SupplyCore hopes to spread DOD wealth

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11738968635472.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘SupplyCore CEO Peter Provenzano pledged to honor the mission of MARRV.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117389691027127.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey stressed innovation and competing in the global marketplace.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117389694413277.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘MARRV Board Vice President Bob Trojan compared the organization's growth to that of a child.‘);

One Rockford logistics company has teamed up with a local manufacturing group to secure more defense contracts for the area.

In a March 8 press conference, SupplyCore, Inc., CEO Peter Provenzano announced the purchase of the Manufacturing Alliance of the Rock River Valley’s (MARRV) operating assets.

“We are planning on investing resources, both human and capital, in bringing more business, more manufacturing opportunities, back to the Rock River Valley,” Provenzano indicated.

MARRV Board Chairman Teresa Beach-Shelow was proud to announce SupplyCore would be retaining MARRV’s staff and mission.

“Today is a great day for the Rock River Valley,” Beach-Shelow proclaimed. “Today is a great day for manufacturing. Today is a great day for MARRV.”

MARRV was established in 2004 as a non-profit network of manufacturing and fabrication companies in the region, aimed at promoting the area’s manufacturing capabilities.

MARRV will move out of the non-profit sector now that it’s been acquired by SupplyCore, a private company specializing in the delivery of goods to U.S. military personnel throughout the world.

Provenzano said he hopes SupplyCore’s union with MARRV will result in a wealth of Department of Defense (DOD) sector contracts for local companies.

“The Department of Defense is the largest customer in the world; the largest single consumer of goods and services,” Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen noted. “Having new technologies, as we have in this region, and the capabilities that can be marketed to them in new ways, will increase the opportunities for local firms to compete for those federal dollars.”

Provenzano said the DOD focus will be two-fold.

“There’s product-related solicitations that come out,” Provenzano explained. “We call those the ‘bid boards,’ and we’ll be looking at those on a regular basis. And then, we’ll also be looking at winning large program-related opportunities where they incorporate numerous, sometimes thousands, of different unique items that require manufacturing.”

Provenzano expects to succeed in securing at least one of the large program-related efforts, which he said are often multi-year in nature and are worth anywhere from tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars.

Provenzano assured continued efforts to establish relationships with other defense sector original equipment manufacturers.

“They, in turn, also need manufacturing services, whether it be for production-related items or for spare parts aftermarket-related support,” Provenzano added, noting the plentiful opportunities awaiting the area’s manufacturing base.

“We already have stacks of parts that we need sourced,” Provenzano reported.

“This MARRV story reminds me of raising children,” mused MARRV Board Vice President Bob Trojan, who recalled the organization’s humble beginnings with fewer than a dozen members. MARRV now boasts membership of more than 70.

MARRV was originally staffed by volunteers who made time around their careers to help the cause. It soon became clear, Trojan explained, the job was simply getting too big, and it was time to hire a dedicated staff.

With the help of city, county, federal and private dollars, MARRV was able to hire a full-time staff. The new partnership means MARRV will no longer struggle by relying on those grants.

“We started off little,” Trojan continued his family metaphor. “We grew it, and when my sons left the house, it was time to say, ‘You know, we raised a good family. We’ll see you guys. Have a good life and good career.’ We wish the same for MARRV.”

Trojan said becoming part of SupplyCore is a marriage that will take MARRV to the next level. According to Trojan, MARRV was first approached by Provenzano in November.

SupplyCore, having been forced to reduce its staff by more than 20 percent in May, stands to benefit from the partnership as well.

SupplyCore lands in excess of $150 million a year, but according to a January 2005 interview, Provenzano has much higher hopes.

“Looking forward, Peter aspires for revenue to top $1 billion by 2010,” Inc. magazine’s Allen Roberts wrote. “It’s an ambitious goal but, given how active and widely stationed the U.S. military is, the demand just might be there.”

“What we’re seeing is so American,” Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) stated. “You know, it’s like apple pie, that a for-profit company sees an opportunity to partner-up with a bunch of innovative, community-minded folks who are trying to make a buck, trying to spread wealth and create opportunity in Rockford.”

The mayor added, “We’re gonna do fantastic things.”

Morrissey and Christiansen both noted the region’s rich manufacturing history.

“We have all come together on this and decided not to raise a white flag and surrender our manufacturing base, whether it be to the southern part of the country or Red China,” Christiansen concluded. “This belongs here. We’re the ones that were very much part of the industrial revolution when it came to intuitiveness, innovative ideas…We’re fighting very much so to protect that.”

No figure was disclosed, but Provenzano described the purchase price as “nominal.”

from the issue March 14-20, 2007, issue

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