Steuben Glass gets new chance for federal contract

Steuben Glass, based in Corning, NY, and part of Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, will have a good chance of securing the contract for formal stemware that went to a Swedish company a yea…

Steuben Glass, based in Corning, NY, and part of Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, will have a good chance of securing the contract for formal stemware that went to a Swedish company a year ago, according to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio. “We were just appalled that the contract was issued to a company that makes the glass overseas when Steuben Glass makes a better product right here in America,” Schumer said. “We told the State Department how absurd it was.” The senators said the State Department were not aware that American companies made the lead-free crystal called for in the contract for US embassies worldwide. Steuben and other companies will now be able to bid on the remaining four years of the five-year contract, with most of the USD 5.4 million total yet to be paid. Gillibrand said that she will seek protocols that make sure American companies get strong chances at future contracts from the State Department, adding that the chance at thiis contract is especially important for a manufacturer of high-end products in a recession. “Whether it“s glassware for our embassies or wind turbines for our energy, we need to ensure US taxpayer dollars go toward domestic job creation and economic development,” Brown said. According to Michael Broidy, spokesman at Schottenstein, the issue is about American jobs. “The State Department should make it a priority to exhibit and highlight the great craftsmanship of American workers in all its offices worldwide,” he said. The State Department said it awarded the contract to Systems Design Inc. based in Washington, D.C., in September 2009 as part of its effort to consider small and disadvantaged businesses when possible. That company then subcontracted part of the work to Orrefor/Kosta/Boda US, part of a Swedish company. The Swedish company, in turn, could not identify an American manufacturer to meet the lead-free requirement of the order for tabletop glassware and crystal for use in formal events, said the State Department, adding that the contract had previously been awarded to Lenox Inc., which had subcontracted production to a German company.