Osage LLC entity receives 8(a) certification

A construction, engineering and architectural subsidy of the Osage Limited Liability Company is now a holder of 8(a) small disadvantage business certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration which allows the entity to compete for government contract work at the federal level.

Osage Pinnacle Design Group will now use its 8(a) status to seek government contract jobs as its role in raising revenue for the Osage Nation independent from gaming. The 8(a) certification gives socially and economically disadvantaged businesses – including those in Indian Country – an opportunity to compete for contract jobs with government and military entities.

The Osage LLC announced Osage Pinnacle Design Group’s 8(a) status on Feb. 6 making it the second LLC entity to receive 8(a) certification in less than a year. After recent cost-cutting measures, the LLC is now operating with a total of five subsidiaries.

Osage LLC CEO Carol Leese applauded the certification and said the application process took just over one year to complete. “We are confident that OPDG’s new status as an 8(a) will attract substantial new business opportunities that can be added to its portfolio,” he said. “It’s part of our strategy to go after construction, architectural and engineering contracts.”

Osage Pinnacle Design Group started in 2010 after the LLC entered into a partnership with Norman-based Pinnacle Design Group, which has more than 80 years of combined professional experience focused on construction, design, engineering and architecture, according to the LLC Web site. Prior work projects conducted by Pinnacle Design Group, according to the company’s Web page, include: a fire station and bowling alley at Tinker Air Force Base, the Alva Recreational Center and two phases of a Seminole Nation tribal housing master plan.        

Leese said the next step for OPDG is for LLC officials to attend an orientation meeting with the local SBA office in Oklahoma City. The company will also need to present a business plan listed with goals and mission statement and “once those are approved, we are off and running,” he said.

Created by a U.S. Congressional Act, the Small Business Administration helps award 8(a)-certified businesses subcontracts with the government. According to the SBA Web site, the 8(a) business development program helps socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs who have at least 51 percent control or ownership of those business entities.

The 8(a) certification for all business entity participants lasts nine years with the goal of those entities to graduate from the program and thrive in the business environment. Those entities will be subject to annual reviews and business planning meetings with the local SBA office, according to the Web site.

In 2012, LLC subsidy Osage Innovative Solutions, an information technology company, received its 8(a) certification and received its first contract to work on a Bureau of Indian Affairs agency telephone system.

News of OPDG’s 8(a) certification comes a week after Leese provided an LLC update to the ON Congressional Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on Jan. 30. At that time, Leese said the LLC’s main goals for 2013 are focusing on its operations and business development.

Leese said the LLC is now working on the 8(a) application process for its entity American Video and Security (AVS), which specializes in making video surveillance systems in gaming, government and industrial workplaces.

Leese also said the LLC subsidy general managers are now working under a new monthly monitoring system that keeps track of the entity accountability. “We’ve developed a scorecard system for managers … if these numbers aren’t met on a monthly basis then it falls into a contingency plan.”

Leese also told the Congressional committee the LLC is interested in hiring an 8(a) specialist to be a liaison. The ideal candidate must have prior experience with the SBA’s local and national offices as well as maintain relationships with those military and government entities partnering with the LLC, he said.

Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn asked who would be responsible for monitoring the general managers. Leese said he would be monitoring the system and has ended the “arms length” relationships with the general managers adding: “it’s just so important this year everything goes well.”

As part of LLC cost cutting measures, Leese said the LLC now has five subsidiaries with: AVS, Echota Technologies Corporation, Osage Innovative Solutions, Osage Manhattan Builders and OPDG.

Two other subsidiaries – Osage Data and Osage Investments – are no longer operating, Leese said.

The LLC still holds passive investments with seven business entities including Sprouts Farmers Market, which is planning to open a store in Bixby by summer, according to the company Web site.

Leese said the passive investments maintained an 8-9 percent return rate in 2012. The LLC is undergoing its annual audit for calendar year 2012 and will present its annual report to the Third ON Congress during the Hun-Kah Session starting March 25.