Local IT businesses score big Katrina contracts

SBA-certified IT firms are doing some heavy lifting in the post-Katrina reconstruction.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor
It's not just the big contractors who are doing well from the Katrina rebuild. Some small IT businesses are also winning federal contracts, reports FCW. Firms like DataQuest Software Services, DyKon Computer Help Center and Engenius Consulting were among the Small Business Administration-certified 8(a) companies whose business actually improved during the 2005 hurricane season.

Along with the contracts, the businesses say that their relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers, the primary contracting agency in the relief efforts, has improved, increasing their chances for future contracting work.

The Small Business Association recommended DataQuest, an IT contractor based in Covington, La., to create a quality assurance system to track the work of companies removing debris. DataQuest set up a quality assurance system to track all phases of cleanup — from making sure companies had proper right-of-entry permits to maintaining a list of condemned properties.

Randy Marchiafava, the Corps’ deputy in charge of small business in the Gulf Coast area, said DataQuest “hit the ground running for us and did an excellent job.” DataQuest’s flexibility in adjusting to changing post-Katrina conditions has helped the company earn new contracts, he said.

DyKon worked with the Army engineers to rebuild network connectivity in flooded buildings, even though the company needed to relocate its own headquarters from New Orleans to Texas. With a staff of seven technicians, “We did everything from rebuilding partitions to setting up computer systems,” said Eben Dike, president of DyKon.

Engenius, which had an exisisting contract with the Army Corps, sent four teams of technicians to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“Our primary function was to provide the IT infrastructure to support those emergency response offices,” one official said.

Next Marketing provided transportation for the mobile centers, Tachyon offered satellite access and Hewlett-Packard (not exactly a small or local company) shipped hardware from Atlanta. The team installed 34 computer-equipped kiosks to provide officers with wireless Internet access via a satellite receiver on top of the command center.

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