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Behind the list with Glen DeWillie

Executive vice president of Buchart Horn Inc./Basco Associate

Q: What type of work does Buchart Horn Inc. do for the Department of Defense?
A:
We are primarily focused on facilities. We do master planning and space allocation (for) the renovation of existing buildings. We did designs of new facilities at (Fort) Indiantown Gap. We designed computer-simulation facilities (there). We have a major open-end contract with Fort Indiantown Gap. But we also did work in Middletown with the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Air National Guard.

Q: How have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affected business? Are you busier because of the wars?
A:
We did do some work in Afghanistan. We did structural work on the hardening of facilities. We did structural modifications to the roofs and frames of buildings to resist overhead explosions. Historically, we have done a lot of base-camp work. We just completed a base camp in Romania. We worked in 19 countries just out of our European office. We have two offices in Germany. They do German commercial design and some environmental assessment and sustainable design, also.

Q: How much of Buchart Horn’s work is through defense contracts?
A:
We’ve averaged about $5 million a year in DoD, and our average revenues are $38 million a year. Normally, 13 to 15 percent is DoD, and we ran in the 20 percent range around 2001 and 20002. We experienced another surge when (a round of) the Base Realignment and Closure was announced (in 2005). BRAC closed many bases and consolidated others.

Q: What does a change of administration next month mean for Buchart Horn? Less work since President-elect Barack Obama wants to bring American troops home from war as soon as possible?
A:
In reviewing both candidates’ platforms, they both called for an increase in Army strength. While we don’t know where that will be, there is a greater chance it will be here in the U.S. It could mean more work. They found in this wartime experience that there is a greater need for an occupational strength. (Obama and McCain) shared this platform. That could lead to new training facilities, new barracks.

Q: Do you foresee less or more work throughout Obama’s whole term?
A:
It will be a gradual ramping (up) since we have been able to establish a date of withdrawal. It will uncoil over the next few years. As that gradual reduction takes place, we will be planning for the simultaneous increases here at home. President Bush’s “Grow the Army” campaign started unfolding this year, from which we saw projects designed to increase barracks and the ability to station a lot of the forces increased. In January of 2007 (the military) asked for a 75, 000-soldier increase across the active Guard and soldier forces. We will see that for the next several years.

Q: How has the struggling economy affected your DoD contract work?
A:
We haven’t experienced (a slowdown). The BRAC program and the “Grow the Army” program are major federally funded programs. We have had one of the best fourth-quarter sales. They were appropriated and funded years ago, starting in 2005. In the Baltimore district alone, that is $1 billion worth of construction. We designed some of it and construction-managed some it.

Q: Is DoD work unaffected by the economy in general?
A:
I wouldn’t say it’s untouchable. There is give and take. There is discretionary money at the installation level. Much of that funding was withdrawn and put into the global war on terror. That zapped a lot of the installation-level funding. Funded initiatives are happening. But we’re not immune to it. Things have slowed down in certain parts.

Q: How will your future DoD work change?
A:
I see this next generation of development, and we are starting to look at things sustainably. That is an exciting part of it. –

 

About Glen DeWille

Glen DeWillie joined York-based Buchart Horn Inc./ Basco Associates four years ago after a 26-year Army career, stationed in Buffalo, N.Y., and a stint with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
DeWillie earned a bachelor of science degree in 1983 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a concentration in civil engineering and geography.
The executive vice president of Buchart Horn hails from Olmsted Falls, Ohio, near Cleveland. He and his wife, Michaela, now call Hummelstown home. The couple have three children, Erin, who is a sophomore at Virginia Tech; Brian, a senior at Hershey High School; and Kevin, a sophomore at Hershey.
In his free time, DeWillie spends a lot of time volunteering with youth activities and sports. He’s active in his church and enjoys fly fishing. He even makes his own flies.
The Business Journal spoke to DeWillie about defense contractor work amid the turbulent economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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