Esten Lumber, a 40 year old manufacturer of pallets and custom shipping containers, recently completed its first government sales contract for the Army and PA Fish and Boat Commission. Business owners Barbara and Scott Moyer had no prior government contract experience, but due to the economic downturn, wanted to investigate sales in the government marketplace. As part of that plan, Kimberly Moyer, Project Manager, attended Lehigh University Small Business Development Center's (SBDC) Introduction to Government Marketing Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Seminar in early 2012.
Following the outline presented at the course, Esten registered as a government contractor, prepared clear and precise marketing materials with the SBDC’s assistance, and then enrolled in its PTAC’s Bid Match program, through which the company could review a customized search of relevant solicitations that would be a "good fit." That opportunity came only two months later.
Seeing a solicitation for "wood fish habitats," Moyer told the SBDC that she wanted to bid on this job. To help give Esten a competitive edge, the SBDC researched all past awards and sent Moyer that information. Moyer calculated Esten’s costs, prepared paperwork, and reviewed her proposed pricing and documentation with the SBDC. Her electronic bid submission was made on a Friday, and Esten got the award call the following Monday morning. During the contract period, the Army/PA increased their order by 10%. Esten has since completed the full contract and is now "seasoned" with the bidding/sales/fulfillment process. The company is eagerly looking for more custom wood production work.
Moyer said, “The Lehigh University PTAC was instrumental in assisting with the entire process. Once we won, they even helped us with the pre-award audit and coached us on how to work with the Contracting Officer. Through the Bid Match program, we now regularly see new opportunities and once the right one comes along, we will be ready to bid again.” Esten Lumber hired three to four part time workers to help with this contract and is quite busy with other aspects of the business.