The Utah gun manufacturing company Desert Tech received a contract it never expected: a $15 million deal with Pakistan for arms, more than a year’s worth of revenue for the small company. But Desert Tech turned it down.
“We didn’t want to have any of our soldiers killed or injured by product we provided,” said Nick Young, CEO of Desert Tech.
Company leaders feared guns they provided to Pakistan might end up in the hands of terrorist groups. Tommy Alexander, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq with the U.S. military, voiced his fears along with those of other company employees.
“Even through the best of intentions, sometimes the power of the buyer wins out,” he said.
Desert Tech is staffed by veterans of the U.S. military. The company was concerned about the morality of selling weapons to Pakistan.
“We decided to proceed, and if the State Department says it’s OK we will go through with it,” Young said. Even after the deal was approved, Young and his team couldn’t agree to the contract.
“The money would have been nice, but it’s also really nice to sleep at night,” said Alexander, who is the director of international and military sales at Desert Tech.
Despite the fact that they felt it was right, turning down $15 million was not an easy thing to do, Young said. His religious values—Young is a Christian— and his desire for the welfare of American troops helped him make the difficult choice.
“Our actions come with punishments or rewards, and we need to take ownership,” he said.
In the end, Desert Tech was just sticking to the values upon which it was built, explained Young. “The company was created to protect the freedom of the United States of America, our allies and people,” according to the Desert Tech website.
“I felt pride that I work for a company that would turn down financial gains to do something morally right,” Alexander said.
Both Young and Alexander made it clear that they never hoped to gain publicity from their decision, yet they have since been featured on Fox News, Glen Beck’s TheBlaze and other news outlets.