FARMINGTON — When the natural gas industry took a downturn, Ray and Spicey Yazzie began looking at getting out of their welding business and into another business they could expand.

After backing away from the idea of cleaning up natural gas spills, the Bloomfield couple struck on another: a janitorial services company.

Now, Hodishooh Specialty Cleaning Services of Bloomfield has won a lucrative contract with Arizona Public Service Co. to provide janitorial services at Four Corners Power Plant.

The Phoenix-based utility company sought to find similar success stories at "How to do business with APS at Four Corners Power Plant," an event held Wednesday at the Farmington Civic Center.

The session targeted Navajo-owned businesses, but it was open to any interested business.

"We know there's some good Navajo businesses out there, but we've had a hard time finding them," said Karla Erickson, who leads the purchasing department at the power plant west of Farmington.

Four Corners uses Hodishooh and another Navajo-owned business that provides construction and remodeling services.

"We're extremely happy with them," Erickson said. "They're very, very good suppliers."

The massive, 2,040-megawatt power plant employs 499 workers, but it also relies on an army of contractors to provide a wide range of services.

APS has budgeted $62 million to target minority-owned businesses throughout the utility's operations, said Barbara Gomez, vice president of supply chain at Four Corners.


"It's creating opportunity," she said.

More than 30 business owners, Navajo chapter officials and corporate leaders attended the session. Some of it covered the details of how to do business at the plant.

Clara Anthony, a senior buyer for APS, said the company's default payment plan is 45 days, rather than the more common 30 days.

"It's good to pay attention to what's on the terms and conditions." she said.

All contractors who provide services at the power plant are required to take a 90-minute safety orientation. Each employee who works at the plant must take the orientation.

Contractors should take that into consideration in their bids, Anthony said.

"Our expectation is you give us exceptional customer service," she said. "But we know that's a two-way street."

Chuck Slothower: