Tucson Project, LLC provides business process solutions to government and industry in the areas of administrative services, project management, logistics and transportation. Following his honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps, D.A. Jordan, the firm’s founder and CEO sought to continue serving his country in a worthwhile capacity. As a result, Tucson Project was established in 1997. The company has since secured several contracts providing services to government agencies, including: US Postal Service, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Health and Human Services.
Tucson Project launched its transportation/logistics line in 2002 with an Irving, TX FedEx Ground contract and one delivery van, operated by Jordan himself. Fifteen years later, the contract has grown into a multi-million dollar contract with 10 tractor-trailers and with over 11 million safety miles. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been instrumental in helping Tucson Project strategically grow at a sustainable pace, even through the recent economic down-turn. The SBA Dallas/Ft. Worth District Office has been a key player on Tucson Project’s business development team by providing relevant seminars and technical assistance in the areas of: certifications, teaming strategies and market analysis. This support paved the way for the company’s successful penetration into the federal sector. In addition, Jordan’s participation in the very competitive e200 program for emerging leaders (Class of 2012 – Dallas) has provided him with the organizational framework, resource network, and inspiration to build a more competitive company. With SBA Dallas/Ft. Worth District Office's continued technical assistance, Tucson Project has been able to gain additional tools to fortify its name recognition, and increase it’s contract capture rate within several federal agencies. Jordan encourages any veteran entrepreneur to connect with SBA. " Having such a resource as the Dallas/Ft. Worth District SBA Office has been huge in my development as a CEO and a leader of a veteran owned firm,” he said.
Setting itself apart from most small businesses, Tucson Project has maintained a 24/7, 365-day a year operation for more than 10 years, while specializing in complicated multi-faceted projects and emergency preparedness and response support. In 2011 the company was approved to participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Mentor-Protégé program. The Program is designed to motivate and encourage large prime contractors to help smaller businesses improve their internal processes and capabilities. Participation in the program helps enhance the company’s performance on DHS contracts, foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between large and small contractors, and increase contract opportunities. Also in 2012, the company received it’s Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Certification from the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE), a division within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Being officially certified as a SDVOSB will allow Tucson Project to compete for certain federal contract set-asides only available to CVE certified SDVOSB companies, which translates into more contracting opportunities with the VA.
Tucson Project remains committed to promoting veteran employment opportunities and entrepreneurial education. As a result, 25 percent of the company’s current workforce are veterans. Along with its veteran outreach and education, Tucson Project is dedicated to giving back and making a positive impact in the communities in which it operates. Through financial contributions and the volunteer efforts of its employees, the firm supports programs and organizations that address social progress, economic success and educational excellence. The 2012/2013 school year is the company's seventh year providing book bags and school supplies to children in the Greater Cleveland area. The company also participates in the University of Texas- Dallas’ internships program, which for the last four years has allowed college students to shadow company employees as preparation to enter the workforce.
With the assistance of the SBA, Tucson Project has grown from a one-man operation into a Dallas-based firm with nationwide capabilities and offices in Irving, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and Washington D.C.
Nestled in the East Texas piney woods of Bear Bottom, four generations of family tradition surrounds Bear Creek Smokehouse. Originating in 1943, Hick and Nellie Shoults have raised and cured their own smoked meats. Since then, the Smokehouse has grown from a backyard venture with 600 birds to one of East Texas’ largest USDA approved food processing facilities producing a wide variety of smoked delights. Bear Creek Smokehouse’s retail location is one of the oldest stores in East Texas still in operation, offering products such as ham, peppered pork tenderloins, smoked ribs, pork loins, brisket, a variety of birds and much more. The store also offers a range of soups and beverage mixes, along with chocolate fudge and praline pecan desserts.
Bear Creek Smokehouse’s first customers were local grocers who placed orders at the local Agricultural Extension office. Today, their customers reach into the thousands and can order over the phone, by mail, fax or online. With their mouth-watering Bear Creek smoked meats, the company has become a holiday tradition in homes across the nation.
