Entrepreneurship a plus for Alion's small partners
Making the team | How to land the right partners
- By Gary Arlen
- Oct 30, 2008
AVW Technologies Inc. was a
one-man shop six years ago
when Alion Science and
Technology Corp. tapped it for a
Navy acquisition project. Now AVW, a
veteran-owned small business based in
Chesapeake, Va., has about 50 employees
and handles a variety of testing,
evaluation support and engineering
management programs for Alion.
"One of our people was dealing with
[the founder], gave him some advice,
then gave him more work," said Phyllis
Turvey, Alion's vice president and director
of contracts and procurements.
Alion has another long-term relationship
with Caddo Solutions, which has
been providing Alion's office equipment
and supplies for 11 years.
"When comparing small businesses,
Alion looks at all aspects of what they
bring to the market," said Angela Gress-
McKinster, Alion's small-business liaison
officer, who works with Turvey on
Alion focuses on naval architecture
and marine engineering, defense operations,
systems engineering, information
management, and technology along
with nuclear and environmental sciences
and wireless spectrum engineering.
Alion uses small businesses on
projects that involve modeling and simulation,
acquisition, and test and evaluation.
The company has about 800 small
businesses in its database of potential
partners, which have specialized expertise.
For example, it has teamed with
Craig Technologies Inc., a small disadvantaged
firm, on operations and planning for an
Army contract and engineering and
information technology services.
Alion's agenda for 2009 and 2010
includes even greater concentration on
information technology network
administration, cybersecurity, database
administration and help-desk support.
It is looking for partners who are
Capability Maturity Model Integration
(CMMI) level 4 or 5 certified, Gress-
McKinster said.SEEKING MORE PARTNERS
To find small-business partners, she
monitors the Central Contractor
Registration. Alion also is redesigning
its Web site to add an online registration
feature. The site should launch by
the end of the year.
In addition to running Alion Small
Business Days and participating in various
government contractor fairs, the
company will take part in a forum run
by the U.S. Women's Chamber of
Commerce, National Veterans
Conference and Reservation Economic
Summit early next year.
Gress-McKinster advises companies
to "familiarize yourself with Alion capabilities
and contract vehicles."
"I'll do my best to see if [their] capabilities
match our needs and put them
in front of our program people," she
For various projects, Alion looks for
companies with specific capabilities,
ranging from security clearances to ISO
certifications to knowledge of federal
export laws ? in addition to fundamental
technical capabilities. Prospective
partners should be "prepared to tell
Alion how you can help us successfully
win and fulfill contacts," Gress-
McKinster said.Gary Arlen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is
president of Arlen Communications Inc., in