Earlier this month, the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) hosted its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. In attendance were representatives from industry, Capitol Hill and the federal government to talk about the important projects being conducted within Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and associated programs. The SBTC also used this venue to recognize some of the best project/program managers from government who have helped small businesses get funding to commercialize their technologies, either through Phase III, Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) or other post-Phase II contract vehicles. This year's winners were selected from dozens of nominations from SBIR Phase II commercial businesses.

The 2015 "Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization" award winners were nominated by SBIR Phase II firms for going above and beyond the call, of duty in helping small businesses through the process of pursuing either commercialization or follow-on contract awards such as SBIR Phase III, Phase IIB/Bridge, RIF or other post-Phase II commercialization contracts.

The 18 winners selected for this prestigious award were praised for their leadership, knowledge and diligence in working to help small businesses get the resources they needed to advance their technologies, while at the same time meeting the needs of the agency they collaborated with. The Army's only award winner was TARDEC Associate Lisa Prokurat Franks.

She was nominated by Evisive and IAP Research, both of whom emphasized her ability to focus on the "big picture" in developing Phase I, II and III goals before the Phase I topic was even submitted, and assuring topics could be connected to larger funded research program goals. Franks was also praised for her work in helping find other Army partners to use Evisive and IAP Research's technologies when initial research programs were canceled.

"This is the inaugural year for this award," Franks stated. "Two of the contractors that I worked with on TARDEC SBIR projects, IAP Research Inc. of Dayton and Evisive, Inc. of Baton Rouge, nominated me for the award. I was the only awardee with two nominations, and the only Army Recipient."

"The SBIR Program is a partnership between small business and government," Franks continued. "Without the government's assistance, many high-tech innovations these companies have developed would never have the chance to succeed or make it to the marketplace."