After a successful 36-year career as a professional petroleum geologist and engineering business manager, David Brewer took over at Tehama LLC as the general manager in 2013. He successfully guided Tehama to a position of growth and profitability in four short years.
1600 Genessee St., Ste. 754
Kansas City, MO 64102
Thanks to that success, Brewer was named as the 2018 Kansas City District Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“David Brewer serves as a great example of the leadership skills necessary to develop the company into a high-functioning federal contractor and to contribute to a local and cultural economy,” SBA Kansas City District Director Malcolm Richards said.
Tehama, founded in 2009, is tribally owned by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. It is one of eight businesses owned by the tribe, operating under the management of Tepa LLC. Tehama provides environmental consulting and engineering services to federal, state and municipal governments.
The tribe receives 100 percent of the net profits from Tehama, which are used in part to support community programs and tribal infrastructure projects.
Tehama entered the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program in 2013, and Brewer worked with the SBA to acquire small business contracts with federal agencies.
In 2014, Tehama entered the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program and established its first mentor-protégé joint venture in 2015. From an initial $2,500 contract award to the current $105 million total contract awards (including $82 million in SBA offer letters), Brewer has led Tehama’s growth in both headcount and revenue. The firm has grown from one employee to 58, and from $235,000 in revenue in 2014 to $11 million in 2017.
In 2017, Tehama won the 8(a) Company of the Year award in the KC District, along with two other Tepa companies.
Tehama engages in multiple SBA assistance programs that have boosted its success. The 8(a) Business Development Program has allowed Tehama to offer its clients contracting benefits that accelerate the acquisition process. The mentor-protégé pairing of Tehama and HDR EOC Inc. allows Tehama to build skills, expertise and a client base with the experienced guidance of a larger company.
“The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program was well-suited for Tehama because we were a startup business without any clients or proven project performance,” Brewer said. “The 8(a) program helped us compete for our first federal environmental consulting contracts, which we successfully delivered, and allowed us to partner with HDR EOC Inc., one of the best in the business, to mentor us as we further developed our capabilities, expertise and client base.”
The SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search database opens up additional opportunities for Tehama to be seen by procurement officers in search of approved 8(a) companies.
“We are anticipating continued growth and diversification within our service offerings in the near future, and we are considering the addition of offices across the country,” Brewer said. “We look forward to maintaining our outstanding partnership with the SBA and Ken Surmeier, our business specialist.”
Brewer is active in professional and community organizations, including the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Heartstrings and Sunflower House. He also has taken advantage of government contracting workshops, Small Business Development Center workshops, conferences (such as SAME’s Federal Small Business Engagement conference) and 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance training sessions.
“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact of small businesses in the Kansas City area and beyond by sharing their inspirational stories of success, resilience and determination,” SBA Regional Administrator Tom Salisbury said. “It’s my honor to celebrate the entrepreneurs who use innovation to solve problems, create jobs and make a difference in our local communities.”