The Ricochet Manufacturing Co. has made protective clothing for first responders and firefighters since 1999. In November 2016, they had to stop orders for nine months because they only had twenty employees left. This changed due to the Department of Defense and a deal potentially worth $67.6 million. According to the owner and President of the company Peter Askey, the annual revenue is from the Air Force for fighting gear. This is approximately $10 to $15 million per year. The new work will require hiring a minimum of thirty sewing machine operators.
The two contracts will be running until March of 2023, one for structural garments for a maximum of $45 million, the other for proximity garments for as high as $23.1 million. These are the biggest orders in the company’s history, and three times bigger than their best customer. The win resulted from a bid submission last January, and Ricochet’s partner, ADS Inc, was also included in the deal. The prime competitor for Ricochet was Globe Manufacturing.
The Defense Department receives a fixed price for the length of the deal, and maximum purchase amounts are not guaranteed. This is not discouraging Askey who has already hired four sewing operators and plans on hiring an additional thirty during the next three months. He said if they were available they would be hiring them faster since he already received an order form the Air Force for fifty sets of gear. This gear is structural, and meant for entering a burning building. There is a flame-resistant outer shell, and a thermal and moisture barrier inside to provide protection for chemicals, steam and heat.
Ricochet has a low interest loan for five years from Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. The loan was issued in December for $750,000 and a line of $1 to $2 million is being sought for working capital from a local bank due to the new contracts. Now that the Ansell orders have resumed, Ricochet now has a workforce of fifty. All logistics and sales for the work from the Air Force will be handled by ADS due to their extensive experience regarding the defense industry. The shipping and manufacturing will be handled by Ricochet.