Historically, Black Americans have been skittish about federal contracting and doing business with the government. Middle-class Blacks have relied on public sector jobs for professional growth and upward mobility. Today, there are opportunities in Washington for Black federal contractors to enter into contracts to perform specific jobs, supply labor and materials, or sale of products and services. Hundreds of retired black generals and admirals have done well here on the military’s contracting.
The D.C. area is a bustling business metropolis, playing host to numerous Fortune 500 companies spanning a wide array of industries. These are among the area’s largest:
• Lockheed Martin is clearly the Washington area’s largest federal contractor. With $90 billion in contracts, Lockheed Martin is a military contractor known for its supersonic fighter aircrafts. Lockheed manufactures products for various industries, including space, telecommunications, electronics, aeronautics and energy. The Bethesda company designs the F-16 fighter jets, the F-35 stealth fighter as well as other advanced aircraft and munitions systems. Its aeronautics division makes combat aircraft and UAVs, Lockheed has 97,000 employees worldwide. Lockheed is a large employer of military veterans, with one in five of its employees having served in the armed forces.
• Danaher is a D.C.-based diversified industrial and medical conglomerate that operates in a number of different industries, developing tools, conducting scientific research, and operating drinking water purification systems. The $65 billion a year firm was built largely through acquisitions and has the following segments: life sciences, diagnostics, dental, including orthodontic bracket systems and lab products. Danaher’s dental products are used in more than 95 percent of the world’s dentist offices.
• General Dynamics is another diversified defense company that offers a variety of products, including combat vehicles, weapons systems, nuclear-powered submarines and aircrafts. Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, the $59.78 billion firm’s Marine Systems division is a major shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy. General Dynamics provides cyber security, communications systems, computers for use in harsh environments. General Dynamics posted 2017 revenues of more than $31 billion.
• Northrop Grumman is a $52.3 billion firm located in Falls Church. Northrop Grumman is a defense and security company known for its military equipment, bombers, satellites and drones. With its 67,000 employees, it is the third-largest military contractor in the world. Northrop’s business segments include : Aerospace systems, which includes aircraft and spacecraft; electronic systems, which makes radars and sensors; information systems, which manufactures products used for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance; and technical services, including training and simulation. The company is designing and constructing an $8.8 billion observatory that is meant to capture the oldest light in the universe. Northrop’s total sales in 2016 amounted to $24.5 billion.
• Science Applications International Corporation is headquartered in Reston, Virginia. It employs 15,000 people and has annual revenues in the $4.5 billion range. The corporation provides government services and information technology support.
• Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. is an American management and information technology consulting firm, sometimes referred to as a government-services company, headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Booz Allen Hamilton professionals serve clients across industries that include financial services, energy, health care and manufacturing.
Dealing with the government is formidable. The Office of Government Contracting works to create an environment for maximum participation by small, disadvantaged and female-owned businesses in federal government and large prime subcontract awards.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.