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Persistence Pays Off for Nomad Global Communications
Columbia Falls company awarded federal contractual buying agreement
Jim Bryer, left, does a final paint inspection on a Deployable Tactical Operations System vehicle the day before the vehicle is rolled out from Nomad Global Communications and driven to Baltimore, Md. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
It’s been a shade longer than 11 years since Nomad Global Communications Solutions opened in Columbia Falls, and in that time, the company has established itself as a mobile communications platform manufacturer in local and state markets.

The last few years have proved Nomad can compete in the national arena as well, and now, Nomad has set its sites on breaking into the national market in a bigger way.

At the beginning of the month, Nomad was awarded a five-year contractual buying agreement with Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support (DLA). This allows the company to sell and deliver specified emergency vehicles directly to the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies.

While Nomad is no stranger to filling orders for federal agencies – previous contracts have included the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Veteran Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Army Aviation Technical Test Center, U.S. Navy and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – this new agreement means the troop support purchases don’t have to go through the public buying process, which takes considerable time and money.

“This is more like a buying mechanism, a lot like being listed in a catalog,” Nomad cofounder and CEO Will Schmautz said. “We are now preapproved to sell to the Army, Navy and Marines directly, as a contract mechanism.”

In the past, smaller contracts with various federal agencies took anywhere from 10 days to six weeks to come to fruition, Schmautz said, and the larger orders sometimes took up to a year.

This new contractual agreement puts timelines for potential contracts at about 14 to 45 days, Schmautz said.

Nomad spent about two years chasing this contractual buying agreement, he said. It can be difficult to break into that market, because a company has to prove itself based on past successes, and every company has to start somewhere.

“It took a while for us to get some traction in that environment but when we did, we’ve actually seen some consistent ordering taking place.”

When the company started in 2002, it provided high-tech voice and data communications to emergency responders, wildland firefighters and incident command staff members.

The company’s business has skyrocketed since then, and is a well-known manufacturer of mobile command centers. Its modules have been used in disaster situations, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, and are increasingly used all over the world.

Schmautz said the DLA buying agreement would allow Nomad to fill more custom orders for agencies that prefer using such contracts.

“Every agency, by and large, looks for different contracting mechanisms,” he said.

Nomad Global Communications at its 25,000-square-foot facility near Glacier Park International Airport. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon

Nomad is also chipping away at a similar contractual buying agreement with the Government Services Agency (GSA), a process that has taken four years already. Schmautz said he’s had customers in government agencies come to him and ask when Nomad will be listed with the GSA, and believes that a buying agreement would be a great opportunity for the company as well.

Another development that should help push the company to new heights is a new general product line. Nomad’s previous work has been to specifically customize each module to fit the purchaser’s needs, but the new generalized product line will be the new generation of tactical command communication, Schmautz said.

“We are just finally rounding (the product line) out, and we’ve got customers taking orders against that for the first time ever,” he said.

Nomad has also been working with the VA and Bureau of Indian Affairs lately, he said, though the federal government shutdown has thrown a few speed bumps into the road for at least six orders, since each order needs the purchasers’ input for customization, and those purchasers are on furlough.

“It’s something you work through and you just figure out,” Schmautz said.

But the overall feeling at Nomad is optimistic, he said, and Schmautz believes the company is primed for more leaps and bounds with the new DLA buying agreement.

“It has incredible opportunity for growth for us,” he said.
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