Patriot Industries, Inc. is located in the cities of Monticello and Albany, two very rural communities in southern Kentucky. Monticello is located in Wayne County. Albany is located in Clinton County, which was recognized as an Empowerment Zone in 1996. Empowerment zones are designated to stimulate growth and economic development in poor, rural, underdeveloped communities across the country.
Patriot Industries offers four primary services: cutting and sewing, screen printing, manufacturing and warehousing. The company has used several SBA programs to help establish and grow the company. Jack Mills, President & CEO of Patriot Industries, realized that with the trend to ship operations offshore in the cut and sew industry, he would have to use all of the advantages of small business programs offered by SBA in order to retain and increase American jobs at American factories such as Patriot Industries.
The company was 8(a) certified in December 2000 and received its Small Disadvantaged Business certification at the same time. Patriot Industries received HUBZone certification in August 2001. Using these resources, the firm has won multiple contracts in 8(a), SBD, HUBZone and subcontracting opportunities. The company has grown from under 100 employees in 2000 to approximately 350 employees today.
Patriot Industries’ main manufacturing expertise is in the cutting and sewing of military products. Their labor force is experienced in sewing all weights and types of materials. Additionally, their screen printing capabilities use modern, high capacity equipment.
Patriot Industries is currently the major subcontractor for a government prime contractor. Patriot employees manufacture components for the Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment system and the company has manufactured over five million components. Patriot is currently gearing up to manufacture the Improved Outer Tactical Vest.
Patriot also manufactures fire retardant clothing as a subcontractor. Additionally, they have manufactured, as the prime contractor, a fire retardant coverall for the Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia, PA, and athletic shorts and jerseys for the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The company’s success is derived from its strong leadership and dedicated team at Patriot Industries. In fact, the firm’s business philosophy is summed in into three key statements.
- Quality - Engineered and manufactured into the products
- On Time - Our team members know that late shipments mean unhappy customers.
- Value - We realize that cost effective manufacturing is essential to obtaining and keeping customers.
Additionally, Patriot is ISO 9001:2008 certified. In 2011, Patriot Industries was recognized as an SBA 100 company. The SBA 100 program features 100 businesses that have created at least 100 jobs since receiving SBA assistance.
J.C. Egnew saw a need and a great opportunity when he co-founded Outdoor Venture in 1972 in Stearns, Kentucky. Stearns, located in McCreary County, is one of the poorest counties in the United States. About 65% of the land in the county is owned by the United States Government, leaving very little property and land available to develop industrially or agriculturally or for the community to grow economically. As the founder of a startup company in a community with no manufacturing history, Egnew was successful in building a capable management team, using primarily local residents, and that management team was able to manufacture a new product, find and sell new customers and run the overall business activities.
J.C. Egnew, a former NASA rocket test engineer in the Apollo Program, currently serves as Chairman and President of Outdoor Venture Corporation. J.C. Egnew is responsible for the startup of 4 manufacturing facilities and the creation of more than 1,000 jobs in this area.
Outdoor Venture has used the SBA programs and services to help build a very successful business. Outdoor Venture grew from 25 employees by the end of its first year to over 180 employees today. The company received an SBA loan of $140,000 in 1976 to build a manufacturing facility; the loan was paid in full in 1996. The company is HUBZone certified and has had success bidding and winning HUBZone set-aside contracts as well as other unrestricted contracts.
Since 1972, Outdoor Venture, along with its subsidiaries, has manufactured and supplied a wide range of products, including tents, both commercial (family and recreational) and military, sleeping bags, and hunting products. The company was also one of the first suppliers of automotive air bags in the United States. That business was started in 1988 and sold in 1992.
Today, Outdoor Venture remains both a prime supplier and subcontractor of military tent systems, components and accessories for the United States Department of Defense. In addition to the company's extensive experience as a military tentage supplier, the company's management team successfully started an automotive air bag manufacturing business in 1988 and successfully grew it to a $25 million dollar business before selling the company in 1992. Outdoor Venture's air bag manufacturing business employed 175 persons and produced 25,000 air bags per week. Outdoor Venture's experience as an air bag manufacturer required high-speed precision cutting and sewing of high quality, zero-defect products.
