David Mugrage retired in 1995 from the US Navy as a Lieutenant Commander and looked forward to years of relaxation and serenity. He and his wife, Dotty, bought several acres of property in western North Carolina where they worked every weekend to build their dream log home. The two completed the home and soon learned about a state land stewardship program. Putting rest and relaxation on hold, the two turned their property into a white pine farm named “Double D Ranch & Tree Farm,” now managed by Dotty. The pair continued to work – Dotty as the Foundation Director at a community college and David as a part-time temporary worker with a local power company.
During David’s time with the power company, they noticed his skill and attention to detail. They wanted him to work on a nuclear outage project full-time, but couldn’t come to an agreement. One of the negotiators suggested that David use his skill set to start his own business. Realizing that he had the discipline, knowledge and determination to make it happen, David began the process of establishing his own business.
“My experience with the SBTDC has been nothing short of excellent.”
Headquartered in Morganton, North Carolina, Maintenance & Inspection Services (MIS) was incorporated in 2000. The service-disabled, veteran-owned small business provides technical services including non-destructive testing of metal, heat exchanger cleaning and maintenance, machining, fabrication, welding and pipe fitting, as well as engineering, quality assurance, planning services and training to military and non-military businesses.
In June 2005, David contacted Appalachian State University’s SBTDC office to receive assistance on a request for quote and proposal for a long-term government contract. Mark Mills, then a procurement counselor for the North Carolina Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), provided assistance with what David calls “a million questions”. Mark’s work with David resulted in a 5-year, multimillion dollar long-term contract – the first MIS had won.
MIS was accepted into the Department of Defense’s three-year Mentor-Protégé Program in 2007 through the United States Navy with QED Systems of Virginia as their mentor. David called on the SBTDC for assistance in developing a strategic plan to position the company to become a prime contractor. In the first year of the program, SBTDC business counselors, Kevin McConnaghy and John Manderewicz, provided strategic planning, market and trade research, and marketing plan development services to MIS. As a result of QED’s mentoring and the SBTDC’s assistance, MIS was awarded a prime contract under the NAVSEA Seaport-e Solicitation. In the second year, MIS focused its attention on the execution of plans developed during the first year. The SBTDC assisted MIS with an evaluation of the existing organization and personnel, identified potential business partners and market expansion opportunities, which lead to a travel assistance service which supports the company.
David appreciates the SBTDC’s assistance and says “MIS has improved its operations and business positioning as a direct result of support provided by the SBTDC.” Today, MIS has operating facilities in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, and Hawaii. MIS has grown from 8 to 22 full-time employees and has almost 40 part-time employees on payroll. Another testament to their success is that MIS was nominated for the Nunn-Perry Mentor-Protégé of the Year Award and received it due to support from the SBTDC and their mentor, QED.
“My experience with the SBTDC has been nothing short of excellent” he says.