Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. was chartered as a not-for-profit corporation on October 20, 1999 in the state of Missouri. It was organized for the fundamental charitable purpose of providing education, training and vocational opportunities for blind and severely handicapped individuals. Seed money and in kind contributions for legal and accounting fess and other expenses of organization were donated by a Missouri corporation. Shortly after receiving its charter a board of directors was established. Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. first board of directors was as follows:
President of Board (resigned May 25, 2001); added November 2006 as member Springfield, MO
St. Charles, MO 63304
Springfield, MO 64807
Springfield, MO 65802
In early 2000 Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. had discussions with NISH and Fort Riley, Kansas concerning the possibility of setting aside the post laundry service for JWOD procurement. Thus, Great Plains Enterprises set up a post office box in Junction City and registered to do business in Kansas. The President/Treasurer and Secretary were not compensated at that time and Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. did not have a physical office in Junction City, Kansas, hence the post office box address. Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. had great hopes of establishing a physical laundry plant in Junction City, Kansas to offer employment to severely handicapped individuals and perform the laundry services for Fort Riley which was closing the government owned laundry plant. However, the government decided to solicit laundry services from commercial contractors and would not accept the NISH/Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. proposal.
In February 2001 Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. was contacted by NISH to discuss interest in JWOD set-aside commissary contract at Fort Irwin, California. The current JWOD contractor was declining to continue the operations and NISH was seeking a qualified organization to take over the contract. Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. acquired the services of John H. Stephens who had previous experience with government contracted commissary operations to spearhead this endeavor. After meeting with NISH personnel and examining the operations at the Fort Irwin Commissary, Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. agreed to take over the contract and it was awarded to them. The operation at the Fort Irwin Commissary has been and is still successfully operated by Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. employing and training handicapped individuals by working closely with local rehabilitation placement agencies.
Because Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. had no other business activities ongoing at this time, they had to ramp up quickly to get going and perform in a professional manner. Not having any other base of operations to support administrative functions meant they had to contract with medical, legal, and accounting professionals to make sure they were in compliance with the JWOD program, the Federal government contract, and state and local government laws, rules, and regulations. This outsourcing of professional services worked very well for Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. Not only were they able to obtain the best available service, they only had to pay for what was used and not for full time staff with non-full time work.
After demonstrating success at Fort Irwin, NISH offered and Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. accepted the Fort Hood I Commissary contract at Fort Hood, Texas in July 2001. This was a JWOD set aside and the current JWOD contractor could not reach an agreement with the government over price and decided to terminate their participation. Again, Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. stepped in and performed successfully until September 2005 when the government decided to take the operations back in house.
John H. Stephens was appointed President and Terry Schultz was appointed Corporate Secretary in January 2004.
Then in May 2004 NISH contacted Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. about the possibility of taking over the Nellis AFB Commissary contract. The JWOD contractor was struggling, having difficulty financially and performance issues. Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. accepted and was awarded the contract. With a customer service attitude, Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. again stepped in to establish a great relationship with the store manager and provide a stable business like management at the same time meeting NISH and JWOD priorities for employing and training handicapped persons.
Fast forward to July 2006, Yuma MCAS Commissary. The incumbent JWOD contractor was operating at a deficit and could not reach a price accord with the government. Again, Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. stepped up to the plate, instituted good fiscal management, goes the extra mile to train personnel, and successfully manages the contract meeting goals for the government and JWOD. Today, the MCAS contract is managed by Ms Dee Ochoa and employees, 13 severely disabled individuals.
In July 2007 NISH again contacted Great Plains Enterprises, this time offering a new contract at Altus AFB, Altus OK that had just been added to the Procurement List. As the current contract was commercial, this opportunity presented enormous obstacles at start-up just two weeks later. There were no disabled employees on-board, no one with JWOD (now known as AbilityOne) experience to manage the operation and little time to garner a management team to commence operation on August 1, 2007. Nonetheless, GPE tackled the challenge enthusiastically, developing relationships with local Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), hiring and training management personnel, bringing in a start-up team to hire, train and acquire the requisite tools to successfully run the operation at Altus. This process was complicated by Altus’ location in western Oklahoma, making logistics difficult.
GPE submitted an 18 month transition plan to NISH attempting to fulfill the 75% disabled employee requirement by January 2009. Proudly, GPE exceeded the disabled quota by June 2008 and today employs 82% disabled employees.
Mr. George Flowers is the Project Manager at Altus Oklahoma.
In recent years, GPE has attempted to expand its’ service line to laundry operations having worked with NISH on conversion of the Ft. Leonard Wood laundry from an on-post government operation to a commercial GPE/NISH laundry in 2007. However, once again, the government decided to retain the operation and today it remains an on-post operation.
In January 2009, GPE developed another laundry proposal to process linen, linen rental and garrison laundry. The proposals were accepted by Blanchfield Army Hospital and Fort Campbell. Work on the two contracts began June 1, 2009.
GPE continues its’ pursuit of new business which will provide meaningful employment and training to this country’s disabled. It continues its’ business model of employ contract specialist for proposals and start-up operations, choosing this paradigm because of the built in leverage.
GPE is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.
History and Organization (Word Document)