Robins Air Force Base creates a big boom for defense contractors: nearly $8 billion worth last year.
Many of them are worried about the threat of a half-billion dollars in defense spending cuts from the looming sequester. Those are the across-the-board federal cuts that will take effect March 1 unless the White House and Congress agree on a debt-reduction plan.
Robert Colson is proud of the work atKihomacand welcomed 13WMAZ into the manufacturing and defense engineering outfit, introducing us to most of his 12 employees.
Just six months ago, there were 15.
He had to let three people go because -- with sequestration looming -- no new Air Force contracts were coming in.
Colson said, "The contracts and potential contracts we were planning on -- they aren't there."
Kihomac, like most defense contractors, relies on Robins for the bulk of their work. If sequestration grounds the planes, Colson says a crash in their business seems inevitable.
He said, "It would greatly reduce the need for a company like this, Kihomac."
He is trying to avert disaster.
Colson said, "We're talking to our customers, we're talking to potential customers, and also we're talking to commercial customers, which isn't the bread and butter today."
With more questions than answers about sequestration's impacts, there's little else he can do.
He said, "We pray. Then, we hustle."
Colson tries not to worry, but there's a sadness he can't shake. He believes the cuts to defense work here could hurt those who serve over there.
He said, "Men and women are dying today. If we can't support them, it's terrible, just a terrible thing."
The majority of contracts coming from work at Robins Air Force Base go to Houston County businesses, with about $206 million dollars last year. Bibb County is fourth on the list, with more than $8 million in contracts in 2012.