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Expanding Efficiently

Expanding Efficiently

Indiana Entrepreneur uses SBA contract, business development, and executive leadership programs to grow and expand her construction business

Situation

  • Mercedes Enrique took over the assets of CMS Corporation in 2004.  She knew she wanted to restructure and stimulate growth for the construction firm, but wasn’t sure how to bring in more federal contracts or what her re-structured company would look like.

How the SBA helped

  • Mercedes applied for, and was accepted into the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, a nine year federal contracting development program designed specifically for socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners.  The program includes one-on-one assistance from the SBA, mentorship, training workshops, match-making, and networking opportunities.
  • Mercedes also participated in the SBA 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program which allowed CMS to benefit from increased networking opportunities, and taught her how to improve CMS’ strategic and operation planning, opportunity development and capture, federal compliance, and financial analysis capabilities. 

Successful Impact/Outcome

  • CMS has grown from a regional sub-contractor to a prime general contractor employing over 100 full-time employees in five locations around the world.  Major projects CMS has designed and built in the last few years include hospital swing space on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a combat support vehicle maintenance facility on Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, a port operations waterfront facility at the Marine Corps Support Facility in Blount Island, Florida and the complete renovation of the Sergeant JH Cooney U.S. Army Reserve Center in Milan, Ohio.
  • Mercedes says she learned from SBA that they “are only as good as our last project,” that they always need the “right people in the right places to effectively execute” their mission, and that “you can never staff up; you must always be continuously improving your processes” to efficiently deliver products on budget and on time.
  • In 2014, CMS took on a major process overhaul and started the creation of a streamlined Project Management System named Compass.  This process improvement enhanced their contract efficiency, increased accounting and procurement productivity, enhanced project management capability and has helped prepare the company for growth. CMS has a current (2018) Federal Government contract ceiling capacity of $4.1 billion having successfully captured IDIQ contracts positions with the Air Force, NAVFAC and USACE.
  • Mercedes was named the SBA  Indiana 8(a) Graduate of the Year in 2018 and the SBA Region V 8(a) Graduate of the Year which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  She and her team currently mentor two woman-owned small businesses through the SBA 8(a) Mentor Protégé Program.
  • As a Hispanic woman, Mercedes is a member of an extensive group of underrepresented small business owners and is an active small business advocate in the Mid-States Minority Supplier Diversity Council and the Society for American Military Engineers.

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Company Name: 
CMS Corporation
Location: 
Baggersville, Indiana