Milan business wants government to favor “Made in the USA” deals

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MILAN, Illinois -

A Quad City company is sounding off about firms that do business with the federal government from foreign countries.

Honsa Ergonomic Technologies says it's losing out when it comes to landing contracts.

Honsa currently does about one-fifth of its business with the feds.

That includes work with the Air Force and Navy.

"We competed against the five major brands and won that business," said owner Tom Honsa.

Business that helped this 30-year-old Mom-and-Pop shop with 10 employees to post its best quarter ever.

"If we have a better product, why not use it?" he asked.

But getting more government work is a tough sell placed against offshore competition.

"They make their products in China to sell it to the government and don't pay taxes," he said.

While foreign-made parts may be cheaper, they aren't necessarily the best bargains for the government and taxpayers.

"Most of the Chinese things are throw-aways," he continued.  "It's a short term look at a long term issue."

Honsa's most senior staffer, Brett Casper, designs tools used all over the world.

"When we create a job here, it creates jobs outside of here as well," Casper said.  "That improves everybody's standard of living."

Owner Tom Honsa made his point with Ford and others in the automotive industry.

"The tools they were using were offshore tools, and they were breaking," he said.

Ford is now his biggest client.

"Everyone is always launching something new, so it's an endless stream," he said.

Honsa will be honored in coming days as Small Business of the Year by the National Defense Industrial Association.

His small business continues to have big plans.

Some of them include government work.

"We pay taxes every year," he concluded.  "It's just difficult to compete with that."