Bear Creek Smokehouse began working with the Kilgore College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in an attempt to improve their cash flow and diversify their existing product line to offset the seasonality of their business. After meeting with the Kilgore College SBDC counselor, the counselor reviewed all current loans and financials with the company leadership. The Kilgore College SBDC went to work on developing various scenarios for the company to improve cash flow. The Kilgore College SBDC determined that all debt of the company could be combined into one consolidation loan and the equity from the land and building could be used to collateralize the entire loan, thus freeing up personal assets and all equipment in the business. Secondly, the Kilgore College SBDC determined that Bear Creek Smokehouse could use the savings from their current loan payments and increase their line of credit and begin to purchase food goods for processing new orders, thus diversifying their product line and moving the company away from seasonal items.
The Kilgore College SBDC also determined that Bear Creek Smokehouse could possibly receive a job incentive grant from Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) if new jobs could be created from the new products diversification. This grant would cover the cost of additional equipment needed to grow their increasing product lines. Bear Creek Smokehouse currently employs 56 workers averaging $25.94/hour, with 90% of those listing Marshall, TX has their home address.
Once a plan of action was in place, the Kilgore College SBDC began to work with various banks on the new strategies. The Kilgore College SBDC was successful in locating a bank that was willing to work with Bear Creek Smokehouse on their aggressive plan of action. A debt consolidation loan was approved for $835,000 at a variable rate based on LIBOR for 2.55%, an unbelievable savings from their current average loans of 6.5%. The debt consolidation loan improved cash flow dramatically for the business. Also, a line of credit was approved at a variable rate of 3.81% for $350,000 allowing Bear Creek Smokehouse the ability to buy food products to be used in their new product lines. After the debt consolidation loan and the new line of credit was approved by the bank, the Kilgore College SBDC began to prepare a grant proposal for Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) for $48,000 to be used toward the purchase of new equipment in the business for the new product lines. This job incentive grant was unanimously approved by the MEDCO board and $48,000 will be awarded to the company for the new equipment purchases in June of 2012.
Bear Creek Smokehouse intends to create a minimum of 19 additional jobs over a five year span. The newly created jobs would be considered full time jobs and have an average hourly rate of at least $10 per hour, well above the federal mandated minimum wage rate. Bear Creek Smokehouse also projects that this increase of 19 jobs could grow larger due to the expanded product line.
Bear Creek Smokehouse with the assistance of the Kilgore College SBDC has within a short period of time, improved their cash flow, saved thousands of dollars in interest fees, freed up multiple personal assets from lenders, structured to be able to pay off principal debt faster, acquired new machinery, hired new employees, retained current employee levels, increased their line of credit and financially become more sound in all areas of operations.
Owner, Robbie Shoults said, “Working with the SBDC has been a great experience. They have helped sustain our company in various ways by showing us how to improve our cash flow, our bottom line and our competitiveness in the market place through resources available to small businesses in East Texas. The Kilgore College SBDC has been a pleasure to work with through this process and have been very attentive to our individual business requirements. I would highly recommend any small business owner to the SBDC staff and let them put their expertise to work for you.”
Torrez Paper Company, owned by Colinda Torrez, is one of the top Hispanic and women-owned businesses in the Country and a very successful distributor of paper products, industrial equipment and supplies. The company has several important contracts at the DFW Airport and a new contract with the City of Dallas’ Omni Hotel has recently been awarded as well.
Torrez Paper Company is on track to make 2012 four years in a row with over a million dollars in revenue and should be the best year yet. This is still a big deal because according to SBA statistics, Torrez Paper Company, Inc. will be part of only 3% of all women-owned businesses that ever exceed a million dollars in revenue.
Colinda Torrez is the President and sole owner of the corporation. Torrez Paper Company is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Small Disadvantaged Business, certified by the State of Texas as a Historically Underutilized Business, certified by the North Central Texas Regional Certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/ Woman Owned Business and the DFW Minority Business Council/National Minority Supplier Diversity Council.
Torrez Paper Company has established a history as a successful business. 2008 was a banner year for Torrez Paper Company, Inc.—having received both the American Indian Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Groundbreaker Award. The company was a new Risk Management SBDC client and start-up in 2002 and now has been a client, in business and profitable for over nine years.
Torrez Paper Company operates as a home-based business in Kaufman, Texas and leases office space from Olmstead-Kirk Paper Company, in Dallas. Colinda said on receiving help from the Risk Management Small Business Development Center: 'Bill [Weddle, Director Risk Management SBDC] was one of the few people I called upon to help me plan a strategy. Bill's knowledge and the time he has generously given me has proven to be invaluable to the success of Torrez Paper Company.”