I think we have a total of over 500 in this region and so we have the best of the best right here and hopefully our businesses will step up to the plate and tap into these opportunities and we’re here to help them.”

Miller said it’s free to work with her office, which is supported by the Defense Department’s Defense Logistics Agency as well as the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in Illinois.

“Also, our host is Black Hawk College so with those three streams of funding, there is no charge to work with our center,” she added.

PTAC helps businesses become per-certified with the federal government, which makes the registration process easier.

“We also help them with bid proposals, so when they’re putting proposals together we want them to be successful in these proposals and so we help them with that,” Miller said. “We help them with a lot of training to understand some of the requirements that the government is going to have because those are flow-down requirements from that prime contractor to the businesses who are going to work with large prime contractors such as Oshkosh.”

To learn more about Illinois PTAC, click here.

Meanwhile, the Rock Island Arsenal is positioning itself to do work with Oshkosh. Right now, workers at the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) are retrofitting existing Humvees to become ambulances for the National Guard. They released this statement to WQAD on Thursday, August 27th:

“For more than 150 years, the Arsenal has been a National Security Insurance Policy – providing critical capabilities in delivering readiness not only to the Army, but to the entire Joint Force,” said Rhys Fullerlove, Public Affairs for RIA-JMTC. “Although no agreements are in place yet, we are ready to answer any calls for this project or any other warfighter needs.”

“The Arsenal has developed public-private partnerships and so there’s opportunity for them as well, so we want to do everything we can to help support the Rock Island Arsenal and all the initiatives over there,” added Miller.