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Rincon invests in military shipping crate manufacturer

The Rincon tribe has joined the Colusa tribe in investing in PRC Composites, a manufacturer of fiberglass shipping crates for military weapons.

PRC Composites has been operating in Ontario, since 2008, and began in Santa Fe Springs in 1973. The company has grown to about 120 employees. The company is hoping to double in size and output over the next decade. The owners welcome the investment by Rincon and Colusa, as they hope it will help leverage its status as a minority owned business.

“Our whole intention with this investment is to grow,” said Gene Gregory, president of PRC Composite. “We’ve grown about ten percent in the last year and our game plan over the next five to seven years is we’d like to double in size.”

The recent acquisition of a majority stake by the Rincon and Colusa partnership provides PRC with a “minority owned” business designation that could lead to more contracts, Gregory said, through government incentives for clients such as rebates and help client companies like Boeing fulfill mandates to work with minority-owned companies.

“With Boeing, we should be able to go to Boeing and say we’re Native American-owned and that should give us an advantage of quoting new work,” said Mike Marvin, marketing director for PRC Composites. “So far we haven’t connected with the right people with Boeing to pass that word down to their purchasing people. They can get a five percent rebate on every invoice that we invoice to Boeing for these products. That’s cash back to Boeing and not a penny back to us.”

Gregory met with Rep. Norma Torres, D-Ontario, who represents Ontario, Pomona, Chino and Fontana. Torres recently visited the plant to find out more about the facility. Torres is a member of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs.

“Torres is on the Indian affairs subcommittee and I think for her to recognize that in her district she’s got a government contractor and a minority owned business, we want to see if there are any opportunities we’re missing,” Gregory said. “The government has incentives to do business with minority-owned businesses and to help grow minority businesses.”

Torres was taken on a tour of the plant and said she came to hear more about the company’s expansion plans and the ability to get more contracts for the region. “That means more jobs here, which is the next conversation I want to have with them about training opportunities for their workforce,” said Torres.

Torres mentioned that in California Native American tribes have been very successful with the casino industry. “You’re not thinking of Native American tribes when you think of government contracts for our national security,” she said. “You’re not thinking about the types of materials that they’re manufacturing here, and I think it’s a good opportunity to take this model to other Native American tribes in the state.”

PRC, which originally stood for Plastics Research Corporation, was established in 1973 to fill the need for a company that could utilize advances in plastics technology to produce large, special purpose, lightweight and cost-effective shipping and storage containers for military and commercial customers.

“We want to introduce our business to our local congresswoman,” Gregory said. “We’re here in her backyard and we want to show her what we’re doing.”

The company said it has developed more than 100 types of containers and has produced more than 250,000.

The containers are used by the Marines to hold weapons, ammunition and tents. General Atomics, which makes the Predator drone, used PRC fiberglass containers to ship its products to the Air Force. PRC containers are also used that ship airline engine parts from California to Paris for use in manufacturing of the Airbus A350 aircraft.

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