Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis (LHB), a not-for-profit manufacturing and packaging organization with a dedicated social service mission, has won a $19.5 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency, which is the Department of Defense's largest logistics combat support agency.

One segment of the two-phase, seven year, noncompete contact is for manufacturing, packaging, order fulfillment and shipping of paints, primers and latex paint including enamel paints, aerosol enamel alkyd paints, aerosol fluorescent lacquer, aerosol acrylic lacquer, aerosol primer coating, general purpose, aerosol primer coating, ferric oxide aerosol primer coating, zinc chromate, aerosol obliterating compound, and latex paints. That segment is valued $17,545,856. The other contract segment is for manufacturing, packaging, order fulfillment and shipping of corrosion preventative compounds. That segment is valued at $1,954,681.

John Thompson, president of Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis, also known as LHB Industries., Inc., said, “Our entire team is extremely proud to be awarded this very significant contract. In addition, we are especially honored that Lt. Gen. Andrew E. Busch, Director of the Defense Logistics Agency, personally visited our plants to meet and talk with employees at every level.

“Not every company gets to meet a three-star general,” Thompson said. “We consider General’s Busch’s visit a testament to the high quality of our skilled employees and our diverse, high-quality products.”

Brian Houser, LHB director of sales and marketing, said, “We received our initial incoming product orders from the DLA under the new contract the week of February 8, 2016. All departments of the U.S. military will use these Lighthouse products, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.”

LHB will not hire additional full-time employees in the near term, but will engage temporary or part-time employees, as needed, to fulfill the DLA contact, Houser said.

LHB has a total of 47 legally blind employees at two manufacturing plants in St. Louis County; approximately 36 of that number will be involved with the DLA contract. Order entry and contract administration will occur at LHB’s headquarters plant in Overland; manufacturing will occur at LHB’s plant in Berkeley.

“Everyone at LHB was impressed when General Busch and his entourage visited us,” Houser said. “The general is quite distinguished, and he was very generous with his time during the visit. He was very curious about our operations, he asked very pointed questions of our management team and he visited with in-plant employees.

“Winning this contract was a very big deal for us, and the general’s commitment to get to know our operations also was a very big deal,” Houser said.

The Defense Logistics Agency, based in Virginia, provides worldwide logistics support in both peacetime and wartime to U.S. military services as well as other federal agencies and partner nation armed forces with a full spectrum of logistics, acquisition and technical services. DLA sources and provides nearly all of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate – from food, fuel and energy to uniforms, medical supplies and construction materials. With facilities in 48 states and 28 countries, DLA also supplies nearly 90 percent of the military’s spare parts and manages the reutilization of military equipment.

LHB’s total revenues for 2015 were approximately $24 million. The new DLA contract is expected to add about $2.785 million a year to LHB revenues. All sales revenues directly support Lighthouse programs including professional Career Development; Special Technology and Adaptive Resources for Students (STARS); Summer Jobs for Students; Continuing Education; Arts & Entertainment Accessibility; Low Vision Aid; and others for individuals who are legally blind and visually impaired in Missouri and Southwestern Illinois.

Founded in 1933, LHB is a nonprofit 501(c)3 enterprise that helps children and adults who are visually impaired maintain dignity and independence by offering employment, education and support services.

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