Midland GIS Solutions, LLC, Midland Surveying, Inc. – Maryville, St. Joseph
Midland Surveying provides a wide variety of surveying services throughout the U.S., including boundary, topographic and geodetic surveys. Midland GIS Solutions provides geographic information system (GIS) data for cities, counties, federal agencies and other municipalities nationwide. The firms share one dynamic president, Troy Hayes.
And with the help of the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) and St. Joseph PTAC procurement specialist Clint Dougherty, the firms now also share an up to $20 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for geospatial services at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
MO PTAC, a BDP program, assists businesses — including small, disadvantaged and rural firms — obtain federal, state and local government contracts. (See this article about what MO PTAC can do for your business.) IDIQ contracts are just that, contracts that provide for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services in a set period of time. And the NASA Langley facility is the oldest and one of the largest of NASA’s field centers, devoted to aeronautics space research. The sprawling facility is home to wind tunnels, labs, office buildings, cafeterias, power plants, parking lots — virtually a separate city.
That’s a lot of mapping.
Hayes, who started with Midland’s predecessor engineering company the summer between his high school junior and senior years and worked his way up to full ownership, wasn’t sure it was the kind of project either Midland firm should pursue.
“Honestly, we considered it briefly,” he says. “And then we forgot about it.”
The logistics were daunting. The NASA Langley center is huge. And the NASA solicitation was limited to Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) companies, small businesses operating in non-metropolitan counties, which both the surveying company and the GIS company are. Neither survey nor GIS firm individually had all the types of project experience NASA was looking for. But were the two combined, the resulting firm would be extremely qualified.
Hayes and his staff reconsidered. The two companies had been working with Dougherty and MO PTAC since 2010 and now approached Dougherty with the joint venture idea. Both firms had all the requisite registrations and certifications, but the joint venture had none.
“Clint was very helpful,” Hayes says. “He helped us meet the federal acquisitions requirements, helped us get our DUNS Number (a nine-digit identification number) for the joint venture, our SAM approval, too.”
(A key prerequisite when selling to the federal government is registration with the System for Award Management, SAM).
And Dougherty was always there when the inevitable glitches popped up.
“As we got into some of these details, we needed answers fast,” Hayes says. “Sometimes Clint would say, ‘I don’t know the answer, but I doubt this is a novel situation.’ ” Dougherty then researched the issue to see if it had occurred before — it usually had — then helped straighten it out with NASA, Hayes says. “Clint was great,” he says.
Hayes and other Midland principals has first seen the NASA opportunity in their daily PTAC feed of government contracting opportunities the day after it hit FedBizOpps, a database listing potential contracts. It’s the single point of entry for those firms interested in bidding on government work. Sifting through the thousands of opportunities is more than a full-time job — unless an expert like Dougherty can pinpoint the precise phrases and keywords applicable to a business, then have these keyworded opportunities sent daily to firms for a low fee.
“We have a network of larger firms whom we work with,” says Hayes. “Most subscribe to software services, similar to what PTAC delivers,” he says — but at a much higher cost.
These and other MO PTAC services have thus far benefited the two firms, Hayes adds. Midland Surveying’s predecessor engineering firm was a three-employee, local firm when Hayes joined in 1979. Thanks to MO PTAC and his business and professional savvy — he’s been Buchanan County surveyor, president of surveying associations and Missouri Surveyor of the Year, among other awards — that number has grown to more than 50 today, with multi-million revenues to match.
“To grow to this level wasn’t easy,” Hayes admits. “We achieved it through federal contracting opportunities, where our relationship with MO PTAC started. It’s worked out well so far.”
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