FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- An employee from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, was recognized for exceptional performance in working with small businesses, during a ceremony at the Army Materiel Command Small Business Conference in McLean, Va. Nov. 18.

Suzanne Weeks, CERDEC Small Business Innovation Research program analyst, was awarded AMC SBIR Program Coordinator of the Year for fiscal year 2009.

"Suzanne is the driving force behind CERDEC's very successful SBIR program. This award is well deserved," said Mari Kovach, CERDEC associate director for Technology and Strategic Planning.

Weeks oversees the day-to-day operations of the CERDEC SBIR program, in which small businesses compete for research and development awards with the U.S. Army. Weeks coordinated 89 Phase 1 SBIR Awards, 46 Phase 2 SBIR Awards and 36 other SBIR actions for CERDEC in fiscal year 2009.

"I like seeing things come out of the program, seeing some of the technology that comes out of it," said Weeks.

Weeks has been a part of the SBIR program since 1991 and has led the CERDEC program since 2000. Her efforts helped CERDEC earn 19 U.S. Army SBIR Achievement Awards since 1995, which are awarded to the top Army SBIR projects based on originality of research, relevance to the Army's mission, commercialization potential of the product and the overall performance of the project.

"We're successful every year, and since CERDEC's reputation is good, I get a good reputation," said Weeks.

Beginning her civilian service in 1982, Weeks has held positions in CERDEC headquarters' Financial Management Division and the Technology Transfer Office. Her contributions to the SBIR program were previously recognized in 1997 by the Department of Defense SBIR Office. Along with her role as CERDEC SBIR program coordinator, she currently serves as the lead for the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement program and supports the technology transfer program.

Surprised and thankful for the recognition, Weeks attributes her years of success with the CERDEC SBIR program to the "great group of people" she works with both at CERDEC and RDECOM, as well as those in the small business offices.

"They're willing to take a chance, where maybe the bigger companies won't. They'll do something different that might lead into something very valuable for the Soldier."