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Air Force Program Manager Recognized for Leading Small Businesses to Transition, Commercialization Success

| AF SBIR/STTR | May 30, 2018

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – James “Jim” Sweeney III – manager of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Commercialization Readiness Program – was recently named one of the winners of the 2018 Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization Award.

Fourteen people from a variety of federal agencies and programs, including Sweeney, will be honored by the Small Business Technology Council in June. The award celebrates the best program managers, contracting officers and other government officials for their work in helping SBIR/STTR companies bring technology to market.

Sweeney, leader of Commercialization Readiness Program efforts since 2015, was lauded for his dedication to seeking innovative approaches to increase small businesses commercialization success of technologies funded by the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program. Commercialization – transitioning technology to the Department of Defense or industry – is critical because it ultimately helps bring new tools to the warfighter, drive down technology costs and stimulate the economy through small business growth.

Numerous technologies supported by the Air Force SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program have been transitioned to use during Sweeney’s tenure. Some key examples include:

  • The Bus Characterization Integrity Toolset, created by Ohio-based DragoonITCN, is expected to save the Air Force more than $10 million during an ongoing B-1 modification cycle while more efficient trouble shooting and reduced repair times will boost future aircraft availability;
  • A 118-foot prototype tower made by California-based Composite Support & Solutions Inc. entirely of composite materials was installed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts using a fastener-less joining technology not previously applied to composite materials or structural joints. It has been touted as the first of a new generation of tall composite towers to be free from corrosion, significantly reducing long-term maintenance costs, while offering dramatically shortened constructions times;
  • Utah-based Engineering & Software System Solutions Inc. was able to reduce the use of hazardous materials for plating systems and the replacement coating is being flown on more than 2000 landing gear components. To accomplish this, Sweeney championed the concept of bundling four successful SBIR technologies into a single Air Force SBIR Technology Transition Plan for ES3, something never done before, to provide the Air Force a sustainment capability;
  • Massachusetts-based Gigavation Inc. developed a Universal Serial Bus Port technology that solves a critical security issue. CRP supported the USB technology forward from its early stages, connected the company with Air Force customers and enabled the transition; and
  • Michigan-based Technical Directions Inc. developed small turbine engine technology into a usable power plant for a key munition being fielded by a major command.

“Jim provides valuable assistance in transitioning technology to both military and commercial sectors via the CRP program,” said Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Director David Shahady. “He has an immense breadth of knowledge in regards to innovation, entrepreneurship, business planning and technology transition and is widely regarded as an expert in all of these fields. I am so pleased to see his outstanding work recognized with this award.”

Additionally, the Air Force SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program published a Phase III Desk Reference under Sweeney’s leadership and increased support for Air Force Small Business Industry Day events. Prior to his current role, Sweeney was the Air Force SBIR Program Manager for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

The Air Force was represented by Sweeney, as well as two other winners – Air Force Research Laboratory Senior Aerospace Engineer Dr. Khanh Pham and AFRL Program Manager Jerry Provenza -- for the 2018 Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization Award and the rest were spread across several federal agencies and programs. This was the most competitive year to date for the award, according to council officials.

Awards will be presented June 12, at the Senate Small Business Committee Hearing Room in Washington, D.C. The Small Business Technology Council is the high-tech arm of the National Small Business Association.

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