SBA: Local Native American Sewer and Water Construction Company Helps the Troops

Jan Nienow-(414) 297-1096

New Berlin: Native American brothers Norb and Jeff Dretzka appreciate the job the troops are doing to keep America a safe place for our families. Norb & Jeff are able to assist our troops by the production of 3” thick right and left-hand bulletproof ballistic windows designed for the HMMWV.

Norb and Jeff started a sewer and water construction company called Underground Pipeline, Inc, (UPI) in 1984 that is now located in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Construction work is seasonal often forcing winter layoffs and coupled with today’s skyrocketing insurance and fuel costs, desirable margins in Wisconsin have dwindled. In 2003, Jeff & Norb decided to expand UPI to include a manufacturing business and UPI, Mfg. was launched. This expansion would potentially provide year-round work with less operating over-head.

In April of 2004, UPI, Mfg. became an SBA certified 8(a) client and certified Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB). In December of 2004, UPI Mfg. was awarded their first Federal contract worth $520.00. Since that auspicious beginning, they have received thirty-two contract awards of which twenty-five have been completed and shipped. One of those contracts resulted in the set-aside bulletproof ballistic windows listed above. These windows are in such demand that each contract is accompanied by a HIGH PRIORITY BACK ORDER request. UPI has been able to ship each contract earlier than the due date—one as early as four months early.

For twenty years, UPI has remained a registered small business, bidding against local and national sewer and water companies for contracts and never taking advantage of their Native American heritage via the government’s 8(a) set-aside program. Today UPI is still a successful sewer and water construction company employing 37 people and doing $8 to $10 million dollars in annual sales. The UPI Mfg. operation has grown substantially requiring them to move to a larger facility of their own that employs five people with projected sales of $4.8 million.

Underground Pipeline lives by their active mission statement, “Deeds Not Words.” SBA is proud to have been of assistance to this successful Native American business.

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