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Northern Virginia Defense Staffing Contractor Opens Local Office

BY AMY YARNALL

A contracting services provider for the U.S. government is setting up shop in San Diego to serve military and government customers here.

The continuing war in Iraq and related war on terrorism are creating more business for companies such as XL Associates Inc.

XL Associates, a Virginia-based company, provides contract management to government agencies.

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Services include acquisition support for federal agencies, including planning and contract administration.

“There is a large amount of government contracting in San Diego,” said Lloyd Mustin, founder and chief executive officer.

The new office in San Diego seeks to foster relationships with government agencies in the area and defense companies such as SAIC Inc., formerly known as Science Applications International Corp.

An Artistic Endeavor

“In 2001 we helped the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (a government agency), we were part of the art gallery’s team,” Mustin said.

“We helped the art gallery with contract management when it needed to renovate its facility and create the optimal platform to showcase art,” said Mustin.

The process is all about precision.

“What we do is a fair process, it’s all about exacting and saving the taxpayers money and making sure things are in the best interest of the federal government,” Mustin said. “We are all taxpayers, we do want to make a living, but I think we are part of something that makes a difference.”

In another contract management project, XL Associates assisted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“We were a subcontractor for a Fortune 500 company. The company was working for a Homeland Security agency that wanted to increase security strategically around the nation’s airports,” Mustin said.

“We provided the on-site contract management to ensure the federal contract obligations were met.”

Airport areas included Washington, D.C., Alaska, Florida and Los Angeles.

On The Rise

The company is growing 40 percent annually and projects $7 million in revenue for 2007.

Revenues in 2006 were at $5 million, according to Mustin.

Of the $7 million in revenue projected for 2007, Mustin said he is anticipating $500,000 to $700,000 will come from its San Diego office.

Most of the company’s 22 employees work in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

About 80 percent of the business is in D.C. and 20 percent is elsewhere.

Mustin’s family history dates back to 1919 when his great-grandfather, Capt. Henry C. Mustin, held the first position as commander of naval air forces at Naval Air Station North Island. Lloyd Mustin is a former Navy captain.

The USS Mustin, commissioned in July 2003 and home-ported in San Diego, carries the Mustin family name.

Tough Competition

Mustin, who opened XL Associates in 1989, said XL’s main competitors are consulting firms and big staffing companies such as publicly held Manpower Inc.

“We do work with federal agencies, providing staffing for companies contracting or subcontracting for a government agency,” including defense-related companies, Paul Holley, spokesman for Manpower, said.

In 2006, Manpower had U.S. sales of $3.2 billion and global revenues of $16.1 billion.

XL Associates is not nearly that large, but that could be a good thing for the company.

“We are completely focused in a narrow niche we can respond quicker and faster and more accurately to client requirements,” Mustin said.

Government contracts take expertise in knowing how to deal with specific government regulations with speed without slowing down the client’s work.

“I would call him in a panic sometimes and say I need a contracting person tomorrow, and he would get one for me,” Sue Davin, manager of procurement for Virginia-based SI International Inc.

Davin used XL Associates’ services when she worked for Xerox Corp. and liked its services so much she retained XL when she went to work for a Fortune 100 company.

She’s known Mustin for more than 15 years.

“He takes really good care of his contractors and has good personal commitment and rapport,” said Davin.

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