Pentagon Honors Supporters of Disabled-Veteran-Owned Firms
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2007 A group of entrepreneurs and department acquisition officials earned praise from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England at a Pentagon award ceremony yesterday for their support of disabled-veteran-led businesses.
Talon Award recipient Air Force civilian employee Reggie E. Selby is a small business specialist at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Enlisting small companies owned by service-disabled veterans to work with the Defense Department is good business and the right thing to do, Selby said at the first Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Awards ceremony held at the Pentagon on Nov. 5, 2007. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Nineteen organizations and individuals were honored at the first Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Awards ceremony for their support of Presidential Executive Order 13360, which calls for the department to increase contracts and subcontracts for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.
“The military cannot perform their mission without great civilians and great companies behind the lines,” England told the award recipients, who each received a framed certificate signed by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology James I. Finley.
The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Office was established at the Pentagon by an October 2004 presidential executive order and previous legislation, Anthony R. Martoccia, the Defense Department’s director of small business programs, told reporters during an earlier roundtable meeting at the Pentagon.
Nearly 11,000 companies are registered in the SDVOSB program today, Martoccia said. Last year, disabled-veteran-owned small businesses accounted for $1.7 billion in government contracts, he added.
The SDVOSB program is geared toward helping disabled veterans establish second careers as entrepreneurs who do business with the Defense Department, Martoccia explained. The program, he noted, is open to disabled veterans from all the nation’s wars and all branches of the military service.
Recipients of the “Golden Talon” award are acquisition officials who worked to increase the number of disabled-veteran-led firms that do business with the Defense Department, England explained at the ceremony.
Prime Subcontracting Award recipients are recognized for their work in hiring firms headed by injured military veterans.
Small, disabled-veteran-led businesses honored at the event provide expertise, products and services in the realms of biometrics, information technology, intelligence, counterinsurgency, counter-improvised-explosive-devices and other areas, England said.
“Their performance has been superb and their companies continue to grow,” the deputy defense secretary said.
The disabled veterans who run small companies “have conquered not just the risky business world, but they did it despite the added burden of their service-related disabilities,” England pointed out.
The award categories and individual awardees include:
Service-Disabled Veterans Owned Small Business
-- HMS Technologies Inc., Martinsburg, W.Va.;
-- J.M. Waller Associates Inc., Burke, Va.;
-- Landmark Technology Inc., Fairfax, Va.;
-- M1 Support Services, Denton, Texas;
-- New World Solutions Inc., Chantilly, Va.;
-- Oak Grove Technologies, Raleigh, N.C.;
-- Oberon Associates Inc., Manassas, Va.; and
-- Quality Support Inc., Landover, Md.;
“Golden Talon” Awards
-- Jack Beecher, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
-- Defense Contract Management Agency Procurement Center;
-- LaVerne Johnson, Defense Logistics Agency;
-- Kathleen Lockhart, Department of the Navy;
-- Carol Ann Reichling, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and
-- Reggie Selby, Department of the Air Force.
Prime Subcontracting Awards
-- Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Va.;
-- CACI International Inc., Arlington, Va.;
-- Electronic Data Systems Corporation, Herndon, Va.;
-- Environmental Chemical Corporation, Burlingame, Calif.; and
-- L3 Communications Titan Group, Reston, Va.
Retired Air Force Col. Charles W. Scott, the president and chairman of the board of SDVOSB award recipient J.M. Waller Associates Inc. based in Burke, Va., said military veterans bring a lot to the table when doing business with the Defense Department.
“You understand the (military) culture, you understand the ‘language’ and you understand how to do business,” Scott pointed out. “And, you usually bring a skill set that’s needed by the Department of Defense, or you wouldn’t have been a part of it to start with.”
Talon Award recipient Air Force civilian employee Reggie E. Selby is a small business specialist at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Enlisting small companies owned by service-disabled veterans to work with the Defense Department is good business and the right thing to do, Selby said.
“Those are the companies that are owned by the members of our society that really put their lives on the line and some have suffered the consequences of that,” Selby said. “My goal is to support the program to the utmost of my ability.”
Supporting small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans “is a real passion for us,” said Paul M. Cofoni, president and chief executive officer of CACI International Inc. based in Arlington, Va. About 70 percent of CACI’s business, Cofoni said, is with the Defense Department.
“We have great respect for veterans, and especially, disabled veterans,” Cofoni, a former Army officer said. CACI actively seeks to hire disabled military veterans, Cofoni said, and sponsors a program that signs on veteran-owned small businesses subcontracting work.
“It’s the least we can do to give back to the people who protect our freedom,” Cofoni said.
Another military veteran who attended the award ceremony as a guest is Charles M. Baker, the president and chief executive officer of a Maryland-based electrical contracting company.
Baker is a service-disabled Air Force retiree whose company was nominated for, but didn’t receive, a SDVOSB award this year. Nonetheless, he remains intensely supportive of programs that support disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.
The SDVOSB program helps small businesses grow and become sustainable, Baker said. This is good for the nation, he pointed out, because small businesses constitute “the backbone of our economy.”
Established in 1999 under Public Law 106-50, the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program sets a three percent annual goal for all federal prime contracting and subcontracting. In 2003, the program was amended through Public Law 108-183 to include contract set-aside and sole-source authority under certain applicable conditions.