Centre County’s Top Defense Contractors – 2000-2008
by Suzan Erem
Centre County is home to 118 defense contractors that have accounted for almost $1.2 billion dollars of federal monies brought back into the community from 2000 to 2008, according to data tracked by the Federal Procurement Data System, a U.S. government Web site that monitors 12 million federal contracts in real time.
But many local contractors are a far cry from Blackwater operatives shooting Iraqis in the middle of a war zone. One is a caterer; another a mechanical bull manufacturer and even a municipal garbage hauler makes the list.
Penn State University won the bulk of defense contracts, to the tune of $1.06 billion over that time, according to Government Contracts Won, a company that aggregates defense contract data and makes it searchable. The university won its contracts listing itself under a variety of categories including “minority institution,” “other educational institution,” “other small business operating in the United States,” “small disadvantaged business,” “other nonprofit institution” and “large business operating in the United States.” No Penn State administrators, including those in the Office of Sponsored Programs in charge of such grants, would make themselves available for an interview. The only information Voices could obtain from the university was funneled through Penn State’s Office of Public Information, whose staff was unfamiliar with specifics of the grants.
Other local contractors are a mix of household names and obscure acronyms. Minitab doesn’t even make the top 10 and Raytheon itself is closer to the bottom 10 though Raytheon’s subsidiary, HRB Systems, Inc., listed separately, brought in $20 million over the past eight years. HRB, like many of the high tech contractors, was founded by a former Penn State researcher.
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