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Shaping the Business Community Through Government Contracting

By GSI Member Partner Nick Gonzales, Vice President, Bouten Construction Company

Government Contracting

***This story first appeared in the 2023 GSI Connect Magazine, which can found on our About Us page. Connect with us and learn how your company can apply for government contracts.

From a commercial contractor’s perspective, there are numerous—and, on the surface, somewhat self-serving—benefits to pursuing government contracts.

Because they tend to be larger, more long-term endeavors, these types of projects provide a steady stream of work and income over multiple years, making revenue and project backlogs more predictable across the entire contracting chain. This is especially true in times of recession or economic uncertainty when private funding becomes scarcer and infrastructure spending starts to heat up.

We at Bouten Construction Company have found that government contracts can mean more sophisticated projects. The building of a life sciences facility, for example, enables us to develop specialized expertise. That expertise improves our reputation and positioning for future work, offers the potential for securing related follow-on projects, and provides opportunities both for growth and for the extension of successful relationships. When you perform well on high-visibility projects like these, it’s a competitive advantage when marketing to new clients and partners.

But there’s more to government contracts than Bouten’s bottom line.

The scale, complexity, and stability of government projects enable commercial construction firms like ours to magnify benefits through their trade partner networks and channel advantages toward their communities—creating positive ripple effects in local economic activity and community assets.

This is a big deal for our trade partners because it opens up opportunities to collaborate on major public projects that may be outside their normal scope of work, allowing them to develop experience and gain exposure to new contracting agencies. This has the added benefit of expanding the trade partner pool in a way that directly benefits owners, providing them not only with greater expertise but also with more accurate estimating.

Government contracting also ensures full and fair opportunities for small businesses, minority-owned firms, and those in historically underutilized business zones. With more and more of our clients seeing the benefits of promoting economic inclusion and participation, Bouten has been hosting informational meetings for trade partners and design consultants promoting awareness of—and certification by—the Washington State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises. While some just need help navigating the process, others are learning about the program for the first time.

There are community benefits as well. Government construction projects bring an infusion of investment and upgrades to infrastructure, facilities, and services. They provide economic growth through local hiring and spending. Both general contractors and trade partners need local equipment, materials, and labor, which in turn creates jobs and revenue for related businesses in the community and throughout the region. What’s more, these kinds of investments also have a direct impact on the livability and connectivity of neighborhoods.

At Bouten, we’ve found that government contracting not only contributes to our own growth, but also creates jobs and promotes equitable opportunities across our entire industry. It’s good for us, it’s good for our clients and trade partners, and it’s good for our communities.

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