|News & Events
A Small Company Takes On A Big Challenge
Aliron International Answers The Army's Call The company formed a partnership with the military to provide family dental care
The minority-owned, 8(a) company, Aliron International, was awarded a three-year, multimillion-dollar, US Army Medical Command contract to provide comprehensive and extended dental care to the families of soldiers stationed in parts of Western Europe. In late 1994, with only a handful of employees in its Washington, DC, office, Aliron seemed an unlikely candidate for such a job. "We had a strong recommendation from the Small Business Administration and a record of doing work competently and economically," says Cora Alisuag, president of Aliron, about the company's receipt of what is likely the largest Army contract ever awarded to an 8(a) company up to that point in time.
Though the Army has long recognized that oral health is essential to the overall fitness of its men and women in service, prior to 1995, its policy provided only emergency dental care to the dependents of the soldiers serving at its two dozen bases in Germany and Italy. For routine and preventative dental care, family members had to use local dentists and pay out-of-pocket for treatment. In awarding the contract to Aliron, that policy changed.
Lacking the manpower to recruit and manage civilian health care providers overseas, the military directed Aliron to find qualified dental professionals for the European bases. "It was the first time that the Medical Command had tried anything on this scale," says Tim Cook, a former officer in the Army Medical Service Corps who, in early 1995, was living as a civilian in Germany when Aliron recruited him to manage the new operation.
To screen candidates and implement the technical aspects of the Army contract, Aliron increased the size of its Washington, DC, staff while Cook, well-acquainted with Army operations and residency in Germany and Italy, concentrated on finding dentists and hygienists willing to relocate overseas. Within weeks of accepting the contract, Aliron hired 22 dentists, five orthodontists and eight hygienists to provide dental care to the residents of the European military locations