This year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) selected MIT Lincoln Laboratory as the recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Research and Development. This annual award recognizes a large federal government prime contractor that excels in partnering with small business subcontractors and suppliers.
Currently, the laboratory works with more than 2,000 small businesses from Massachusetts. Each year, approximately $500 million is awarded to subcontractors for parts and services, with 40-50 percent of that amount going to small businesses for innovative R&D solutions services, component parts for prototypes, and R&D service subcontractors.
“Small businesses are an integral and critical part of Lincoln Laboratory’s capability to accomplish its mission of advancing technology for national security,” says Scott Anderson, the assistant director for operations at the laboratory.
As part of the laboratory’s partnership with small businesses and dedication to supporting them, staff from its Small Business Office (SBO) attend networking events and organize outreach efforts, such as information sessions for technical staff members to learn about small-business partnership opportunities. The SBO also hosts a Small Business Subcontractor of the Year award and ceremony to honor one small business each year for its service to the laboratory. The laboratory recently established the Technology Ventures Office (TVO) to explore innovation in these relationships, and works closely with the SBO.
“The laboratory takes pride in its small business program and is committed to continue to establish and grow programs that will help the small business ecosystem thrive,” says Anderson.
On Oct. 1, Jovita Carranza, the 26th administrator of the SBA, visited the laboratory to present the award.
“Of the more than 2,500 businesses in the SBA’s portfolio of large federal contractors ... only 2 percent have earned this national award,” she said in speech to a small gathering of laboratory staff that was also live-streamed to the greater laboratory community. “And from what I have seen and heard so far from Lincoln Labs, this is a very deserved recognition. The scope of your work partnering with more than 2,000 small businesses cannot be overstated. You provide good jobs and fuel the economy here in Massachusetts. Your impact is certainly felt across the entire nation.”
Carranza also discussed the importance of small businesses for the U.S. economy in terms of job creation and upward mobility, and addressed members of the laboratory’s Hispanic/Latinx Network employee resource group, as her visit coincided with Hispanic Heritage Month.
During a larger ceremony for all SBA award winners located in Massachusetts, Anderson stressed the laboratory’s dedication to helping keep the Boston-area business community thriving. He also thanked those who have had a large impact on the laboratory’s work with small businesses, including Pamela Knop and Brian Doyle from the laboratory's SBO, former SBO Head Jessica Straub, Bernadette Johnson, head of the TVO, Stephen Kent, supervisor of the Prime Contracts Team, and the Assistant Head of the Contracting Department David Pronchick.