Shutdown trickledown: Local defense contractors begin to feel impact

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 11:31 PM

FORT WORTH -- Della Williams sighed Friday evening when she tried to describe the week that was coming to a close.

"This has been a see saw," she said. "It's just been crazy."

She and her husband started Williams Pyro in Fort Worth in 1963. They'll celebrate 50 years in existence in November. They manufacture test equipment for weapons systems.

"We work with all the aircraft," she explained. "We are on a lot of platforms."

But government contracts are a big part of who they are, and the government is shut down.

"So we don't know what contracts we can ship," she said. "We've been given a directive that if we a have to have source inspections we can notify them, but they don't know if there's any source inspectors available or not."

Williams Pyro is keeping a log of all the orders they complete, so they can prove they finished their work on time, even if the government couldn't receive it on time.

Not having inspectors is a big problem for Lockheed Martin, too.

On Friday, Lockheed told 3,000 employees across America not to come back Monday. While the company would not confirm how many of the more than 16,000 North Texas employees are part of the furloughs, they did say every business area was impacted.

"I'm disappointed that we must take these actions," CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a memo to all employees. She added that she expects the number of employees affected to grow. "We continue to encourage our lawmakers to come together to pass a funding bill that will end this shutdown."

The memo went on to say, "if you want to make your voice heard on this issue, I urge you to contact your members of Congress on your personal time."

Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said the situation in Washington D.C. is dynamic and he "cannot rule out impacts later next week."

Della Williams said the health care law, which went into effect Tuesday, just added to a difficult week for a small business owner.

"How sad... how sad for this nation," she said.

Williams Pyro is not cutting back, but the owner isn't holding back, either.

"Figure it out and let's get moving -- that's what this country has been built on," she said. "We always say our motto here is 'Williams will!' We want to do it. We want to be working. We want to have this solved and resolved so that we can all get back to work."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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