Buckeye Fabricating, a client of the Ohio University Procurement Technical Assistance Center (OHIO PTAC) in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, won the prestigious Small Business Vendor of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

The annual award recognizes the top-performing small business working with Jefferson Lab, which works with hundreds of vendors. Jefferson Lab is a nuclear physics laboratory(opens in a new window) supported by the DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the U.S.

Buckeye Fabricating, based in Springboro, Ohio,(opens in a new window) produces customized pressure vessels and process tanks. Jefferson Lab selected Buckeye Fabricating for the award because it was the first company in the Lab’s purchasing history to achieve timely delivery of a large order without compromising quality, said Sales Manager Cheryl Schuster.

“Our company wouldn’t be here without PTAC’s help,” said Schuster. “They helped us achieve this award, which serves as a proof that we can definitely take on big projects and deliver on them as a small business. Failure was not an option. We set a goal, and we met it. This award is a validation of our company’s hard work.”

Founded in 1963, the company had shied away from government contracting, even though they were sought out multiple times, Schuster said. Buckeye Fabricating was wary of the bureaucracy, especially since government contracting was new, unchartered territory for them. Schuster knew that contracting was key to expanding their business, so she reached out to PTAC in 2017. The company has remained a loyal client ever since.

“Buckeye Fabricating has been a model client because they came to us looking to learn,” said Sharon Hopkins, director of OHIO PTAC, part of Ohio’s Procurement Technical Assistance program. “They took advantage of our one-on-one counseling, training and networking opportunities. They listened to us and followed our advice, and they’ve become very successful by doing that.”

Schuster said she learned government marketing basics through PTAC workshops, such as small business matchmaking events. Applying those basics to the real world led to success.

“We couldn’t have gotten this award three or four years ago, since we didn’t even know how to begin doing business with the government,” said Schuster, who has worked with Buckeye Fabricating for more than 27 years. “This company is my second home, and I’m extraordinarily proud of us for rising to the top.”

Hopkins said she is also proud of Buckeye Fabricating for winning this, the “Academy Award” in the business community.

“When our clients succeed, it makes us very happy,” Hopkins said. “We’re always pleased to have a client that feels like they’ve found success with PTAC’s help.”

Hardika Singh | May 6, 2020