Web Site Lists Iraq Reconstruction Contracts

Fri January 09, 2004 - National Edition

PORTLAND, OR (AP) The U.S. government plans to post an official accounting of how it will spend $18.6 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts on a Web site run by two Oregon companies.

The companies –– GraphicLynx, a Web site developer based in Portland, and IPNS, a Clackamas-based Internet service provider –– have built the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority’s reconstruction site.

When the government begins to dole out most of its reconstruction funds this year, the coalition will post project updates and photos on the site. Many portions will be available to the public, although some will be restricted to government officials.

GraphicLynx designed the Web site and will maintain it; the firm also worked on the software behind the site. IPNS is managing computer servers that store the site’s data.

Rather than choosing Web industry giants, the Coalition Provisional Authority tapped the two small firms –– with fewer than 20 employees combined –– to create the cyber-window into Iraq’s reconstruction. In all, the U.S. government is giving the two companies less than $100,000 for six-month contracts. The firms hope the high-visibility task will help generate other business.

"I’m a minnow in a shark tank," said Jon Newell, IPNS’s president and chief executive officer, "but even a minnow can have a good impact on what’s going on there."

Ron Youmans, chief executive and president of GraphicLynx, said a California company overseeing construction of the site contacted him in October. Youmans had worked with the company on other projects. The coalition also needed a data center to physically store the Web site, and Youmans suggested IPNS, which stores his firm’s site.

Both firms placed bids and soon received contracts: IPNS’s for approximately $9,000 and GraphicLynx’s for about $75,000.

Since early November, the companies have maintained a Web site that contains some information. Now it will feature more comprehensive reports.