"I knew that SBDC at UNF was the resource I needed to help me navigate the process of applying for a multi-million dollar government contract and assembling related financial contingency plans."
Since 1989, Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has been providing assistive technology and adaptive equipment for disabled individuals, hospitals, businesses, schools and universities throughout Florida and in recent years at a national level. They design and provide environmental control units (ECU's), sometimes called electronic aids, for daily living enabling their customers with physical or neuromuscular disabilities to gain control of their environment.
This family-owned company was started by Fred Thompson and is now operated by his wife, Maggie Thompson. When Maggie took over the operation of the company, she knew there was opportunity for growth but wasn't sure where to start in her expansion efforts. She learned of the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) location in Citrus County and first met with consultant Mike Orlito in late 2011. During that initial meeting, Maggie learned the FSBDC could help her develop marketing strategies, compete for and win government contracts, assemble financing options and find qualified candidates for employment.
Early in the summer of 2013, new opportunities for increased capacity arose for ASI, so Maggie arranged a meeting with Mike to help her company determine how to make just the right preparations. With Mike's help, they developed a plan that would utilize the expertise of additional SBDC staff members throughout Northeast Florida.
Mike arranged a video conference with Don Zavesky, the SBDC's government contracting specialist. It was the first of many interactions between Don and ASI during this process. Regarding the services provided by Don, Maggie said, "Don guided us through a gauntlet of preparations before and after we submitted our application for the contract. It's uncertain if we would have been successful without Don Zavesky in our corner." Mike also arranged for Peter Rivera, SBDC's Ocala area financial analysis expert, to conduct a thorough analysis of the company's financial records. Maggie was impressed by the depth and breadth of Peter's work saying, "Peter's analysis and presentation of trends in our financial history has helped us identify procedures to further strengthen our finances."
Maggie was impressed with how Mike arranged the right players among his colleagues at SBDC to meet all of her needs and more saying, "Mike left no stone un-turned in this process by engaging several SBDC consultants to help with technical aspects of applying for the government contract, providing detailed financial analysis, market research and industry benchmarks to support our application for financial assistance should we succeed in winning the contract."
Maggie Thompson and her staff at Accessibility Services are pleased to have been awarded the multi-year contract and secured the financing necessary to service the contract seamlessly. Since learning of the contract award, Maggie has added two full-time administrative positions and added two full-time technicians as well, a total of four new Citrus County jobs. They are looking forward to their next meeting with Mike at FSBDC is to discuss strategic planning and to revise their five-year business plan.