The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a major maintenance contract to a Washington electrical contractor. B & D Electric has received a $20 million contract to provide electrical maintenance at the base over the next three years.
"They had bid the maintenance project a little differently this year and we had worked on it for several months," said B & D Office Manager Jackie Daily. "It is really wonderful to land the contract. It feels very good."
B & D is no stranger to Crane. While it has done projects at schools and libraries in the area, about 90 percent of its work is at Crane.
"The original owner began doing projects there in the 1960s," said Daily. "Now the bulk of our work is there."
Under the contract, B & D, located at 413 W. VanTrees St., will be handling much of the maintenance, repair and updates of the electrical system not only at the main Crane base, but also at the Glendora Lake facility in Sullivan County. The company employs around 12 people.
"Our workforce will be determined by what work Crane calls for us to do," said Daily.
Local officials call the contract not just good news for a local business, but evidence of the business relationship between Crane and the neighboring communities.
"Back in 2003, when Crane went through the Base Realignment and Closure review, there was a lot of concern about the jobs directly tied to the base," said Executive Director Ron Arnold with the Daviess County Economic Development Corp. "We knew the impact would be much larger than just those who work there. There are dozens of businesses in the area like B&D that contract with the Navy and Department of Defense."
One of the most obvious places showing the companies doing direct business with the military at Crane is at the WestGate Tech Park, but those are just part of the total equation.
"That base accounts for a lot more jobs and economic activity than most people recognize," said Arnold.
With the addition of Purdue to the WestGate operation, it appears that the number of locally connected contracts to military projects in Indiana may expand. Last month, an initial meeting for the Purdue Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation was held with around 40 contractors from around the area taking part.
"This is an arm that is expected to help more contractors land projects and jobs not just at Crane but at other military projects around the state," said Arnold.