Since 1984, Outdoor Venture delivered more than $260 million dollars worth of military tents on over 140 government contracts. They have received numerous awards for their innovative design changes resulting in thousands of dollars of savings to the United States military tent procurement program.
In May 2004, Outdoor Venture was awarded the Fiscal Year 2003 Contractor Outstanding Value Engineering Achievement Award from the Department of Defense / Defense Logistics Agency at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. for substantial savings in Value Engineering to the U.S. Government.
In addition to being a prime military tent supplier, Outdoor Venture "teams" with other Department of Defense suppliers to offer subcontract manufacturing services. Outdoor Venture's main headquarters is located in a new facility in Stearns, KY. The 55,000 square foot facility was completed in September 2009 and houses the majority of their administrative activities. They also have an 110,000 square foot facility in Pine Knot, Kentucky, only 6 miles from the Stearns facility. The majority of their manufacturing, warehousing and shipping is done from these two facilities. Also, Outdoor Venture has an affiliate company, Shelter-Pro, LLC which was founded in 1992. That company produces and sells Underbrush® hunting apparel to some of the country’s leading retail chains and sporting goods catalogs, such as Walmart, Academy Sports+Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabela’s.
In 2011, Outdoor Venture was recognized as an SBA 100 company. The SBA 100 program recognized 100 companies across that U.S. that had created at least 100 jobs. The company also was recognized as the SBA Kentucky Small Business of the Year. Mr. Egnew, leader of Outdoor Venture since its inception, also served as Director on the Board of the HUBZone Contractors National Council since its foundation about 10 years ago.
Outdoor Venture Corporation, a prime modular military tent manufacturer and supplier to the United States Department of Defense (DOD) since 1984, is an ISO Q9001-2008 Compliant, HUBZone Certified Small Business. Mr. Egnew stated that the firm continues to seek opportunities to leverage its management team’s skills and diverse experience as the low cost manufacturer in the U.S.
About nine years ago, Cathy Stafford had a vision for a new company, Ad-Venture Promotions. At that time, she was a single mother with a young son. She had recently gone through a divorce and was still battling stage 4 colon cancer. Despite these and other challenges, she started a new business in the laundry room of her home, with her son close by her side. She worked harder than she had ever done before, growing the home based business steadily and profitably, despite dealing with many challenging obstacles along the way.
The obstacles she incurred did not get in the way of her vision. She eventually moved the business outside the home and later purchased an office building where the business now resides. An SBA Express loan helped provide her with additional capital necessary for any rapidly-growing business and enabled her to add employees.
Today, Cathy Stafford operates her promotional products business with that same passion and vision. The company now has 15 employees, and her son has grown up in a thriving entrepreneurial environment as the business has grown. Cathy stated, “My greatest strength is the integrity of my team. That is why we are so successful.”
Ms. Stafford describes the business as, “anything with your name on it.” The products that her company provides for marketing purposes range from traditional to non-traditional items, including water bottles, brownies, and cellular ring-tone cards. In fact, the website has 10 major categories of products, including food gifts, bags, headwear, writing instruments, drinkware, desk and office accessories, awards and trophies, calendars, sporting goods and magnets.
During all of this time, Cathy Stafford continued to honor her commitments to church, community and her son. Ms. Stafford recently served as President of the Central Kentucky Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Also, the business is certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Along with other achievements, Ms. Stafford was recognized as the 2012 SBA Kentucky Women in Business Champion of the Year for her service and inspiration to other women business owners. Additionally, she serves on the certification review board for WBENC, is a board member of Grace to Ukraine, a ministry to serve orphans, trustee for Crossings Camp and just completed a three-year term as a Trustee on the Endowment Board for Rotary.
In April 2012, the Women’s Business Center of Kentucky held the first women business owners roundtable in Lexington, KY. Ms. Stafford was the featured speaker. In the speech to the attendees of the WBC event, Cathy discussed her challenges in starting and growing her business. She described her life over the past decade and how she rose above so many obstacles to become successful.
Despite the hectic schedule and constant businesses interactions, she felt a sense of isolation, but she stated that “lots of networking helped.” She also said, “I’ve seen things change in the last nine years, and that’s exciting. My personal experience has been good, but the road has been bumpy. I’ve never taken my eyes off the goals, and it’s now paying off.” Her stories about those challenges as a female business owner left many in the audience in tears, and they truly admire her focus, determination and dedication.