In 2013, Northern Battery landed a five-year contract supplying vehicle batteries to the Minnesota National Guard. Kirk Donskey, company vice president, worked with SBDC Director Anne Hlavacka to amp up his company’s success with government contracting.
“They helped make sure we had the right paperwork in place, so we were ready,” says Donskey. “That gave us the opportunity to get more aggressive to go after bids.”
Through the SBDC, Donskey connected with Dave Olson, a counselor from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Their combined guidance on competitive bidding helped Northern Battery get the contract.”
“Our goal was to create a direct connection between PTAC resources and our SBDC clients,” says Hlavacka.
Northern Battery is a 42-year old company purchased by Donskey’s father in 1979. The company supplies batteries for all types of vehicles including autos, boats, motorcycles, and RVs. It also provides solutions for stationary power and renewable energy. Headquartered in La Crosse, Northern Battery serves clients in the Upper Midwest and employs 48 people at its five regional facilities.
Through the SBDC, Donskey learned how to stay aware of new opportunities listed through the U.S. General Services Administration and other procurement databases.
“Our goal is to increase competitiveness of Wisconsin companies bidding on state and federal contracts,”Hlavacka says.
Northern Battery’s biggest challenge now is establishing name recognition to pursue additional contracts. “There is a lot of competition,” says Donskey. “We are very excited to have the Minnesota National Guard contract. We hope it might present itself with an opportunity to supply other locations.”