HUBZone Seminar Notes Benefits to Local Businesses

Garrett County business leader Don Morin, owner of Garrett Container Systems (GCS), and Jim and Shirley Bailey, owners of GCC Technologies set the tone for a recent U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) seminar hosted by Garrett College at the Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC). The topic of the forum was The Historically Underutilized Business Zone program, better known as the HUBZone program, which helps businesses in certain urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. All of Garrett County is a HUBZone.

Morin and the Baileys spoke about the benefits that have accrued to their businesses since earning their respective HUBZone certification over a decade ago. Established in 1991 as a manufacturer of aluminum storage and shipping containers GCS expanded its core competencies when it became a system integrator of tactical deployment kits and a full line distributor of numerous top brands of tactical and support equipment in 2003.

GCC Technologies, a former tenant in the College’s GIEC small business incubator, is a government contractor that provides services to defense and non-defense agencies, as well as the private sector. The Bailey’s are also involved in helping organizations apply and qualify for HUBZone certification through GCC’s HUBZone Connection services-line.

Following comments from these local entrepreneurs on the potential growth through HUBZone certification, Sam Reprogel, Business Development representative from the Baltimore office of the SBA, gave a presentation called “HubZone Boot Camp” providing information on accessing HUBZone certification, basic eligibility, the certification process, and maintaining certification. He emphasized that HubZone certification can provide major opportunities for Garrett County businesses to tap new markets and gain competitive advantage.

Mike Tumbarello, Coordinator of the College’s GIEC incubator and Center for Entrepreneurship, commented on the information shared at the seminar. “HUBZone certification can be a valuable enhancement to a company’s core capabilities and can also help drive growth of Garrett County businesses that currently, or plan to, bid on government contracts. Over $8 billion Federal contract awards were made to HUBZone firms across the US in a recent year,” he noted.

This seminar was co-sponsored by Garrett College, the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, and Garrett County Economic Development. For more information on business education opportunities, interested persons may contact Mike Tumbarello, coordinator of the Garrett GIEC business incubator at 301-387-3167.