CIRAS Advice Helps Schramm Electric Join Derecho Clean-up Effort

Team members at Schramm Electric.

A Sioux City electrical firm landed more than $190,000 in state contracts after CIRAS helped the company register as a vendor with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security.

Stephanie Schramm, office manager at Schramm Electric, said her company turned to the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) in early 2020 when Schramm had questions about how to register for business with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

CIRAS government contracting specialist Mary Zimmerman responded by providing detailed instructions for navigating the FEMA registration process. She also suggested that the company get on a vendor list for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security.

Schramm said she ignored the Homeland Security suggestion for a few weeks but remembered it when the massive derecho storm swept through Iowa last August. Within 24 hours of Schramm following Zimmerman’s instructions, the state contacted the company to rent more than a dozen emergency generators.

Zimmerman stressed that Schramm’s rapid contracting success was aided by prior contacts and foundational paperwork such as the Schramm capabilities statement, which the company previously had submitted with CIRAS assistance.

“When you do that, 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.”

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