Three Questions, Nancy Crews
St Petersburg, Florida, April 21, 2003.
Q. More than 90 percent of your company's revenues are from defense contracts.
How did you break into this business?
The government holds seminars where they talk about their needs, and we responded to
a proposal for intelligent power management for army shelters and vehicles. We got to talk to the author of that proposal and get a good understanding of what they were looking for. We went to the seminar in 1996, wrote the proposal in 1997 and were awarded the
contract late that year. Today, we have revenues in the $10- to $20-million range
The other pathway into government business is to go out and bid on government contracts on "print-to-build" items, some of which have small business set-asides. We also did that and we've been receiving those orders since early 1998.
Q. How did you survive until the government contracts came through?
We were spun off from Lockheed Martin Specialty Components division, where I had been senior manager of marketing and long - range planning, and we took their engineering design products. Those were not for the Defense Department. We're largely self-funded, and the first year was nerve-wracking. But we've been profitable for many years.
As a woman-owned business, we've certainly been able to take advantage of government programs that help your business get introduced. But they don't give you the business because it's woman - owned. The real issue is performance.
Q. What impact has the war in Iraq had on your company?
For a few of the products we manufacture, like components for Black Hawk helicopters, we've seen a slight increase in orders, but that's been very limited. Otherwise there has been very little impact.
- KRIS HUNDLEY, Times staff writer