Q&A with Victor Bird
Program helps state companies
work with Defense Department
Q: The Center for Aerospace and Supplier Quality program, or CASQ, was given a Seeds of Greatness Award during last month's Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Summit & Expo. What is CASQ?
A: CASQ is a program created by the Legislature within the Aeronautics Commission to assist aviation and aerospace businesses in Oklahoma win more contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD) and prime contractors such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.
Q: Why is CASQ important to Oklahoma companies?
A: It is not particularly easy to do business with the DOD, and doing business with prime contractors can be challenging as well. The key to doing business with DOD and the primes is knowledge. Acquiring that knowledge can be a rather expensive proposition that some small and medium-sized companies simply cannot afford. CASQ helps aerospace businesses in Oklahoma acquire that necessary knowledge at no cost.
Q: Can you name some companies that have benefited from CASQ?
A: Over 150 aerospace businesses in Oklahoma have received services from CASQ. Twenty-seven of those companies have received 324 contracts totaling $33 million. Among those that have received contracts are Pro-Fab and Wall Colmonoy in Oklahoma City; Mingo Aerospace, Helicomb International, M&M Manufacturing, NORDAM and Padgett Machine in Tulsa; VALCO in Duncan; Malone's CNC Machining in Grove; and Crain Industries in Durant. Three of these companies, Pro-Fab, NORDAM and M&M Manufacturing, are part of the state contingent being led by Gov. Mary Fallin and attending the Farnborough International Airshow in England next week.
Q: What's next for the program?
A: To do what we've been doing but do it better and increase the number of contracts being awarded to aerospace businesses in Oklahoma from DOD and prime contractors. By doing this, we are increasing the supplier base to Oklahoma's military installations. That has never been more critical to, for example, Tinker Air Force Base, the world's largest military aircraft repair facility. Having local suppliers that can meet Tinker's needs is critical to its mission of getting the fleet back in the air as quickly as possible. We have the aerospace businesses in Oklahoma that could build the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or KC-46 Tanker. What we need is to get all of these businesses qualified to do business with DOD and prime contractors.
Business Writer Jennifer Palmer