SBA program allows CMS to service 300 federal government projects
By Mercedes O. Enrique, Indiana Minority Business Magazine, Third Quarter, 2014
When Custom Mechanical Systems Corp. (CMS) entered into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program in 2005, it marked a turning point in the company’s development. Until that time, the company had been solely involved in commercial pursuits, providing mechanical fabrication and installation services to a variety of industrial and manufacturing customers throughout the Midwest.
By virtue of the SBA’s 8(a) Program, a business assistance program for small, disadvantaged businesses, CMS received guidance and mentoring to become a strong federal government contractor.
Today, CMS is an award-winning company specializing in design-build (D-B) and traditional construction, with a strong self-performance capability in D-B, new construction, renovation, energy, and mechanical construction, including steel and process piping fabrication capabilities. The company remains a SDB and MBE, with a resume of specialized federal work spanning the U.S. and Guam.
In the past nine years, CMS has been awarded more than 300 projects valued at more than $225 million in 33 states and Guam. Projects have ranged from the $714,000 repair of HVAC systems at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Scottsburg to the D-B of a $13.4 million Combat Support Vehicle Maintenance Facility (CSVMF) at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The CSVMF was certified LEED Silver and received numerous awards and client accolades. Most recently, the company has started work on the $24 million D-B of Wharf Charlie C-2 at Naval Station Mayport, FL.
The key to CMS’s success to date is simple: Safety and efficient project execution – on time and within budget – with delivery of a high quality project. It is what clients expect and what CMS consistently delivers. It is the work we do and our reputation that allows us both to compete in new markets and with new clients, and brings us the repeat business that has been essential to our continued growth to date.
The company attributes 89 percent of company revenues over the past nine years to repeat business.
CMS is based in Bargersville a Southside suburb of Indianapolis. It also has offices in Bloomington; Libertyville, Ill.; Fairborn, Ohio; Maumee, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kapolei, Hawaii; and Tamuning, Guam. In addition to office space, the Bargersville location also has more than 11,200 square feet of steel and process piping fabrication space.
We remain a general contractor, providing design-build and traditional construction services. We also bring a strong self-performance capability in mechanical, with steel and process piping fabrication capabilities.
Roughly 80 percent of our work is now for the federal government, primarily the Department of Defense. At the time, it was essential that we brought most of our focus to learning how to do work with this client. We had a steep learning curve and needed to ramp up quickly to meet the expectations of our federal clients.
While most of the business has been in the federal market, the company still maintains a strong commercial client base, with such firms as Reynolds Inc. (www.layne.com) and Praxair Inc. (www.praxair.com) and institutions, such as as Purdue University (www.purdue.edu) and Indiana University (www.indiana.edu). Commercial sector work has ranged from a steam piping replacement project at Indiana University (Bloomington Campus) to mechanical and instrumentation work at Praxair’s VS100M Vacuum Pressure Swing Absorption (VPSA) Plant, part of the Southport Wastewater Treatment Plant, in Indianapolis.
What’s next for CMS? In April of this year, the company graduated from the SBA’s 8(a) Program, marking another key milestone in its evolution, and is now positioned to expand its markets and client base around the world. CMS is eager to not only continue to grow as a federal contractor but also bring the specialized experience and lessons learned on its federal work to its existing and newer commercial and industrial clients.
Our focus on the federal market has taken us all over the U.S. and Guam. We are anxious to bring the experience and lessons learned we have gained over the past nine years to our commercial and industrial clients. With our expanded services, we now offer considerably more to our clients.
Mercedes O. Enrique is president of CMS.