PLUMMER, Idaho - Berg Integrated Systems, an enterprise of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, announced Oct. 2 it has received a five-year contract award with the U.S. Army worth up to $400 million for the production of 210,000-gallon fuel tank bladders. First year revenue projections for the contract will be in excess of $40 million.
The announcement comes after months of negotiations with the Army's TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, headquartered in Warren, Mich., which is one of the Army's largest weapon systems research, development and sustainment organizations.
''I am very proud of the positive growth and direction at Berg Integrated Systems,'' Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Chief Allan said. ''The Coeur d'Alene Tribe set out with a vision to make a real difference in the lives of our membership and the people of northern Idaho. This contract is a major milestone in our initiative to expand our economic portfolio, while also creating sustainable employment opportunities for our future.''
The fuel bladders are part of a larger system called the Inland Petrol Distribution System, which connects four bladders together to store JP-8 fuel used by the military for aircraft, vehicles and most of the military arsenal. When fully deployed, a 210,000 gallon fuel bladder is six feet tall with a footprint of 72 feet by 72 feet.
Ernie Stensgar, a decorated Vietnam veteran and vice chairman of the tribal council, said the contract represents more than just an economic diversification initiative.
''The Coeur d'Alene Tribe and American Indians across the United States have a long, distinguished history of military service,'' Stensgar said. ''Many of the units from our first shipment will be directly deployed to Army personnel currently in the field, including many Native Americans. This contract allows our tribe to continue that tradition of serving our armed forces, with a superior product that is critical to the success of American field operations throughout the world.''
''We are proud the hard work of our executive leadership team at BIS,'' Allan said. ''In less than one year we have successfully brought home a major contract that will infuse millions into our regional economy.''
By the first quarter of 2008, BIS anticipates hiring an additional 40 personnel for full-tilt production, bringing total employment at the facility to nearly 70 people.
The next step for BIS is the production and mandatory testing of their fuel bladder design and manufacturing processes.
''BIS has developed manufacturing technologies for the production of fuel bladders that exist no where else in the world,'' said John Dickson, BIS general manager. ''We believe that our product will be the best quality, using the best materials for superior performance and support of Army personnel. It is very exciting to be positioned as the next U.S. leader in the manufacturing of fuel bladders.''