AIKEN, S.C. – The DOE Savannah River Operations Office and management and operations contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) have partnered to foster five small businesses in the Department’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
The DOE program encourages prime contractors such as SRNS to help small businesses enhance their capabilities to perform contracts and subcontracts for DOE and other federal agencies.
In September 2018, SRNS launched its Mentor-Protégé Center of Excellence as the next phase in the Savannah River Site (SRS) plan to develop and manage a program dedicated to growing small business partners across the site.
"SRNS is committed to the development of our partners. The Mentor-Protégé Center of Excellence is a major step towards making our good companies great," said Alex Agyemang, manager of SRNS small business programs and supplier partnering. "We are committed to leading the way in small business advocacy."
The center provides space for small businesses to share best practices and lessons learned, and helps them focus on strengths, promote growth, cultivate new skills, and expand capabilities.
So far, 11 protégé companies have graduated from the SRNS Mentor-Protégé Program, which generally runs for two years with the option to participate for additional years. The five small businesses currently in the program each have different work specialties: UDR Consulting for staffing, ML Builders for construction, Strativia for information technology, US&S for facility management, and CTI and Associates for decontamination and decommissioning.
US&S, a facility maintenance and support service provider based in Greenville, South Carolina, represents protégé interests to SRNS in the mentor-protégé center at SRS.
S. Richard Hagins, CEO of US&S, described the SRNS Mentor-Protégé Program as unique and believes US&S is seeing success from participating in it.
"The Center of Excellence provides us a strong linkage to both SRNS and the DOE Small Business Office. It provides an avenue for mentoring and development with SRNS and DOE SBO leadership, but also gives us the feel of a board of directors with the other protégés," Hagins said.
Bruce Easterson, SRNS senior vice president, chief engineer, and nuclear safety officer, said SRNS considers its small businesses suppliers as partners with an important role in the success of the cleanup mission.
"Due to the importance of our mission, everything we do has to be done right. We don't compromise quality or integrity. We have a moral and ethical obligation to complete the mission and we take that seriously," Easterson said. "Small businesses are an important part of our value stream. If they succeed, we succeed. We believe in the success of the mentor-protégé program. It's not just good for business, it is good for the community."