Founded in 2010, International Steel & Counterweights (ISC) is a steel service center that specializes in providing customers with low cost, quality steel fabrications for use as counterweights, fabrications, weldments, and steel supply. Their mission is to provide the highest-quality products utilizing low-cost raw materials. As such, they are the leading producer of counterweights made from steel, lead, and other metals.
After finding success in the government market early on, the company leveraged the resources and knowledge of the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU, at the time known as the Mahoning Valley PTAC, to grow the company’s government procurement sales. Most recently, Patrick Chesterton, government point of contact for ISC, engaged the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU’s assistance with a couple issues standing between them and a successful bid.
Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU worked with Patrick to quickly resolve both issues. The first issue was a simple IRS validation error preventing the company’s System for Award Management renewal. Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU walked Patrick through the SAM renewal process over the phone. With the IRS validation error resolved and the company’s SAM account renewed for another year, Joseph then switched gears to assist Patrick with the evolving cybersecurity requirements, which apply to Department of Defense contractors.
Patrick was bidding on a Defense Logistics Agency contract for crane testing weights. He had submitted a successful bid and was waiting for the award decision when he learned that the contract could not be awarded until ISC submitted their cybersecurity self-assessment score. This was a new requirement for DoD contractors, which was implemented mere months prior. Everyone, including contract officers and Patrick, were scrambling to keep up with the change.
Although the contract officer attempted to explain this new requirement, Patrick was still unsure of what the new DFARS clauses required of him. Per DFARS 252.204-7019, DoD contractors need to submit their cybersecurity self-assessments, which assesses a company’s implementation of NIST 800-171 cybersecurity controls (which is required under DFARS 252.204-7012), into the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS). Under normal business standards, that was a confusing requirement; however, a potential contract was now on the line. That made everything even more confounding.
Through a virtual meeting, the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU explained the DFARS clauses and developed a plan of action for Patrick to successfully submit his self-assessment score into the SPRS portal. They shared some resources from a past webinar he had hosted that made conducting the cybersecurity self-assessment significantly easier. Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU also shared step-by-step instructions for Patrick to navigate the SPRS portal and upload ISC’s score himself.
“Cybersecurity is a growing concern for all businesses, but especially for those within the defense supply chain,” says the Director of Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU. “I’m glad that we were able to help Patrick quickly resolve the situation.”
Following the successful submittal of the cybersecurity self-assessment score, International Steel and Counterweights was successfully awarded an over $400,000 DLA contract. “It is a source of pride for the team at ISC to support our service women and men, through the DLA,” Patrick says. “We were extremely grateful for the support and excellent counsel of the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU not only for this bid, but in positioning our business for other government opportunities.”