Speaking Out for The Contractor During The Federal Government Shutdown

October 15, 2013

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The shutdown making it hard for some small businesses to do business. The owner of one Virginia company it not only losing money, she may lose her workers too.

Lynn Petrazzuolo is president and CEO of Avanti Corporation. She joins us.

Nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: What’s your business?

PETRAZZUOLO: Avanti Corporation does environmental management for federal clients. We do environmental assessments. We help write the federal regulations for environmental issues and we do remediation on super fund sites.

VAN SUSTEREN: It’s seems to me there’s two issues. One is any business you might want to get since October 1st, since the shutdown. But the other is for completed business for which the government might owe you any money. Does the government owe you for any completed money as of October 1st?



PETRAZZUOLO: We invoice monthly. And the government is very good about paying every 30 days, until now. They owe us right now over $80,000. That’s over 30 days. But we have submitted invoices for last month, which we have completed the work, so we’re looking at more like $230,000.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so, what — I take it you can’t pay your employees then?

PETRAZZUOLO: I have been paying them out of a line of credit. I have some very entry level employees and I know they have rents and car payments and I have given them an advance on their pay.

VAN SUSTEREN: If this goes on another month?

PETRAZZUOLO: Can’t do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just let them go? Fire them? Lay them off I guess is a more —


PETRAZZUOLO: Right. Right now, everyone is furloughed. I had a meeting this morning and we discussed options. It’s been day to day, week to week. I can pay through this Friday. I can probably swing one more payroll. But that’s going to be it. It’s about $50,000 every two weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many employees do you have?


VAN SUSTEREN: So I guess you are real pleased with what’s going on on Capitol Hill?


VAN SUSTEREN: It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?

PETRAZZUOLO: It’s unbelievable. And to watch the pizzas coming in and sort of the joviality that’s going on, it’s very maddening.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I shouldn’t be so flip about it then. I’m sort of flip. I guess I’m — I feel a little bit sarcastic, I get flip about it because — but it does hurt people.

PETRAZZUOLO: It does. And it — and you have to laugh. You have to make the jokes where you can. But, at the same time, you know, there is a lot of angst and lost sleep.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what is really painful to me? Is the fact that we all knew September 30th was going to roll around. And for some reason — I don’t mean to kick a dead horse. But they all went on vacation in early August. You run a business. Would you have ever taken a five- week vacation beginning August, or whatever recess, whatever you want to call it, knowing September 30th was going to roll around and you would have a problem?

PETRAZZUOLO: No. No, I’m in the office every day now trying to figure out what to do and how I’m going to pay people and how we are going it get more work. And we have a couple tiny projects still going, trying to figure out how many people I can cover with that.

VAN SUSTEREN: It’s very painful. It enrages me when I meet small business owners like you. Because this isn’t just a game. This affects lives.

PETRAZZUOLO: Right. Right. When they talk about kicking the can down the road, will they actually do anything before that deadline comes again?

VAN SUSTEREN: They’ll just put you through the same thing.


VAN SUSTEREN: It’s awful.

Anyway, Lynn, I hope that, you know — at least one thing the deadline does it is it sometimes gets action.


VAN SUSTEREN: The last one didn’t do it but we have got another one coming up in about two days.

Thank you, Lynn.