8(a) Program and Patience Pays Off for This Contracting Company

Workers put together water pump installation

Miguel Montano’s father, Angel, was a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. as a horse jockey and later became quite successful as a horse trainer during his 60-year career. Miguel learned the value of hard work and dedication from his father, and this work ethic helped him and his team win a Kentucky football high school state championship. He also became a star wide receiver and defensive back for the University of Louisville Cardinals under legendary College and NFL Coach Howard Schnellenberger.  Miguel leveraged his strong work ethic, classroom success and business degree into successful careers with Ford Motor Company and GlaxoSmithKline. 

In 2010, Miguel launched his own construction business. The early years were lean, but Miguel looked to SBA and its resources to help grow his company. Miguel’s company values focused on customer satisfaction and developing strong business partnerships. He met current SBA Kentucky District Director Robert Coffey, who at the time was a Business Opportunity Specialist. Robert informed him about the opportunities available with the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program. 8(a) is a nine-year program that assists small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who compete for federal government contracts. Firms in the program receive focused training, technical assistance and mentoring.

Small business development is accomplished by providing various forms of management, technical, financial, and procurement assistance. Miguel worked closely with Robert Coffey and later with Cherie Guilford at the SBA Kentucky District Office. Both are experienced at coaching early-stage 8(a) certified businesses. Cherie counseled Miguel to build out the company infrastructure and personnel before attempting to compete for federal contracts. Based on his new opportunities and strategy, Miguel changed the company name to match his vision of being a national company, not just local or regional.

Implementing knowledge learned from the 8(a) program, Miguel saw his company revenues and profits grow steadily from 2011-2019. His bottom line also improved. National Contracting Services evolved and developed a niche in the facility operations and maintenance industry. In 2017, Miguel participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, an intense 100+ hours of entrepreneurship education and training for small businesses executives who are high potential job creators.

When COVID-19 struck, National Contracting Services received an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan to keep his over 123 employees on the company payroll. As Miguel prepares to graduate from the SBA 8(a) program, he is giving back to others. He currently is working with a younger 8(a) firm that is a subcontractor on a large project.  National Contracting Services has several offices in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as locations in Utah, Colorado and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Miguel offered the following advice regarding the 8(a) Business Development Program: “The 8(a) Business Development Program is so valuable. Be patient and strategic. And do not waste any time.”

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.