Cherokee Asphalt Solutions LLC (CAS) is a Native American owned, Chicago-based company that provides asphalt pavement preservation, maintenance and installation solutions for airports, roadways and parking lots.
When Andrew Johnson, president of CAS, first started working with the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the College of DuPage, his focus was on obtaining an MBE or 8(a) certification and thinking it was going to be a long road to winning business and achieving profitability. However, in less than a year and with guidance from Rita Haake and Amber Gardner, he was able to secure multiple federal contracts.
Johnson stated, "Rita's depth of knowledge and understanding of government contracting was instrumental in the wins. She was able to give a personalized overview of government contracting basics and opportunities. In addition, Haake provided advice regarding marketing efforts to ensure CAS was presented in the most positive manner."
Andrew applied this information and it was not long before he was requesting solicitation reviews and clarification for specific FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) clauses related to the different contracts he was bidding on. During this process, certification became less of a priority because numerous active opportunities were discovered. It also became apparent that contracts could be won without having a certification.
Even with the initial success of the company, Rita has followed up with Andrew to help him pursue DBE certifications that will allow the company to be eligible for even more opportunities. The importance of this became even more apparent after she received a bid notification from a large prime looking for certified DBEs (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) subcontractors to work at our major airport, O'Hare Airport.
Andrew can definitely state that his success was due to Rita and Amber's support, advice, assistance and guidance.
Business Development Center
535 Duane Street, Office 233
Glen Ellyn IL 60137
Rita Haake, Center Manager
Phone: (630) 942-2184
Fax: (630) 942-2606
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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