May 08, 2018
Jennifer and Dustin Cornell have always had entrepreneurial aspirations. They have owned and operated a tool and tire company for many years and in 2016, they were presented with the opportunity to purchase Rollins Field Service, Inc. The company was an established heavy equipment repair operation with mobile capabilities, a solid reputation and established customers. The couple was excited about taking the company to the next level. Heavy equipment cannot be moved off site for repair, so it is necessary for the mechanic to go to the equipment. Jennifer manages all business aspects for the company and Dustin is responsible for operations.
The company serves the oil, agriculture, construction and trucking industries and more recently has been successful in winning federal contracts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the United States Forest Service. When they initially purchased the company, both were well versed in the commercial side of the business but were not aware of all the steps necessary to do business with the federal government. The company had existing contracts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) but unfortunately, not all those contracts were automatically transferable to them as new owners. As a result, they found themselves looking for other opportunities in the government sector.
They called the MT Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Big Sky Economic Development and were excited to learn there were advisors on staff that specialize in government contracting and could assist them with finding and bidding on contracts with other federal agencies. PTAC assisted the company with market research and identified the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as a potential customer. USFS contracts for mechanic services and also rents heavy equipment to be used on fire incidents. PTAC assisted the company with getting set up on the necessary federal systems and submitting a bid for “Service Truck with Mechanic.” The company was awarded a 3-year Blanket Purchase Agreement worth up to $150,000 per year. USFS will issue task orders against the BPA as needed until 2020.
The timing of the contract was fortuitous because in 2017, Montana experienced a devastating fire season that burned over 1 million acres across the state. Jennifer and Dustin were called out on fire incidents all over the state and worked a total of 54 days. Life in fire camp can be a bit rough, but the couple adapted and enjoyed the experience. Both felt good about the expertise they brought to the table for this important work. They have established new relationships with the BIA and have contracted to repair the agency’s fleet of heavy equipment in Wyoming.
PTAC also provided guidance to Jennifer and Dustin on the requirements to become certified as a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) through the Small Business Administration. Next steps are to work with PTAC to learn how to further leverage the company’s WOSB certification, research opportunities with other agencies such as the National Park Service and the General Service Administration and set up a bidmatch profile.
Jennifer and Dustin are very pleased with the company’s progress and have invested in a second mobile repair truck and are planning more investment in heavy equipment and water tenders. The company currently employs two people and the owners plan to hire another mechanic and a service technician sometime this year. Since first coming to the PTAC in 2017, the company has been successful in winning over $200,000 in federal contracts. Between commercial and government business, Jennifer and Dustin are optimistic about the future growth potential for their company.
For more information about how PTAC can help your business contact:
Statewide Program Manager for PTAC