More work is coming to the Rock Island Arsenal. The Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center is starting a new public-private partnership that is a first of its kind.
At 9am on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, Col. Jim Fly with JMTC, and Tom Kelly with Mack Defense signed a partnership agreement. It is the first PPP under a new law, backed by Representatives Bobby Schilling and Dave Loebsack, that lifts the cap of how many PPPs an arsenal or depot can have.
Mack Defense, located in North Carolina, is a subsidiary of Mack Trucks which is part of Volvo Group, but their interest in the Arsenal is based on demand to grow in the defense industry.
Kelly, who grew up in the Quad Cities and graduated from Rock Island High School, says having a partnership with the Arsenal adds “instant credibility” to his company.
The partnership will combine the expertise and experience of Mack Defense with JMTC’s skilled labor force as well as highlight the Quad Cites’ strong manufacturing base.
With the Department of Defense trying to figure out where to cut $847 billion from its budget over the next 10 years, Arsenal leaders say this kind of agreement could also help keep them off the chopping block.
“It helps to defray my overhead costs that would normally be charged to the Department of Defense and lower my rates, make things more affordable for them and for everybody so it’s saving taxpayer dollars and it also keeps our skills up by doing it,” says Col. Fly.
“We hope, in spite of the apparent budget reductions, there is a real opportunity, we think, in terms of providing a quality product that absolutely meets the government’s needs and actually provides value in the end back to the taxpayers,” says Kelly.
Kelly says some small projects are already in the works and they expect even bigger projects in the future, which could lead to more jobs.
The contract adds to a number of public-private partnerships, or PPPs, that JMTC already has with companies like Sivyer Steel and MANDUS Group.