For Immediate Release
May 23, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – While the state legislature is deciding final agency budgets this week at the Oklahoma Capitol, a high-level meeting at the entity for all things aeronautics was buzzing with activity as well. Most of the general public and even some state and federal lawmakers are unaware of a hidden armament tucked under the wing of the consistently forward-flying Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The Center for Aerospace and Defense Supplier Quality (CADSQ) program held its monthly meeting this week in the “war room” at the downtown headquarters for the commission.
What exactly is the agency battling against? Keeping the CADSQ program alive for another fiscal year and marching forward during this time of state budget uncertainty. The program has an unwavering commitment from the agency because its primary focus is the $6 billion dollars outsourced by Tinker Air Force Base and to keep as much of those monies in Oklahoma. Currently, less than $600 million or about 10% of that $6 billion in outsourced contracts stays here, so the battle on behalf of Oklahoma aerospace businesses wages on.
Knowledge is the key to unlocking the gates at Tinker and the CADSQ program has that key. Keeping more of their outsourced dollars here directly translates to good quality jobs. The program was created in 2006 during the Oklahoma legislative session. It was originally in the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), and was moved by the legislature to OAC in 2008.
With good intentions, a bill was introduced earlier this year to move CADSQ from OAC to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce because of a lack of funding. After discussions with the Director of the Commission, Vic Bird, lawmakers, and Secretary of Commerce Deby Snodgrass, the measure was withdrawn. The program was meant to be fully funded by the legislature in 2006. Due to budget concerns, and because the Commission is non-appropriated, the program does not exceed $150,000 annually.
Bird said, “It was established to be an appropriated program at inception. We are prepared as an agency to fully fund CADSQ until the state budget as a whole turns around. This program is too important to Oklahoma businesses to let it sunset, and there is no other state entity willing to take on another unfunded mandate.”
CADSQ’s mission is to provide expert guidance to Oklahoma companies that want to sell aerospace and defense-related supplies and services to the Department of Defense and its prime contractors such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt Whitney. By design, it has a corollary mission of creating a competent supplier base for our military installations.
Bill Southwell heads the program for the agency, the only one of its kind in the country. The program provides expert advice and counsel at no-cost to aviation, aerospace or defense companies in Oklahoma to help them capture more business with the Department of Defense and Prime Contractors and commercial aviation enterprises.
“Businesses often report back that navigating the requirements to do business with federal entities can be difficult, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses. CADSQ is there to help guide them through the process,” said Southwell.
The meeting confirmed contracting for FY 17. A list of goals and the value of contracts awarded through the program operator, Logistics Specialties, Inc. (LSI), was reported that as of March, 2016, the value of contracts awarded cumulatively was $61,532,539.
“I think it has had a positive benefit and we've got statistics to prove it,” said the Commission Director, Vic Bird. The Commission has spent about $2 Million on CADSQ, while the economic impact has been $273 Million, translating to more than 2,000 jobs. Taxes paid to the state due to CADSQ activity amount to $9.7 Million and the program has a profit of $7.7 Million for the state.
“We've counseled and advised over 200 small to medium-sized Oklahoma businesses and over 40 have CADSQ to thank for their victories,” said Bird. “The Commission has absorbed the cost, and we are glad to do it, because we believe in the program and can attest to its’ results,” concluded Bird.
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission
by Harve Allen
Phone: (405) 604-6900
110 N Robinson, Suite 200, Oklahoma City, OK 73102