MEDC Hires Director For New Center

September 9, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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LANSING — Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General Bradley M. Lott began working this summer to establish a new state office with what he calls a "laser focus" on helping Michigan companies obtain contracts with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security.

Lott was hired in July to head Michigan’s new Defense Contract Coordination Center, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's 21st Century Jobs Fund and funded through a one-time $10 million appropriation.

Granholm noted that homeland security/national defense is one of the high-tech, high-growth sectors specifically targeted by the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative.

“General Lott’s military and acquisition career experience make him an ideal choice to lead this new initiative,” Granholm said. “The high concentration of R&D and talent in Michigan positions us well for securing a larger share of contracts to the multi-billion-dollar defense industry.”

In his new role, Lott will work with the MEDC to develop and implement a business plan for the new office and establish an outreach program that matches Michigan businesses with contract opportunities.

"The DC3 (Defense Contract Coordination Center) will work to support the PTACs," said Lott. He described the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers as "the warriors on the frontline" in helping Michigan companies compete for defense and homeland security contracts.

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are located in every state; Michigan has a network of 12 of them. They are not-for-profit organizations organized in the 1980s and funded by the Defense Logistics Agency, the MEDC, and local funding partners such as the Chamber of Commerce or regional economic development corporations. PTACs offer marketing, consulting and classes for business owners and managers who are interested in being defense or homeland security contractors.

Lott said there are about 20 "prime" defense contractors in Michigan, but he added that he is sure there are "thousands (of other companies) that would fit the description" of Tier 2 or Tier 3 defense contractors. Many small companies have never considered being defense contractors, he said.

"Too many states with a smaller population and less (production) capacity get more of the pie than us," he said.

"Some sectors of our industry still want to be auto suppliers," said Lott. "One of our weaknesses is, we simply have to open our mind and realize we can be more than just auto industry suppliers."

Lott said he would like to be able to show in the near future that the Defense Contract Coordination Center helped increase defense spending in Michigan by 25 percent.

While he said the Center will be working directly with the PTACs, there is no plan to merge them with the center.

"I'm going to ask that the PTACs conform to some standardization, in terms of the classes they teach and how they teach and how they report their performance," said Lott.

“Defense contracts are a huge business,” said MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito. “Under General Lott’s leadership, the Defense Contract Coordination Center will help focus our efforts to develop the homeland security and defense industry sector and generate highly skilled 21st-century jobs.”

State Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, played a key role in establishing the Defense Contract Coordination Center through the legislative process. Lott said the center had been in the works for at least a couple of years.

“Senator Garcia recognized early on the great opportunity available to Michigan companies through a more robust pursuit of defense-related contracts,” said Epolito.

Lott retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006 after 34 years of service, culminating with his assignment as Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Prior to his assignment at the Pentagon, Lott commanded the Marine Corps Logistics Command, which is responsible for world-wide supply chain management including multi-commodity maintenance depot operations and logistics IT program development.

Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, Lott formed TrueNorth Logistics LLC, a logistics consulting firm specializing in industrial logistics and federal government purchasing.

The 21st Century Jobs Fund is a $2 billion initiative conceived by Gov. Granholm, passed by the Michigan Legislature and administered by the MEDC to accelerate the diversification of Michigan’s economy by directing resources to the growth of the targeted sectors of life sciences, alternative energy, advanced automotive materials and manufacturing, and homeland security/defense.

In West Michigan, PTAC offices are located in Muskegon, Big Rapids and Kalamazoo. To contact a PTAC office, see www.michigantac.org. For information on competing for state contracts, see www.michigan.gov/doingbusiness.

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