Friday, November 8, 2013

Quality Connections Awarded First-Ever Mandatory Set-Aside Contract in Arizona

Nonprofit to provide all remanufactured laser toner cartridges to State of Arizona
Quality Connections, a nonprofit organization, was just unanimously approved by Arizona’s Set-Aside Committee to provide mandatory remanufactured laser toner cartridges and other optional printer cartridges to state government agencies. Quality Connections, through its office supplies department QCoffice, provides training and employment to people with disabilities and disadvantages including the conversion of empty printer toner cartridges into useful products.Quality Connections estimates the value of this award at approximately $500,000 annually for state sales. This does not include potential revenue from sales to co-op members (cities, counties and school districts).
“We are excited to have been awarded Arizona’s first ever mandatory use set-aside contract,” said Armando Bernasconi, CEO of Quality Connections. “This will enable us to provide employment to over 20 individuals with disabilities while we provide a sustainable product to the state and its co-op members.”
This historic award to a nonprofit by the set-aside committee of the State of Arizona was also a result of Quality Connections’ seven-year track record of successfully doing this work for the state and hundreds of other customers. This contract will enable Quality Connections to employ more people with disabilities while simultaneously helping keep used printer toner cartridges from going to landfills. The Quality Connections proposal was also awarded on the strength of the proposal itself and the professional quality presentation by the Quality Connections team to the State Committee.
“This is the first mandatory set-aside that I’m aware of – a big step in the right direction for the State of Arizona,” said D Williamson, CEO of Nobody’s Perfect who uses the letter as her first name. “This is the state really helping people with disabilities.” Nobody’s Perfect is a partner with Quality Connections in the collection of used toner cartridges from state offices.
In addition to providing a six percent net savings on remanufactured laser toner cartridges, now Quality Connections plans to provide permanent employment for 20 to 24 individuals with disabilities plus on-the-job training opportunities for up to 15 individuals every month. This reduces the need for and costs associated with public assistance for disabled persons in the state while at the same time diverting ewaste from landfills.
“Everybody wins: the State, our clients, taxpayers and the environment,” said Bernasconi.
“It gives our workers with disabilities a sense of independence and a sense of pride in their work,” added Christopher Keeler, QCoffice sales manager. “It enables them to be truly contributing members of our community and it improves the quality of life for them and their families.”
Arizona’s set-aside program is a special purchasing mandate that endeavors to set-aside one percent of the state’s purchasing to certified nonprofits that serve people with disabilities, like Quality Connections, as well as Arizona Industries for the Blind and Arizona Correctional Industries.
QCtoner, the remanufacturing department of QCoffice, was created in 2004 through an establishment grant from the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). That led to a non-mandatory set-aside contract in 2006, and the exclusive contract with Coconino County in 2012 for all ink and toner printer cartridges. The new contract will lead to significant growth for QCoffice and allow this nonprofit to compete with the big Goliaths in the industry.
QCoffice is Quality Connections’ online office supply retail store. QCtoner, Quality Connections’ own line of remanufactured laser toner cartridges, are only available from QCoffice. In addition to toner, QCoffice provides thousands of quality office supplies for the home or office to hundreds of customers statewide – both large and small.
About Quality Connections
Quality Connections Inc. is an Arizona not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation with a mission to provide quality support and employment services to individuals with disabilities and disadvantages in order to increase both their independence and their participation in our community. Quality Connections provides a variety of services including resident and day treatment services, employment and vocational services, high quality office supplies through QCoffice and environmentally friendly remanufactured laser toner cartridges through QCtoner. All of these programs help transform individuals with disabilities and disadvantages from tax collectors to tax payers. Visit online.

For more information, contact Doug Arnett, Quality Connections, 928.773.8787
additional media contact: Steele Wotkyns, WotkynsPRplus, 928.266.2129

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