Woman-owned Engineering Firm Finds Opportunity in Government Contracting
AREHNA Engineering, Inc. of Hillsborough County
Nearly 14 years ago, Jessica McRory went from being a geotechnical engineer at a large consulting firm to launching her own firm with a business partner. In 2009 she opened AREHNA Engineering, Inc., a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm in Tampa.
With the onset of COVID-19, McRory reached out to the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at University of South Florida seeking growth opportunities.
“I was interested in learning more about federal opportunities,” McRory said. “A little over a year ago, I reached out and have been working with the PTAC ever since.”
From there, she was paired with procurement specialist Karen Krymski, who was able to assist her in the Paycheck Protection Program loan process.
“At that time PTAC was a wonderful resource in gaining a better understanding of the PPP loan process, which we were successful in applying for and having forgiven,” McRory said. “That was really important for my business. The PTAC provided, Karen specifically, a lot of information and was a great resource through that process.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was able to test materials at a faster and easier rate, due to less traffic being on the roadways. McRory utilized that time to work on infrastructure and utility projects, as well as other business endeavors.
“We also have been working on the woman-owned small business certification and getting all of the paperwork in to apply for that,” she said. “In that time, we’ve continued to be successful on many local government agency contracts. Our meetings and the guidance that I have received have been very helpful in those efforts.”
As she continues to work on new projects and grow, McRory plans to continue utilizing the resources and help she has received at the Florida PTAC at USF. She also says she is grateful to have Krymski as a continued resource.
“She just has her finger on the pulse of a lot of the federal opportunities, a lot of contact,” McRory said. “I feel like I have a long way to go. I’ve come a long way but I’ve got a long way to go in properly positioning ourselves for that type of work. I just hope to continue to work with PTAC. I have found a lot of value in it.”