Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Metro Tech Resources Help Agency Director Build A-1

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Metro Tech Resources Help Agency Director Build A-1

Article excerpt

After fighting federal bureaucratic red tape, Jack Womack, director of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority, decided enough is enough.

He then turned the Metro Tech Vocational-Technical Centers to help bring a three-year-old idea to fruition.

The result is A-1 Security Screens Inc.,a start-up company expected to begin production in mid-July to manufacture security window screens for public housing apartments. Within a year, the company also will market the product to private residences, privately owned apartment complexes and "any place in which there is a high incidence of vandalism or burglary."

"I tried going through all the steps of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), but finally turned to Garland McWatters (training coordinator) to see if he and Metro Tech could help us," Womack said. "Now, after doing all that, we finally have gotten HUD to approve regulations which will allow us to buy needed products from a residence-owned company without going through the formal bidding process. That means we can sole-source a product through a company like A-1, save time and money and have a better product while giving people jobs."

McWatters, Bailee Westphalen, a Metro Tech consultant and instructor, Mark Gillett and two members of the advisory board started working on the plan in September, McWatters said.

"We had thought about manufacturing the screens, but nobody had the expertise to do it," he said. "So, we went to Omaha and observed an operation there where they made a similar screen and videotaped the entire process.

"When we came back, we interviewed numerous residents of public housing to see if we could develop a core of potential employees both as manager-trainees and as production workers."

After selecting seven people, they began the training, which required some remedial courses in reading and math for some of the recruits, a complete business course and a crash course in manufacturing. …

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