Nelson Irrigation Corporation: Averting a Costly Bureaucratic Delay



Long before the war in Iraq, Nelson Irrigation Corporation's strong global reputation attracted the attention of two companies – one in Spain and one in Saudi Arabia – that needed quality components for agricultural irrigation projects in Iraq, funded through the United Nations Food-for-Oil Program. With tight assembly schedules, razor-thin shipping deadlines and a possible war, Nelson faced the prospect of waiting for D.C. bureaucrats to approve or deny a large shipment.


Nelson was required to clear several bureaucratic hurdles before a single sprinkler could leave a U.S. port. First, the company secured the approval of the UN Security Council. Then, Nelson had to contend with two overburdened and sometimes slow federal agencies: The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration. Under deadline pressure, Nelson began to assemble 105,000 sprinklers.


CFM quickly positioned Nelson Irrigation and its project in a manner that immediately generated support from key Members of the Washington state congressional delegation. Walla Walla's Congressman and the state's two U.S. senators agreed to send letters of support and make calls to key personnel within the departments of Commerce and Treasury.


Using its own contacts within the Department of Commerce, CFM was able to expedite approval from the Export Administration that had predicted an eight-week approval process. After the Export Administration sent its stamp of approval back to the Department of Treasury, an aggressive campaign was used to speed the final approval Nelson needed to complete the shipment and satisfy its customers overseas.