Tom Daschbach is president and CEO of TD Support Services, a government contracting, medical staffing and security services company. He served in the Air Force for 27 years, and served as vice president of business and Industry development for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce for six years before starting his business.
You started the company just a little more than a decade ago. What was it like to enter a world where there are several multinational corporations that have established footprints in the defense industry?
It was fun and challenging to get it going. We bootstrapped the company in the sense that we didn’t take out a loan to get the company going. I put minimal money into it myself, and then we got it going, and have continued to grow. Our first contracts were in Colorado Springs, and it really just blossomed from there.
It was truly a case of jumping in and starting to row, in terms of getting it going. It must have been a year or two after we got started, and we began as a service-disabled veteran small business, but most of the contracts we have were obtained just by being a small business.
Now we find our contracts by websites, from word-of-mouth, and we have contracting offices calling us and asking us to bid on contracts. It’s never a guarantee that you’re going to win a bid, or that kind of thing, but we have an excellent reputation built over 10 years.
You served at the Chamber of Commerce for several years. Are there any lessons or things you learned about the community that proved useful in your current position?
I had just come out of the military, and was walking around, like, ‘What is this civilian stuff again?’
So it was an adjustment. I had been in 27 years, had a blast, but then left and went to go work for the chamber, and I just learned a lot about the community. It oriented me to civilian life in a nice way. I met a lot of great people. We had over 300 volunteers supporting the chamber, and that was fantastic. Small business was one of our primary focuses.
With deficit spending becoming more of a political issue, is there any sense of concern about the Department of Defense budget being reduced?
It’s amazing how the defense business is changing rather dramatically. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have really sucked off a lot of money. The Department of Defense budget is going to decrease more and more. I think it’s really important for small businesses like us to make sure you have a strategy for the future.
The defense budget will pretty much be reduced by 50 percent by 2020 or 2040. … A lot of the big buys in terms of aircraft, or purchases by the Air Force, heavy equipment for the Army and so forth are going to be dead and de-scoped. It will be important for us to, not really reinvent ourselves, but to tailor ourselves and keep our ears to the ground in terms of the requirements that the DOD has.