Highlights & Resources from SBANE – NASA Stairway to the Stars Event

On September 16th, the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) hosted an informational and matchmaking event to connect regional manufacturers with NASA and several of its prime contractors including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Draper Laboratory, and Boeing.  As an event sponsor and supplier to many of the participants, Dynavac showcased several Space Simulation System projects including its participation in the James Webb Space Telescope program. Below are some event highlights along with useful resources for potential suppliers.

The first half of the event guided attendees through various NASA focus areas while providing key resources and important advice on doing business with NASA and its prime contractors.  Richard Mann from NASA’s office of Small Business Programs presented an update on NASA’s goals and objectives as they relate to small business initiatives. For example –  NASA is divided into Regional Centers that each provide regular updates on projects and supplier needs through its NASA Acquisition Forecast Database .  Suppliers are encouraged to review FedBizOpps.gov and the NASA Acquisition Internet Service for the actual notice of a pending contract action.  He also encouraged prospective suppliers to register on the NASA Vendor Database (NVDB).

Two informative panels followed with representatives from NASA Small Business Specialists and Technology Infusion Managers discussing the various differences among the facilities and individual needs for several NASA facilities including Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Kennedy, Johnson, Goddard and Stennis Space Centers. These panels clearly showed that each is operated separately with distinct missions and it is important to learn about their respective needs before making contact with NASA or its prime contractors.

A common theme that emerged from these discussions is the importance of small businesses to develop relationships with the prime contractors. NASA employs a Mentor/Protégé program to help connect primes with subcontractors. To reinforce this, SBANE invited a speaker from prime aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky (recently acquired by Lockheed Martin) to demonstrate how they partner with small manufacturers from across the US to support NASA’s cutting edge requirements.

The afternoon afforded potential suppliers the opportunity to meet one on one with representatives from NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Draper Laboratory, General Dynamics, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, and UMASS Amherst.  These meetings and the afternoon panel sessions offered a useful venue to discuss financing and supplier diversity/government contracting. They illustrated the plethora of resources and financing opportunities available to New England small businesses looking to provide government agencies with new technologies or transfer defense-related projects into commercially viable offerings.

For example:

  • Laura Canter, Executive director, Finance Programs for MassDevelopment highlighted grants and creative financing opportunities they offer MA manufacturers.
  • Jerry Bird, President of MassVentures introduced their mission to fuel startup growth and their nationally recognized START program that helps commercialize SBIR/STTR companies.
  • Robert Nelson, MA SBA district director, talked through the many resources accessible through the SBA website including training, financing opportunities and government contracting assistance.
  • Peter Cokotis, Program Manager, MSBDC/PTAC spoke about the resources that the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UMass Amherst offers to small businesses. This advisory center of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, provides business with assistance in bidding, managing and performing on government contracts.

In all, it was an excellent event with informative panels and great connections. Listed below is a complete list of resources presented throughout the day.

Dynavac looks forward to continuously supporting NASA and its prime contractors with innovative space simulation and thin film deposition solutions. If you have questions on upcoming aerospace projects or our experience with these distinguished organizations, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Liz Claflin

Sales & Marketing Manager


781-740-8600 ph


NASA Acquisition Internet Service- https://prod.nais.nasa.gov/cgibin/nais/index.cgi

Federal Business Opportunities – https://www.fbo.gov/

System for Award Management-  www.SAM.gov

NASA Acquisition Forecast Database- http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/forecast/

NASA Vendor Database- https://vendors.nvdb.nasa.gov/

NASA Locations- http://www.nasa.gov/about/sites/index.html

NASA/SBIR  Innovation Research & Technology Transfer Program-   www.sbir.nasa.gov

NASA Office of Small Business Programs-  http://www.osbp.nasa.gov/

NASA Industry Days- http://osbp.nasa.gov/industry-day-events.html 

More Useful Links- http://www.osbp.nasa.gov/useful-links.html

How to do business with NASA-  http://www.osbp.nasa.gov/business.html

NASA –  Mentor/Protégé program-  http://www.osbp.nasa.gov/mpp/index.html

MassDevelopment resources for manufacturers- http://www.massdevelopment.com/who-we-help/manufacturers/

MassVentures-  http://www.mass-ventures.com/

MassVentures START Program-  http://www.mass-ventures.com/start-program/

U.S. Small Business Administration-  https://www.sba.gov/

Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership  (MASSMEP):  http://massmep.org/

Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network-  https://www.msbdc.org/

UMass Amherst Procurement Technical Assistance Center- https://www.msbdc.org/ptac/



The Smaller Business Association of New England, Inc. (SBANE), founded in 1938, is a private not-for-profit association of approximately 600 member companies located throughout the six-state region. SBANE was established to provide a legislative voice for small business at the state and federal levels and to make practical information available to help business owners grow their companies. SBANE runs diverse, educational and networking programs each year and has active chapters in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The membership is characterized by a high degree of participation, reflected in a large and dynamic committee structure, addressing a range of topics from international trade to human resources.  LEARN MORE –  www.sbane.com