Metal Works given honor

Published 6:06 am Monday, March 28, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Out of 134 government contractors that participate in the Mentor-Protege program only 10 have been honored with that program's highest honor; Muskogee Metal Works is one of them.
"Muskogee is the protege of Manufacturing Technology Incorporated in Fort Walton Beach," contracts office manager Vickey Sellers said. "In 1990 legislation was enacted to establish a DOD pilot mentor pot program, Public Law 101-510. DOD contractors urged that a vehicle be established for the development of proteges that could become valued defense suppliers."
Muskogee Metal Works produces parts for military simulators among other things and was awarded the Nunn-Perry Award by the Department of Defense (DOD) for their outstanding efforts.
"The program was really designed by senator Sam Nunn and it was implemented by Defense Secretary William Perry," Sellers said. "The program assists small disadvantaged business firms, qualified organizations that employ the severely disabled and, most recently, women owned small businesses, in transitioning from a state of modest attainments to very successful contributors to the defense of our nation."
The Nunn-Perry Award has been presented the last 10 years in a row and this is the first time a local company has received this prestigious award.
"In 1995 the first Nunn-Perry awards were presented to recognize and highlight outstanding and successful mentor protege relationships," Sellers said.
The goal of the program is to place small disadvantaged and minority firms into a position where they can become major government contractors.
According to Muskogee general manager Mal McGhee the company has been doing government contracting for years but it has been only recently that the metal works could provide major output.
"The tribe bought into the company in 1988," McGhee said. "We've been doing a very small amount of government contracting for the last 15 years or so."
Muskogee Metal is a Mentor-Protege 8Aminority company which means the federal government can set aside funds for the company for expansion.
"This award we received here is in recognition of our growth from $300,000 in contract awards to $5, million in contract awards," McGhee said. "We've increased staff, and equipment. Purchased machinery that increases our abilities. We have really increased our contract base and our equipment."
McGhee said that Hurricane Ivan was responsible for part of the success of the company. To remain a government contractor certain schedules have to be met and despite major damage being done to the Muskogee facility they met and even exceeded expectations.
"Recognition of the adversity that we've gone through in this last year helped us win this award and the huge amount of growth and really being able to complete our obligations despite Ivan," McGhee said. "We lost about half of our roof. It would rain inside and we'd have to cover our machines and still make a contract schedule we lost 30 to 40 trees and lost power for a week. All this impacted our work-load; how we worked through that adversity and still met our contract to the government."
McGhee said the majority of the plants success is the effort of it's employees.
"A lot of that is our employees coming to the plate and performing flawlessly," McGhee said. "We want to use this award to put us with a select group of government contractors and hopefully we can use that exposure to bring more work to our company and community."
With the company's success McGhee is hoping to showcase it to the public.
"We'll hopefully be having an open house and a job fair to give other communities a snapshot of our community and the education needs that we are requiring for our employees."

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