Spotlight on a Native Business: All Electric Supply, Inc.
All Electric Supply, Inc. has been providing contractors, projects, and builders, throughout Arkansas the electrical supplies and services they need since 1957. An SBA certified 8(a) business, All Electric Supply, Inc. is a third generation-family-owned small business, with current President Jordan Beard continuing the family tradition. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Jordan Beard has worked with the National Center’s American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center for years, and recently gained a mentor and contracting opportunities through attending Reservation Economic Summit in 2019. We recently talked with Jordan to learn more about All Electric Supply, how the company – and himself - managed COVID-19, what the future holds, and Jordan’s willingness to pass on his knowledge to help others who want to get started in the federal contracting space.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business
My name is Jordan Beard. I am a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, a member of the Cherokee Nation, and President of All Electric Supply, Inc. I have been married to my wife for over 15 years and we have two daughters, ages 12 and 14. My wife is a teacher and teaches at the school my daughters attend. As a family we love to travel and enjoy being outdoors and active. Personally, I really enjoy hunting and fishing.
All Electric Supply, Inc, is an SBA Certified 8(a) third-generation family-owned small business, established in 1957. Our primary area of work is in commercial construction; We have $5m in single contract bonding. All Electric Supply provides turnkey electrical, mechanical, and design-build construction services to commercial, institutional, and governmental clients.
Some of our recent successes include the awarding of the Rehabilitation of the Excitation System Retrofit at Dardanelle Dam Power Plant by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District office earlier this year for approximately $3 million. This project involved:
· Turnkey design-build excitation improvement project at a 160-MW hydroelectric powerhouse
· Engineered and installed new excitation system across four generators providing increased automation/efficiency
· Delivered the contract with heightened security, safety, and quality control requirements
In addition to being a General Contractor, we are also a vertically integrated full-line distributor of electrical supplies, allowing us to self-supply most of the electrical division work. We stock batteries, conduits and associated fittings electrical switchgears, enclosures, fuses, lighting controls, metering, motors, and transformers, among many others.
Our General Contracting capabilities include, but are not limited to the following: project/construction management, estimating, Primavera P6 scheduling, procurement, coordination, safety, quality control, and more.
2. How has the National Center helped your business?
The American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center (AIPTAC) has probably helped more than I could directly credit them for; I know they do a lot to advocate on behalf of our community.
Directly, I have developed an ongoing relationship with many of the folks
at AIPTAC and have found them not only to be responsive, but knowledgeable and experienced.
I became aware of RES through AIPTAC and had the fortune to attend in 2019. There I was introduced by AIPTAC to Charlie Smith, the Director of the Office of Smally and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the Department of Energy. As a result of that introduction, Charlie and his key team members spent nearly two hours with me to learn more about my business and help me to find opportunities within DOE. This conversation led to several others and, before I knew it, was attending Energy Exchange and actively look for a mentor for the SBA Mentor Protege Program. I am happy to report that we are applying to become the Protege of Brewer Garrett, whom I met at Energy Exchange. We hope and strongly suspect having a mentor will launch us into the federal space quickly!
We have also attended the one-on-one networking opportunities arranged by AIPTAC and found those to be great matchmaking events that have led to both teaming and opportunities to chase. In addition, I have sent many a FAR provision over to AIPTAC for guidance and received valuable feedback that kept us performing successfully and within compliance.
3. Has your business been affected by COVID-19?
Absolutely. In fact, I am still recovering from COVID-19 myself. Our non-government market focus is on industrial, commercial, and institutional users for electrical supplies and Energy Services Contracting (ESCO) type work. Our current customers restricted our ability to call on them to a mostly emergency basis and our prospective customers essentially barred us from calling on them since they were only accepting visitors essential to their operation and in some cases only essential employees. We're just thankful that we will be able to survive through this year and look forward to opportunities emerging again in 2021.
4. How has your business model changed since the pandemic started?
We have focused quite a bit this year on training and assessing our sales approach. This has led to the development of new teaming partners and different approaches to selling. In addition, we have invested heavily in resources to develop our federal contracting division hoping that this would be a market that is still active during the pandemic. We have also invested in training to expand our capabilities and create more offerings for our customers.
5. What advice would you give to aspiring Native entrepreneurs?
If you will simply take the first step to engage with the federal contracting community, I feel certain you will be surrounded quickly by folks that are ready and willing to help you get started. Unlike our core business of selling electrical supplies, which is a mostly commodity-driven industry with stifling competition, the federal marketplace takes a teaming approach
that is encouraged by the federal government, to allow for the development of emerging contractors. While it can be intimidating, taking that first step to connect with someone in the federal marketspace made all the difference for us.
If you're looking for that first step, please do not hesitate to give me a call. I'm always looking to make connections and find new teaming partners. I would be more than happy to spend some time to repay the favor paid upon me by those that have mentored me along the way and helped pave the way to federal contracting opportunities.