A locally owned and woman-run business has just won a major contract from the Department of Defense that could be worth as much as $60 million. Kimberly Devane, who owns and started Divine Imaging in Malibu, just pulled off this business coup, beating out 23 other competitors for the multi-million-dollar deal.
A Malibu resident for more than 20 years, Devane started Divine Imaging 15 years ago. Her company provides goods and services to government agencies including the General Services Administration, the Defense Logistics Agency and now the DOD that includes the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. With nearly two dozen contracts, Divine Imaging supplies products as diverse as tactical gear, hardware, hospitality products, packing and shipping supplies, IT products, consumer electronics, computers and their related items, machinery and audio visual products. Devane told The Malibu Times, “This is a broad contract where we’re able to sell just about everything and the kitchen sink.”
Winning this new multi-million-dollar contract with the DOD took three years, but Devane called the process a “team effort,” explaining, “It was my husband and CEO Larry Abbott who took leadership on this, along with Haley Scott, who’s an MBA we hired from Pepperdine. My company has been flying under the radar. We’ve been growing. We became aware of this contract and we were asked to participate. And three years later, after a lot of stress and time on the whole team’s behalf, we won it.
“We are only one of nine awardees in the world,” she continued. “We won it because we have a track record of 15 years of being an honorable, hard-working company that basically does our job and we’re nice to people.”
Devane’s company has a 90-percent past performance rating that all companies are required to have to score big government work.
Being a small company that is woman owned may have had advantages, too, as Devane explained.
“We’re flexible because we’re a small company. We can make changes on the dime,” she said. “Other companies — larger ones — it’s harder for them to compete for these contracts because they ask a lot of you and sometimes making decisions at larger companies takes months, and so we were able to really accommodate the contract and make changes as they deemed fit right along the way.
“With the help of the employees at the DOD, who I think support and acknowledge small, women-owned businesses, it helped us take it over the goal line, too,” Devane said. “Having worked in government, I can tell you that the GSA and civilian and military employees are some of the hardest working people on planet earth. As soon as I think my workload is high, their workload is tremendous. Their work is intense. As a vendor, I try to give them as good work as I can so it makes their job a little bit easier. You submit a bid and it gets refined over time. Things change in the government and then you finally get an award. It’s been a three-year-long process. It wasn’t a surprise.”
Devane runs her company out of the old Malibu courthouse on Pacific Coast Highway that she calls an iconic piece of Malibu history. She bought the building after winning one of her first big contracts 10 years ago. She averages 15 employees, many of them women.
“One of the most beautiful things is I’ve been able to hire mostly women, empower women and give them great jobs,” she commented. “I pay them well and help them become entrepreneurs and hopefully, as they say, help the next one in line. Always be humble and kind. That’s our motto.”
In a self-deprecating description, Devane referred to herself as “the Forrest Gump of government contracts,” and added, “You have to do a good job, but it’s set up where it really does help women create jobs and opportunity — fend for themselves and not be damsels in distress. That was the goal of my life to be self-reliant and have a company I was proud of.”
Malibu City Council Member and business owner Jefferson Wagner is a subcontractor for a prime government contractor and knows the business well.
“I’m happy for Kim. I’m sure she’ll do well and provide the services our country needs,” he stated.
Getting this new contract Devane called “an honor and a privilege,” adding, “but the hard work starts now.”