‘This is huge for us:’ CEO of Springfield nonprofit on $69M Air Force contract

A local nonprofit that provides training and jobs to residents with disabilities has been chosen by the federal government to continue to make cargo nets for the U.S. Air Force with the renewal of a multi-million dollar contract.

TAC Industries, known as The Abilities Connection, was recently awarded a five-year contract that totals at a little over $69 million. It will allow the Springfield nonprofit to continue its manufacturing of those nets used by the support equipment and vehicles division at the Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Information about the most recent contract regarding the production of those cargo nets was released by the Department of Defense this week.

The base contract year has a value of $13,469,074; option one of the contract has a value of $13,565,182; option two has a value of $13,842,626; option three has a value of $14,127,218; and option four has a value of $14,418,212.

The contract provides for the production of 40,600 low profile side nets and 17,000 top nets under the basic period, and best estimated quantities of 40,600 low profile side nets and 17,000 top nets during each option period thereafter, the Defense Department said.

Work will be performed in Springfield and is expected to be completed by July 10, 2025.

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“This is huge for us. That five-year contract allows us to better serve our mission. It allows us to give those with disabilities the skills and knowledge needed to integrate in the community,” said Jim Zahora, the CEO of TAC.

Cargo nets made in Springfield are used to secure military and humanitarian aid that are placed on pallets during shipment. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The contract came from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base.

TAC won an initial contract to manufacture those cargo nets in 2005. The contracts are often renewed, assuming the company continues to meet its production goals and retains quality standards.

Representatives of TAC said that its contract with the federal government has been continuously renewed over the past 15 years. Zahora said that renewal is never guaranteed and they have to rebid every five years in what is described as a competitive process.

The contract represents the single largest work commitment for the nonprofit, which also works with several Clark County based manufacturers with the goal of providing skills, training and work experience for those in the community that have disabilities.

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Before the coronavirus pandemic impacted services provided by the nonprofit starting in March, TAC had about 180 individuals in its vocational services program. Roughly half of those worked on the production of cargo nets while others worked on the other contracts held by TAC, which include metal fabrication and assembly as well as parts setting, inspection and packaging.

The nonprofit has also added in the past year a hydroponic green house to its operation that grows lettuce for the restaurant it runs at CO-Hatch.

Due to state guidelines implemented as a result of the pandemic, TAC has limited the number of people with disabilities who are doing vocational work at its facilities. Currently there are 40 of those individuals doing that work.

However, Zahora said they expect to bring a number of people back over the next two to three weeks.

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