Osage LLC could start new 8a company; Grayhorse broadband project still in progress

SKIATOOK — Osage LLC is looking at starting the new year with a new 8a company.  

At the Nov. 19 board of directors meeting, officials with Osage LLC confirmed that efforts are underway to set up Osage Governmental Services, a new entity under the Small Business Administration’s 8a program.  

Hillary McIntosh, Osage LLC’s general manager, confirmed after the meeting that the new company will take on information technology contracts currently held and sought after by Osage Innovative Solutions, which is scheduled to graduate from the 8a program in April.

Entities under the 8a program are eligible to compete for sole-source and set-aside federal contracts, as well as technical assistance and specific networking and support opportunities through a mentor-protégé program.

Decisions are still being made about what additional services will be under the proposed new company’s umbrella, with consideration being given to facilities management, staffing and manufacturing.

McIntosh also said that the company will potentially bring on at least one entry-level employee in early 2021 to help with the new subsidiary. Although efforts are underway to bolster Osage LLC’s portfolio, the decision to bring on another employee hinges in part on whether Osage LLC is able to renew an existing contract at Fort Leonard Wood.

“We submitted our bid,” she said. “I don’t know yet if we’ll get to keep it but am relatively sure we’ll know by Dec. 1.”

In the interim, the rural broadband project remains a work in progress. An agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is still getting worked out by legal counsel on both sides before construction can start on the tower sites for Grayhorse and Bowring.

The project is funded through a $3 million Community Connect grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $450,000 matching money appropriation from the Osage Nation Congress. As per the USDA website, the grant program helps finance broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not fiscally feasible for private businesses to provide coverage.