A Scotia business will become one of two service-disabled veteran-owned companies in Schenectady County to participate in a special state program that helps those businesses grow.
Coons & Sons General Contracting LLC in Scotia was certified through the state’s Division of Service-Disabled Veterans Business Development, along with 13 other businesses, according to an announcement Wednesday by the state Office of General Services.
The local contractor and A-Pro Home Inspections (Upstate LLC) of Schenectady both received the designation, said Joseph Brill, a spokesman for the state Office of General Services. Seventy of the 913 certified businesses in the state are located in the Capital Region, Brill said.
The Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act was signed into law in 2014 and allows eligible veteran-owned businesses to get certified with a goal of getting the companies more involved in the state’s contracting opportunities, according to the state’s program website.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to pick up the big work,” said Jason Coons, the owner of Coons & Sons General Contracting.
Coons, who served in the Army in Fort Hood, Texas, from 2001 to 2005, including doing a tour in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, started his general contracting business in 2017. He was part of the Local 291 carpenter’s union prior to joining the Army and remains part of the union today, he said.
He got into carpentry and contracting because it kept his hands busy and was a trade he always liked, he said.
“It’s a good feeling of accomplishment to turn around and look at something and see it got built right,” he said.
The state program gives him another foot to stand on when competing against larger companies for state job contracts.
“It gets me into places that I wouldn’t have been able to get into before,” he said.
The state is aiming to direct 6% of its contracting opportunities to businesses owned by service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, Brill said. During the most recent fiscal year, more than $175 million was paid to these businesses between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30 of this year, Brill said.
Coons is working on a number of jobs, and intends to check out the state opportunities before long, he said.
Besides offering opportunities to get in on state contracts, the program allows veterans to network.
“The program works with other public and private organizations to communicate in-person and virtual networking and educational opportunities to veteran entrepreneurs,” Brill said.
The Office of General Services also has a searchable directory of the certified businesses that anyone can access.
A business that wants to become certified must be 51% owned and operated by at least one service-disabled veteran. The veteran must have a service-connected disability rating of 10% or more. That rating is given by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the state Division of Veterans’ for National Guard veterans, according to the state’s website.
Coons said he has a 60% rating.
Other certification eligibility requirements can be found at www.ogs.ny.gov/veterans.