Lab hosts small biz encounter

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By Roger Snodgrass

How do you get a foot in the door with a national laboratory? And if you do have a foot in the door, how do you take full advantage of the opening?

An event that brings together officials from Los Alamos National Laboratory and aspiring small business suppliers is dedicated to answering that question.

There are only a couple of chances each year. The next one takes place from 8 a.m.-noon Thursday at the Cities of Gold Conference Center in Pojoaque.

The small business forum is hosted by the laboratory’s Acquisition Services Management Division.

Andrea Martinez-Lucero of the Laboratory Small Business Program Office, said Monday that the meeting is free.

“We’re expecting 200,” she said. “We’re wanting 300.”

She urged those who are planning to attend to call her at 665-5793 or e-mail  anmx@lanl.gov to RSVP. Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. The program starts at 8:30.

The purpose of these meetings is to acquaint small-business owners with new subcontracting provisions and opportunities. New business can learn about working with the lab and network with people with similar interests, according to the laboratory’s announcement Monday.

The focal point will be a talk by plutonium physicist Joe Martz, who led the communication effort at the lab during the recent hearings on transforming the nuclear weapons complex.

He was among the laboratory officials who led community tours of the laboratory and shared his knowledge about the rationale behind the current plan for consolidating weapons work.

He also understands the implications of the proposed changes for the laboratory over the next decade.

Along with the talk on complex transformation, there will be a web-based presentation on procurement opportunities at Sandia National Laboratories. Small businesses can learn how to submit on jobs at Sandia over the web.

Asa Kelley will have an update on the lab’s project management services.

Martinez-Lucero said that during the networking time later in the morning, there would be more than a dozen resource tables for special information.

Staff from the two laboratories, representatives of the National Nuclear Security Administration and other teaming partners, as well as business trade associations and the Small Business Administration will be on hand.

Some business owners may be looking for information on how an eligible business can become certified as an 8(a) disadvantaged small business.

“They can find out how to team up and bid on bigger contracts here at the lab,” she said.

Other topics include new subcontract exhibits on safety, security and quality insurance; opportunity forecasts about new subcontracts coming down the pike; and face-to-face discussions and interactions with buyers and technical requesters.