Md. business has role in $2 million Taiwan venture


A joint venture involving Comsis Corp., a consulting business with its largest office in Silver Spring, expects to sign next week a contract valued at almost $2 million for consulting services with an agency of the government of Taiwan, a Comsis spokesman said yesterday.

If the deal goes through it will be one of the largest international service contracts ever won by a venture involving a Maryland company, said an official of the state's Department of Economic and Employment Development.

The contract is expected to be signed Feb. 14 by Chinese-American Technology Corp. -- a joint venture formed by Comsis and Bucher, Willis & Ratliff, a Kansas City, Mo.-based engineering and architectural firm -- and an arm of Taiwan's Ministry of Communications, said Mark Donovan, a Comsis marketing representative.

Comsis, which specializes in transportation consulting, would be responsible under the agreement for providing traffic, transportation and regional-development analyses for a feasibility study of a proposed Southern Taiwan Cross-Island Freeway, Mr. Donovan said.

Maryland-based service businesses with federal contracts have been hit hard by budget cuts, said Diego Portieles, international business-development manager for the international division of the Department of Economic and Employment Development.

The expected contract "is one of the biggest contracts of its kind in Maryland to date," Mr. Portieles said. "That Comsis has had the foresight to look beyond its own borders for a contract is significant. It means they are in for the long haul internationally."

Comsis, founded in 1969 in San Francisco and Silver Spring, has more than 250 employees and five offices nationwide.

Its Maryland office has about 175 employees and has completed studies for a wide range of state and federal government transportation agencies.

Two weeks ago, Chinese-American Technology signed a $400,000 contract with another arm of the Ministry of Communications to analyze the feasibility of a hub at Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, Mr. Donovan said.

The joint venture also has teamed with the Bethesda office of Booz Allen & Hamilton, a national management consulting firm, in pursuing a third contract to provide consulting for a new $15 billion rapid-transit rail system for Taipei, Mr. Donovan said.

That contract would be worth about $3.5 million, he said.

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