LHI: New contract will fuel growth

2013-02-12T00:15:00Z 2013-02-13T07:34:29Z LHI: New contract will fuel growthBy STEVE CAHALAN | For the La Crosse Tribune La Crosse Tribune

A new five-year contract with the U.S. Department of Defense will help ensure that La Crosse-based Logistics Health Inc. continues to grow, LHI founder and CEO Don Weber said Monday.

Weber also said he and his wife probably will need to build their fourth Riverside Center office building next year, because of LHI’s continued growth.

The federal agency announced late Friday it has awarded LHI a contract worth up to $749.4 million over five years.

Under it, LHI will continue to provide medical and dental services through the federal Reserve Health Readiness Program to members of all seven Reserve components, the Coast Guard, National Guard and active-duty service members who are at remote locations.

LHI’s previous contract to provide those services was to expire last September but has been extended through March. LHI has been involved in the readiness program since 2001, when it received a contract to provide services to the Army Reserve.

Five companies competed for the new contract.

It is one of LHI’s two largest contracts. The other is with the federal Veterans Administration to provide clinical disability exams to military veterans.

“I think we’ll see some real growth in the company in the next three years because of this contract, the VA contract and a couple others we’re working on,” Weber said.

LHI has about 903 employees in the La Crosse area. Founded in 1999, LHI was acquired in May 2011 by OptumHealth of Golden Valley, Minn., which is part of health care giant UnitedHealth Group of Minnetonka, Minn.

Weber said he thinks LHI’s local employment can double within three years.

He also said talks continue with the city of La Crosse about the possibility of Weber and his wife, Roxanne, building their fourth Riverside Center office building on the municipal parking lot east of Second Street, between Jay and King streets.

Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education leases about 33,000 square feet of the 115,000 square feet of office space in the third building (Riverside Center East). LHI already occupies part of the building and probably will occupy the remaining space by the end of 2013, Weber said.

Because of the continued growth Weber anticipates in LHI, he said he and his wife probably will need to build their fourth building in 2014.

“It’s my intention to try to do it here” in the La Crosse area, Weber said.

“It would be nice if it would work out here (in downtown La Crosse) with the city,” Weber said. “If not, I’m seriously considering the property we have in Onalaska.”

Weber purchased the Onalaska site, at Theater Road and Midwest Drive, several years ago before deciding to build the first building in downtown La Crosse.

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