Kearney, Nebraska –
Catering to the needs of federal government clients is precisely what Dick and Cheryl Cochran of Mom and Dad’s BBQ and Catering in Kearney had in mind when they took the advice of the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) and Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Consultant Chuck Beck.
Beck reached out to the Cochrans in June 2021 when the Nebraska National Guard released a “Sources Sought” inquiry for statewide meals and subsistence. Cheryl Cochran owns the family business, RCCOCHRAN, Inc., while Dick Cochran has significant experience through his Hot Meals USA non-profit organization feeding large groups of people after natural disasters, as well as providing meals and food packages to at-risk families in need. Their son, David, also works at their Kearney restaurant.
Working with the couple as RCCOCHRAN, Inc., Beck assisted them with setting up a System for Award Management (SAM) Registration and Small Business Administration (SBA) Profile, and helped review their National Guard solicitation. RCCOCHRAN submitted a response, and was notified in July 2021 that it was one of two companies selected for a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with the Nebraska National Guard.
Beck has since met with the Cochrans to discuss the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program, and provided information to help them prepare to complete the WOSB application. Once the company becomes WOSB certified, the couple plan to reach out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register as a vendor.
Dick Cochran says the couple have owned the restaurant for nearly 10 years, beginning as a franchise and then working independently. “We take pride in using our own rubs and sauces,” he says.
He says they appreciated being able to tap into Beck’s experience in order to open the door to government contracting opportunities. “He understands the paperwork side of things, and he’s up-to-date on all the regulations,” Cochran says. “He’s also very good at explaining things step-by-step.”
A former regional vice president for Schwan’s Home Delivery food service, Cochran has experience providing meals after many natural disasters, including Hurricane Hugo when it struck North Carolina in 1989. “We also lived 11 miles from Joplin, Missouri, when the tornado came through in 2011,” he recalls. “We hit the ground running the next morning to cook and serve meals for the people there.”
Cochran says he and his wife appreciate Beck’s diligence in linking them to potential government catering opportunities. “If anybody wants to start a business or is interested in dealing with the government,” he says, “NBDC is the first place they should reach out to.”
The Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) helps Nebraska businesses start, grow and develop, by strengthening Nebraska businesses for a healthy economy and prosperous communities. NBDC is a University of Nebraska at Omaha center that provides confidential consulting business development services across Nebraska to entrepreneurs and business owners for the life cycle of their business. NBDC partners with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College to deliver its services statewide. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the U.S. Department of Commerce (EDA), and other federal, state and private organizations support NBDC. Visit nbdc.unomaha.edu for more information.
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