Schramm Electric Plants Seeds, Reaps Derecho Contract

A Sioux City electrical firm landed more than $200,000 in state contracts after their owners followed CIRAS advice to register as a vendor with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security.

Stephanie Schramm, office manager at Schramm Electric, said her company has a long history of dealing closely with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center. So that was the first place the Schramm family looked for answers in early 2020 when they had questions about how to register for business with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

CIRAS government contracting specialist Mary Zimmerman responded with a detailed email explaining the FEMA registration process and suggested that the company also get on the vendor list for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security.

Schramm said she put the Homeland Security idea aside for a few weeks but remembered it when a massive derecho storm swept through Iowa in August. Following Zimmerman’s directions, she signed her company up as a vendor and sent the state the Schramm Electric capabilities statement, which had been created previously with CIRAS assistance.

Within 24 hours, Iowa officials had called and asked to rent some emergency generators. More than a dozen were dispatched to Camp Dodge, then Schramm helped the state to arrange a batch of refrigerated trucks to help storm victims obtain ice.

All of that business depended on previous groundwork Schramm Electric had developed with CIRAS help.

“You’re planting seeds,” Zimmerman said. “When you register with agencies, you’re building relationships. That’s what you have to do: You water it, fertilize it, and wait to see what happens.”

Stephanie Schramm agrees.

“We had all of these pieces, and it really just all came together in this 24-hour period,” she said. “It was because of all the work that we had done before that point.

“We’re definitely grateful for all the work that CIRAS does. It paid off.”

For more information, contact Mary Zimmerman at or 515-450-1278.