$3m Air Force contract has a ripple effect

State program helps a Peterborough company win major government project

While winning a $3 million multi-year contract with the U.S. Air Force was no small accomplishment for a small Peterborough-based avionics manufacturer, it’s also enabling TestVonics Inc. to have an impact on the business of suppliers around the state.

That’s because TestVonics will be calling on suppliers across the state to help fulfill the contract, meaning that virtually every part that goes into the systems to be built — from circuit cards to sheet metal, machined parts and electronics — will be made in New Hampshire.

In September, with the help of the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program — a part of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center — TestVonics won the contract for the Second Generation Air Data Calibrator (SGADC) program. The contract — awarded by the U.S. Air Force Metrology and Calibration Program Office — will involve a multi-year program for approximately 90 SGADC systems, which will be used by all Air Force Precision Measurement and Equipment Labs worldwide to calibrate flight line air data test sets, altimeters, air speed indicators, barometers and similar low pressure devices.

This isn’t the first government contract TestVonics has successfully bid on and won, said Paul McCullough, the company’s president, but the most recent award “is a highly prestigious contract that clearly positions us as a trusted government contractor,” he said. “I feel it is a direct result of our successful completion of a four-year contract with the Air Force that we won in 2002.”

He said the company is grateful to help provided by the staff of the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program, or NH-PTAP, which “helped us learn the ins and outs of contracting and subcontracting opportunities with the government.”

TestVonics first received assistance from NH-PTAP in 1999, he said, when program staff helped the company receive the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, or SDVOB, designation and helped McCullough register to market his company’s products to the government.

“PTAP assisted TestVonics through several avenues, including federal database registrations, counseling sessions and by providing the company with a free bid match service that’s available to all New Hampshire businesses interested in learning about potential government opportunities,” said Martha Keene, NH-PTAP program specialist.

Under MyBidMatch, she said, TestVonics is auto-emailed bid information on available contracts, and the service also can be used to research names of people at government agencies and prime contractors he can team up with or subcontract work from. “I really must commend Paul on his consistent and systematic approach to bidding on government contracts. That type of approach can really pay off,” she said.

Since earning its first government contract in 2000, TestVonics has worked as the prime contractor and as a subcontractor, selling to the Navy and Air Force. Today, nearly three-quarters of TestVonics’ business is with the military, while the remainder comes from commercial aviation companies, including United Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, Boeing and Lockheed. McCullough said he expects the ratio to approach 50-50 as the firm develops more products with commercial and military applications.

“TestVonics began as a one- or two-person business, but now has a staff of eight, which is expected to expand, thanks to this latest contract,” said Roy Duddy, director of the Business Resource Center.

Duddy said the contract also will benefit TestVonics’ suppliers, including Granite State Machine in New Ipswich, Mass Design and Rapid Finishing Corp. in Nashua, Riverview Machining in Wilton, Prototek Sheetmetal Fabrication in Contoocook, Electronics Aid Inc. and KB Specialty Machine, both of Marlborough, as well as CPI Printing Services and Sims Press of Peterborough.

In addition to the computerized bid matching service, NH-PTAP offers training on administrative procedure and bidding for government contracts, training and assistance with federal programs, assistance with General Service Administration contracts and access to military specifications, among other services. For more information, call the New Hampshire Business Resource Center at 603-271-2591 or visit www.nheconomy.com.

This article was provided by the New Hampshire Business Resource Center.