Columbia company gets 2 pacts worth $70 million LB&B to do maintenance at HCFA in Woodlawn, technical work for NASA

Minority contracts

July 28, 1998|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Two federal contracts worth more than $70 million have been awarded to LB&B Associates Inc., a Columbia-based company established six years ago.

The company said yesterday that it has won a $36 million, 12-year contract to do custodial work and grounds maintenance at the Health Care Financing Administration in Woodlawn and a $35 million, five-year contract to provide technical assistance at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's rocket-testing program at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Woodlawn contract was open only to businesses averaging less than $20 million a year in revenue over the past three years, and the NASA contract was open solely to minority-owned small businesses.

"It helps us cut down on competition," said LB&B's business development manager, John Nemecek. "If we're not bidding against Lockheed Martin, we obviously have a better chance."

The company was founded in 1992 by Lily A. Liang Brandon, who moved to the United States from Taiwan in 1963 when she married F. Edward Brandon, an American consultant. The company started out in a four-room suite and moved three years later its current 14-office suite in the 9800 block of Broken Land Parkway.

LB&B has 115 employees in Maryland and 250 more nationwide. It plans to hire 200 more, including 65 in Maryland, to handle the two new contracts.

The company's annual revenue has grown from $200,000 in 1992 to $21.7 million last year. "We're operating at a profit, but with government contracts it's not like with commercial contracts," Liang Brandon said.

The company got a boost in 1993 when the state Department of Business and Economic Development guaranteed $750,000 on a $3 million bank loan.

Nemecek said the loan helped the business grow and that the state agency's help was critical to obtaining it.

"It would be very difficult for any small business to start up and say to a bank, 'Trust me, we're going to win projects,' " he said.

"The company was certainly a growing, promising company, and it helped them establish creditworthiness at a time when they were young and might need assistance in that," said Andrew Spitzler, a spokesman for the development department. "A testament to how much they have succeeded is not only these two new contracts, but the fact that the insurance we provided is no longer required by the bank for that loan."

In addition to the two contracts, LB&B is a partner of Lockheed Martin Corp. in its bid against Boeing Co. for a $6 billion contract with NASA to manage unmanned satellites. If Lockheed gets the contract, it, will bring LB&B a 10-year, $100 million contract.

"It sounds good, but the margin is not that great," Liang Brandon said.

Pub Date: 7/28/98

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