From Press

Principal Architect Featured in OC Register

Fullerton’s ‘flying architect’ designs dog kennels to NASA projects

BY LILY LEUNG / STAFF WRITER

One of J. Bruce Camino’s first assignments as a government contractor was to design a dog kennel for the Marine Corps center at Twentynine Palms, a minor project that ended up laying the foundation for the young architect’s future company.

A good review on that $35,000 contract led the Anaheim Hills resident to more government-related work.

Twenty-five years later, his architecture firm, Santa Ana-based Development One, handles major projects such as a recently completed $14 million design project for NASA. Government contracts make up roughly 95 percent of his total business.

The kennel represented “a stepping stone to the next project,” said Camino, 55. “A lot of people ignore that. They focus on the change orders instead of what the government has in mind. When you have service in mind, you get more work.”

For small businesses, getting a government contract is no easy feat.

Less than one in five federal contract dollars, or 19 percent, were awarded to small businesses in fiscal 2012, the most recent year analyzed, according an independent study released by the House Committee on Small Business in 2013.

The committee has been critical of that number because the annual federal goal is 23 percent.

It’s important to note that by U.S. government estimates, the 23 percent mandate was met last year for the first time since 2005. But the House Committee on Small Business contests that, saying the count does not include certain agencies.

In any case, how does an independent business get its foot in the door?

Here are four key takeaways from the Register’s conversation with Camino on a recent weekday at Fullerton Municipal Airport, among his upcoming design projects:

1. Get in touch with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Simply put, the U.S. government pays private companies for goods and services every year. The Small Business Administration is involved because it tries to connect those contracts for those goods and services to small firms.

Federal officials spent more than $515 billion in prime contracts in fiscal 2012. Of that, $100 billion went to small businesses. Special focus is put on involving disadvantaged groups such as women, minorities and veterans. In fact, the agency has specific goals for each group, such as 5 percent for women-owned businesses and 3 percent for service-disabled veteran-owned firms.

2. Know yourself. Government contract work isn’t for everybody, Camino said. It involves loads of paperwork, thorough background checks and obtaining security clearances. Does he mind the bureaucracy? “No, I’m the type of person who’s by the book,” he said. “I embraced it.”

3. Patience pays off. Camino left the private sector in the 1980s to start his own business out of his garage. He said it took him about three years before he got his first government contract. Another misconception is that once you hang up your shingle, business will immediately come in. Not so much, he said. It will take five to 10 years to establish yourself.

4. Be distinctive. Aside from being a licensed architect, Camino is also a licensed pilot and owner of a 1966 Piper Comanche plane, which he keeps at Fullerton Municipal Airport. The aircraft, he said, has earned him the nickname of “The Flying Architect” because he often flies himself to faraway projects. This helps him stand out from competitors, who may not be able to reach assignments as quickly as he does, he said.

He regularly flew his Comanche to projects at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The plane has proven to also be a time-saver. What’s typically a three-hour drive from Fullerton to that facility took 30 minutes by plane, he said.

Click here to full PDF version of article.

Click here to view on the OC Register Website.

Principal Architect featured in Comanche Flyer Magazine

COMANCHES ALWAYS LIKE TO BE FIRST

Such was the case with N8871P when it got the first composite propeller in the Comanche fleet. It was time for one of our airplanes to get one of these composite propellers, so I contacted MT Propeller in Germany to see if there would be any interest in fitting my PA24-260B with one of their composite props. I was surprised when I received a direct contact from test pilot and Aerobatic champion Martin Albrecht. He inquired if I would be willing to take my airplane to Deland, Fla. for testing. If so, 71P could be the first to receive the propeller.

After agreeing to terms, we set a date for the install. Not being a stranger to cross-country flights, N8871P launched out of Fullerton, Calif. for Deland on June 14, 2013. It is no secret that our Comanches are great cross-country planes. Above, below, around, and through weather, 71P performed flawlessly, flying coast to coast. America is magnificent from the air, and the Comanche is the perfect airplane for the experience.

JBruce

Upon arrival at Deland, test pilot Josef Eberl was there to greet us. After getting the introductions out of the way, he allowed us to see the new composite propeller to be installed on my Comanche. Being an architect by profession, my traits are visual in nature. For this reason, when I saw the propeller, all I could think of was that this prop was a magnificent piece of art with its sleek surface, scimitar blade, brilliant color, and polished spinner.

Flight testing of the original propeller began immediately. The testing included all kinds of takeoffs, climbs, slow flight, cruise, stalls, and landings. We documented all the flying characteristics of the existing propeller – three hours’ worth. The next day included documenting the flying characteristics like the day before, but this time with the new propeller. Right off the bat, what I noticed as I was taxiing was a quieter and lighter plane. What stood out most was how “scary” smooth this propeller was. Scary because upon leveling the plane, and bringing back the RPM from 2600 to 2300, the sound decreases substantially to a point that it makes you wonder if the engine is shutting down. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the engine was not only operating smoothly, but the cruise improved by about five knots.

Camacho Plane

With the Hartzell three blade propeller, research indicates that their propeller makes the plane slower at cruise by about three to five knots. Another difference is that the MT Propeller is lighter than the three blade Hartzell and McCauley propellers, and it is also lighter than my original two blade propeller by about 10 pounds.

On landing, the plane slows down much faster due to the dynamics of the three blades versus the two blades. I found myself landing with power to keep the speed up, which I’d never done on the Comanche before. Landing with power makes me feel more in control of the plane. Before, I felt like the plane could float through the fence if I wasn’t careful on a short field. Not much changed on climb, but considering that I was able to climb before at 1,000 – 1,500 feet per minute with the two blade propeller, to see that the MT Propeller could match that, did not leave me disappointed. Undoubtedly, the best part of this upgrade is how beautiful the propeller looks on the Comanche. MT Propeller did not disappoint.

When I fly into an airport, it is not uncommon for people to come up to the airplane to tell me how beautiful it looks. With the new propeller, it is hard for people to identify the plane as a Comanche. They think she’s the local Rock Star.

by J. Bruce Camino, Principal Architect

Development One, Inc.

Original article: Comache Flyer, January 2014 – COMANCHES ALWAYS LIKE TO BE FIRST