Monica Jojola and her company, Montech, Inc., is a longtime client of the National Center’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). In 2016, Jojola was awarded the First Entrepreneurship Award for her outstanding business leadership. We recently asked Jojola a few questions about her company and how the government contractor is adapting to COVID-19 and the challenges of telework. Jojola and Montech were also featured in a recent Albuquerque Business Journal series called “Small Business, Big Mission” about how the pandemic is affecting small businesses.
We hope you enjoy learning more about Monica and Montech!
1. Tell us about yourself and Montech, Inc.
I am the President of Montech Inc., which I established in 2011. Montech is an award-winning, certified U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a), Woman Owned Small Business, and American Indian Corporation that offers professional and technical support services for federal and state clients and commercial customers based in Albuquerque. Montech maintains a U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Energy Facility Clearance. My management team and I hold active U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Department of Energy; and U.S. Department of the Interior personnel security clearances. Montech has multi-year Federal Government contracts in place with personnel in New Mexico; Colorado, Arizona; Oregon; Montana; Wisconsin; and Ohio. I have more than 20 years of successful executive experience in federal contracting opportunities, including organizing manpower and dedicating resources for multimillion competitive federal contracts. My other experience includes briefing commanding officers in the southwest to Assistant Secretaries for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. My community service includes 2020 Team Kirtland Wingman, 2019 Honorary Commander for the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM; 2020 Chair on the University of New Mexico – Anderson Alumni Council; 2020 Board of Directors for WESST and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico. I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Political Science and Communication & Journalism. In 2017, I co-authored “Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs of New Mexico: Surpassing Barriers and Stereotypes.”
2. Montech is a government contractor, has COVID-19 affected the way you work with the government and how you will in the future?
Montech was fortunate that many government offices allowed our personnel to telework. Montech personnel are returning to offices as businesses reopen across the country. This year, we have had to make many unexpected purchases to keep our personnel and offices safe. Wearing masks, teleworking (when allowable), and utilizing video teleconferencing (VTC) to connect with our personnel will continue to be the norm in 2020.
3. You were able to secure a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan from the Bank of Albuquerque, what was that process like and how has the loan helped keep your business running?
The process for obtaining a CARES Act PPP Loan was straightforward with our bank. Montech went to our bank first, and Bank of Albuquerque stepped in to ensure that we could utilize PPP to take care of employees whose contracts came to a standstill.
4. How has your business model changed since the pandemic started?
Over half of Montech personnel that are working for government clients were allowed to take laptops home and telework. We are purchasing more office equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) than ever before. Montech operates by VTCs daily. More than we ever have in the past, we are asking, “how are feeling this week?”
[Note: if you are in need of guidance on purchasing PPE, please check out our PPE guide.]
5. What advice would you give to aspiring American Indian entrepreneurs?
Utilize the many free resources available to new, up and coming entrepreneurs. Seek the assistance of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, the US Small Business Administration, and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), including the National Center’s. Start there first to get the right guidance. Be prepared to work many long days, dedicate yourself completely, and seek support from fellow colleagues who have done well. They will often open their doors and take the time to give you tips for success.
6. You’ve been a long-time client of the National Center American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center. How has that experience been and how has the center helped your business?
The National Center has always been a great supporter to Montech Inc. When their weekly emails come through, I literally take the time to read about upcoming training sessions. When COVID-19 hit hard in March and April 2020, I was amazed at the guidance the National Center provided to clients. The information was current, had leading experts to guide Government Contractors on special programs, questions to ask our Contracting Officers, and securing through the CARES Act.