When James White, owner of DTM Parts Supply, Inc. bumped into County Executive Robert P. Astorino at a charity walk this spring, he had no idea it would result in a big boost for his decades-old specialty supply company. Thanks to that chance encounter, Astorino immediately put White in touch with the county’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) department and now DTM’s opportunities are expanding and sales are growing.
“When small businesses grow, they create jobs - not only for their family members and for their community, but for all of Westchester,” said Astorino in a press release. “To take the next step, sometimes they just need to be connected to the right resources.” That is what the MWBE program was able to do for White.
This spring, White sat down with Astorino’s MWBE liaison officer, Jim Coleman, to get his help on how to grow his government contract sales. The Mount Vernon based business specializes in locating hard to find parts. Its motto is, “You ring, we bring.” Some of DTM’s customer requests have included specialty copier machine bulbs for the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, bird netting for the Westchester County Airport, and medical transport kits for the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services. What has been their most obscure request? An original carburetor kit for a 1968 Lycoming aircraft engine to be used by the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit. And yes, they found it.
While DTM was good at what it did, White says sales were stagnant. And DTM didn’t know how to maximize its exposure to all of the various opportunities of doing business at all levels of government. Coleman set up a meeting between White and Liz Kallen of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). PTAC is one of the job development programs supported by the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) with the fees generated on bond transactions. Kallen helps MWBE’s learn how to do business with the state and federal government and brought White along to a seminar she organized entitled, “How to do business with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”
“I’ve been in this industry since 1980 and I have never known the things I learned in that seminar,” said White. In addition, he attended seminars hosted by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), another program supported by the county’s IDA, where he has learned how to develop a marketing and business plan.
Thanks to the training and connections that he has made from these programs, DTM is having a good year. DTM’s sales are $100,000 ahead of last year’s at this time. According to White, this success is due in part to the credibility gained from doing business with Westchester County.
“To get new business, it really helps to have a reference,” said White in the release. “Having done business with Westchester County gives you tremendous credibility as a reliable and trusted partner.” MTA representatives were impressed with DTM’s track record and credentials, and have accepted DTM on their bidders list. DTM has recently won bids from the New York City Sanitation Department, the City of Yonkers and various New York State correctional facilities.
Success has come after surviving some tough times, however, according to the release. Two years ago, White was struggling to keep DTM afloat. When Darlene, James’ wife, was let go after 27 years at her job as a credit manager, the Whites hit rock bottom. But they picked themselves up and decided that Darlene would join forces with James and work for the family business. Darlene would take over the bookkeeping, while James would handle deliveries. “Thank God they laid her off,” said James. “If they didn’t, I might still be struggling.”
To take advantage of business support programs like the Whites have, minority and women business enterprises are strongly encouraged to register online to receive:
- A listing in the county’s MWBE database, which is utilized by the county’s departments, private contractors, and others who are looking to do business with MWBE’s
- Email notifications of business opportunities
- Special invitations to workshops, seminars and training to help your business succeed
“The time has never been better for minority and women business enterprises,” said Astorino in the release. “The Whites’ challenge now will be keeping up with the growth of their sales. The county will be with them every step of the way to make sure they have the support they need to succeed.”