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Two siblings land one of their first contracts for their Detroit-based logistics company thanks to MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect services
Austin Hill began Detroit-based Austin Logistics in 2018 when he was 18 years old. Becoming an entrepreneur was something Hill knew he wanted for himself, his family and his community, but he wasn’t sure where to begin. After learning about government contracting from a podcast, which broke down the industry into easy-to-understand concepts, Hill was inspired to start a business. As owner and CEO of Austin Logistics, Hill works with his younger brother, Khristopher, who serves as chief of operations for the company.
Landing a government contract is a rewarding opportunity, with navigating the process requiring commitment. In learning more about government procurement and becoming more familiar with the process of providing services to the government, Hill could better understand the needs of various government organizations and how his company’s capabilities could meet these needs.
As a solutions firm, Austin Logistics focuses on professional service in a variety of disciplines, including administrative management and supply chain distribution. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s primary focus was providing medical supplies to its clients.
“I knew it was something I could do, so I started,” Hill said. “I tried and failed, but with the help of MEDC and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers of Michigan resources, it allowed us to make some critical connections.”
In partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce held the Southfield Sourcing Summit in October 2021; the local supplier event provided Southfield Area businesses with an opportunity to meet with purchasing organizations to discuss procurement needs.
Through attending the Southfield Sourcing Summit, Austin Logistics secured three contracts with the City of Southfield.
“We met with the City of Southfield and debriefed on our capabilities, and learned about their needs and spending,” said Hill. “We were able to land three contracts with them. This helped us tremendously because it taught us the game of procurement and, essentially, the lengthy process of providing services to the government. In the government contracting space, I've found it’s ‘who knows you.’ By going to this matchmaker event and sitting down with the buyer to learn their needs, we were able to cultivate this relationship. The support of MEDC essentially paved the way for us to get our first few contracts with the City of Southfield.”
Those first contracts eventually led to the contracts Austin Logistics secured with the Department of the U.S. Army and the City of Detroit. From this fateful introduction, the company has only continued to grow. Today, Austin Logistics now has 30 contracts, working with agencies in Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. Comcast, the State of Louisiana and the National Park Service are among their clients.
As one of nine children who are each forging their own paths, from real estate and educational training to bioengineering and consumer relations, Hill attributes much of his company’s success to his family sharing the same drive.
“With the success we've had thus far, it has indeed been a blessing to have someone like my brother share the same goals that I can count on. In general, it's a blessing to have eight siblings – all entrepreneurial-minded – that we each can count on and provide our specialty is something I have imagined and been grateful for. The selflessness Khristopher demonstrates in supporting Austin Logistics is something that I admire, seeing that he does also have his own company. Austin Logistics wouldn't be what it is today without his support.”
Hill says the company is interested in attending MEDC-sponsored events in the future, recognizing the impact its services can have on the growth of small businesses. “Due to the support and networking opportunities they bring, it behooves all small businesses to attend when possible.”
From matchmaking events to targeted searches, the MEDC is here to help Michigan businesses. Learn more about the services from Pure Michigan Business Connect at www.michiganbusiness.org/services/pure-michigan-business-connect/.