DOD grant to help firms receive pacts

November 7, 2009
| By Pete Daly |
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MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Area First/Procurement Technical Assistance Center has received a $157,192 matching grant from the Department of Defense that will enable it to continue helping businesses in a dozen western Michigan counties obtain state and federal contracts.

The total budget for the next year is $209,589. Muskegon Area First, which houses the Muskegon PTAC office in downtown Muskegon, will kick in $52,397, according to Pamela Vanderlaan-Poort, director of the PTAC office.

Vanderlaan-Poort said the recession has driven many companies to PTACs in search of government contracts, including many companies that have not done business with the state or federal governments in the past.

In announcing the funding, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, said the federal government "continues to require a significant amount of assistance from the private sector in meeting its vast number of operations."

Some of the contracts to West Michigan manufacturing companies or service providers have involved truck components for the military, aircraft components and adhesives. Contract awards have ranged from $1,000 to more than $6 million, according to an announcement from Hoekstra's office, which also noted that the Muskegon Area First PTAC has facilitated $379 million worth of contracts over the past five years, with 1,673 contracts awarded to 95 companies. Of those 95, 72 were small businesses and 23 large businesses.

The Muskegon Area First PTAC covers a 12-county regional area, including Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana, Osceola, Newaygo, Montcalm, Mecosta, Lake, Gratiot, Mason, and Ionia. It has a one-person satellite office in Big Rapids.

The same counties also are served by a second PTAC, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The MEDC PTAC operates out of The Right Place office in downtown Grand Rapids with a staff of two. Dana Pinkava, the head of the MEDC PTAC in Grand Rapids, said that office is funded by the MEDC and provides "the exact same function" as the Muskegon PTAC.

Both PTAC offices hold regular seminars for business and assist in other ways in helping businesses find and apply for government contracts going out to bid.

For more information, call the Muskegon Area First PTAC at (231) 722-7700 or the MEDC PTAC in Grand Rapids at (616) 301-8210 or go to

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