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Tim Melberg, UCOR’s manager of supply chain management, speaks at the company’s eighth annual Small Business Awards Program. The event recognized top performers whose exceptional performance contributed to cleanup accomplishments.
Tim Melberg, UCOR’s manager of supply chain management, speaks at the company’s eighth annual Small Business Awards Program. The event recognized top performers whose exceptional performance contributed to cleanup accomplishments.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The importance of small businesses in supporting Oak Ridge’s EM mission was on full display last week at the eighth annual Small Business Awards Breakfast.

This year’s event, hosted by Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR, featured a small group of executives and representatives from the winning companies at a socially-distanced gathering, while others watched virtually.

The event recognized top performers that contributed to cleanup accomplishments. Criteria for the winners included developing creative and unique solutions, exhibiting extraordinary customer service, making gains in productivity and efficiency, and coming up with innovative ideas that lead to cost, time, or resource savings.

“With the scale and complexity of our projects, every partner and every role matters to successfully achieve our goal,” said Jay Mullis, manager of the Oak Ridge Office of EM (OREM). “I’m glad to know we have partners like this that will do everything in their power to provide excellent service and find solutions.”

This was an especially crucial year with EM and UCOR working to achieve the EM 2020 priority known as Vision 2020 — the goal to finish taking down a former enrichment complex by the end of the year. The seven award recipients each played a crucial role by providing services ranging from infrastructure support to welding, metal fabrication, and providing nuclear and industrial safety supplies.

UCOR honored the following Tennessee-based companies with awards:

  • Small Businesses of the Year: Workspace Solutions Inc., Knoxville, and
  • Tellico Electric Inc., Lenoir City.
  • Small Disadvantaged Business of the Year: Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville.
  • HUBZone Small Business of the Year: Street Legal Industries, Inc., Oak Ridge. A HUBZone is a historically under-utilized business zone.
  • Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Lynx Supply, Inc., Oak Ridge.
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Southeast Equipment Sales, Oak Ridge.
  • Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Premier Contracting & Technical Services Inc., Oak Ridge.

UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter noted that since the inception of UCOR’s contract with OREM in 2011, the company has awarded more than 82 percent of its subcontracting dollars to small businesses, which equates to nearly $1.5 billion.

“We value our subcontractors and depend on them to help us achieve our commitments to DOE. Each of these awardees has proven their commitment to our mission time and again through exceptional support. By partnering with small businesses, we are able to be a more diverse and innovative team. Their willingness to go above and beyond has allowed us to move the cleanup schedule ahead by four years,” Rueter said.

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