Firms' silver-and-gold lining
March 24, 2003

By Staff
Appeared in New York Daily News

As many New York businesses brace for even tougher times with the nation at war, a handful of local companies is reaping big profits from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Crain's New York Business reports this week that some area contractors - from arms makers to snack makers - are seeing business boom.

Meanwhile, engineers, architects and construction executives are jockeying to get in on the action - especially when the U.S. government starts handing out contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq after the war, Crain's reports.

"There are plenty of people out there thinking and looking for opportunities," said John Hennessy, head of Syska Hennessy Group, a Manhattan-based engineering consulting firm that helped rebuild Kuwait's parliament building after the Gulf War.

For two Brooklyn-based food companies with military contracts, the war already has been a boon, Crain's reports.

Trans-Packers Services Corp. in Greenpoint, which makes cappuccino mix, crackers, pretzels and trail mix for ready-to-eat military meals, has added staff to keep up with demand.

Another company, Mexi-Frost Specialties Co., which makes tamales and burritos for the Marines, has seen its sales jump 410% in the last six months. The company has tripled its staff.

"We're shipping containers of product right now to Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Germany," Mark Armendariz of Mexi-Frost told Crain's. "We're printing special messages on the boxes to let our troops know we want them to get home safely."

The war also has boosted companies with defense contracts. CPI Aerostructure Inc. in Edgewood, L.I., which makes replacement parts for military planes, expects a 25% increase in sales this year.

Communications equipment manufacturer Orbit International, in Hauppauge, L.I., has seen its stock price take off in the months leading up to the war, jumping 73% in 2002.