Lockheed Martin leverages defense technology for local government information project

Lockheed Martin Corp. has received a $250 million, 10.5-year contract from Orange County, Calif., to provide computing and telecommunications services.

By Wilson Dizard III

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Lockheed Martin Corp. has received a $250 million, 10.5-year contract from Orange County, Calif., to provide computing and telecommunications services.

Personnel from Lockheed Martin IMS in Washington will manage the county's data center, provide application development, help launch new electronic government projects, and upgrade the county's telecommunications infrastructure. The company will integrate Orange County's voice mail and e-mail systems, county officials say.

Lockheed Martin bested five competitors to win the contract, prevailing over finalist Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego in the final stage of the procurement.

Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors say they chose Lockheed Martin because the company offered a cost-effective, technically superior proposal that can be implemented with minimal risk of service disruptions.

Lockheed Martin partners include Pacific Bell in San Francisco and ARK Technologies in Orange, Calif., to carry out the contract.

The companies will build a high-speed integrated voice, video, and data network. The contract will expand the county's online services to the public and provide services to the county's criminal justice, administration, health and social services agencies, among others.

Orange County Chief Information Officer Leo Crawford says the contract is the biggest of any kind ever awarded by the county. Lockheed Martin IMS officials say it is the biggest local government-outsourcing contract the company has ever won.

The company has provided computer services to Orange County since 1985, when it was known as Martin Marietta Corp. Lockheed Martin will provide about 212 workers under the contract, who will operate the county's 65,000 square foot data center in Santa Ana and build applications at various other county facilities.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin committed to return about $21 million to Orange County in revenue generated by renting or leasing now-vacant space in the data center. Orange County has the right to approve or deny proposals for uses of the data center, Crawford says.

The data center was built to house mainframe computers. It features a 24-hour battery backup power, diesel generators, redundant climate control and other systems to prevent interruptions in computer operations, Crawford say. "We used to keep statistics on how reliable the data center is, but the figure is so high that I stopped referring to them," he say.

As computer vendors have reduced the size of their equipment in recent years, about 15,000 square feet of the data center have fallen vacant, Crawford say.

"They may use it for web hosting or for application service providers or for data processing," he says. "They haven't told us yet." Crawford added that the revenue from the data center, which the county and the company will split, "will reduce the costs of the contract to my customers — other county agencies — and to the taxpayers."

The contract amount could vary based on options within the agreement, Orange County officials say. Lockheed Martin say it expects to generate $250 million in additional revenue by selling technology services to the county and by selling space in the data center. That could bring the contract's value to more than $500 million, it states.

Lockheed Martin already has implemented an online service called GovernLink in Orange County, which allows resident to electronically search, order, and pay for vital records such as birth, death, and marriage certificates. The system also enables local businesses to perform fictitious business name searches online. "GovernLink has allowed us to improve service to our constituents, increase revenue, and cut the costs of our counter personnel," says Gary Granville, Orange county clerk-recorder.

The Orange County outsourcing contract adds to the stream of similar agreements recently concluded or in the pipeline. San Diego County now is entering the second year of an ambitious outsourcing agreement. Memphis, Tenn. plans to award an outsourcing contract soon, as does Prince William County, Va. The state of Virginia issued a request for proposals for a statewide systems procurement contract of the "seat management" variety this summer. Under Virginia's seat management contract, a vendor will provide all the products and services need to support each state employee's computer and commit to specified maintenance standards.

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