Small business matchmaking

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Fast-paced event builds teams for stimulus work

By Roger Snodgrass

POJOAQUE – It was informally called a “speed-dating” event for companies interested in working on environmental projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Scores of presenters, ranging from labor unions to graphic design firms and more than a hundred people signed up to participate in a small business networking opportunity Thursday morning at the Cities of Gold Conference Center.

A crowd favorite, judging by the applause, was Therese Trujillo of Truchas, who said her grandfather worked as s janitor at a LANL testing site for 41 years.

Trujillo said her grandfather Delfido Fernandez worked alongside German scientists at the lab and made good friends because they both spoke English with an accent. 

Trujillo began working at LANL as a high school cooperative student and went on to get a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering and a master’s of science in nuclear engineering.

Her one-person company has a subcontract with the lab’s Nuclear High-Hazard Operations Division and she has worked at the lab for

10 years.

“I represent VIVA Innovative Solutions and am the sole member of my company,” she said at the beginning of her talk.  “I have been in operation for 8 months and stand before you as a seed, and I look out at all of you as fertile land.”

“Next year,” she concluded, “I hope to stand before you and say VIVA Innovative Solutions has been in operation for

one year and eight months with five-10 employees.” 

Trujillo said she is hoping to participate in the Department of Energy mentor protégé program and is currently open to teaming with other small businesses.

“What’s most important for people in Northern New Mexico,” she said after all the micro-presentations had been made, “is for people who want to stay to gain the experience they need.”

Most of the companies present took advantage of their three minutes of mike time to deliver a quick pitch about what their companies could do.

There were tribal companies like the Navajo Nova Corp., which has gone from $0 to $18 million in sales in its four years of existence; and Laguna Construction that has been around for 20 years, with $300 million in design-build contracts in Iraq.

A spokesperson for a container company had more containers than might have been thought to exist. “You can crush the container inside the box or you can crush whats in the box,” he said.

There was Omicron, specializing in precision fittings; SMSI that handles project management and contract support; Southwest Badger daylight, offering hydraulic service: “Anything underground, we can dig it;” said URS, a turnkey site development contractor that moved a million cubic yards of dirt for downtown Rio Rancho The company got its start with the Cerro Grande Fire and now boasts

70 employees in Los Alamos, “conveniently located across from the Central Avenue Grill,” according to Sr. V.P. Paul Kirk.