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Department of Defense Names UTEP Winner of 2019 Mentor-Protégé Nunn-Perry Award

Last Updated on May 18, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Originally published May 18, 2020

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

The University of Texas at El Paso was awarded the 2019 Mentor-Protégé Nunn-Perry Award by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Office of Small Business Programs through its industry collaboration with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Marvin Engineering Corporation. The agreement between Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Marvin Engineering was one of six Mentor-Protégé teams chosen to win the award.

Faculty and staff from UTEP's Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) stand with employees of the Marvin Group, an engineering firm in Inglewood, California, in this October 2019 photo. TMAC has worked with the Marvin Group and other companies nationwide in an effort to realign their supply efforts to assist health care providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Courtesy
Faculty and staff from UTEP's Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) stand with employees of the Marvin Group, an engineering firm in Inglewood, California, in this October 2019 photo. Photo: Courtesy

The DoD Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) was established in 1990 after DoD contractors raised concerns about their inability to meet Small Disadvantaged Business (SBD) subcontracting goals. The award is named for the contributions of Sen. Sam Nunn and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who both played critical roles in the implementation of the DoD Mentor Protégé Program. 

“The Department of Defense and the American economy succeed because of the innovations borne from small companies like those in the DoD Mentor Protégé Program,” said Shannon Jackson, deputy director of the Office of Small Business Programs within the Office of Industrial Policy. “Within the defense industrial base these companies work to deliver cutting edge technologies and services that challenge the status quo and have the capacity to shape the future of their respective industries. In order to create these capabilities to support the warfighter, their companies have to deliver more than technology or services. 

In March 2017, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics was awarded more than $1 million to participate in the MPP with Marvin Engineering and UTEP. The collaboration has resulted in the successful transfer of critical technology and capabilities to Marvin Engineering. 

The UTEP-TMAC team involved in the Mentor Protégé project consisted of Ivan Renteria, Benito Flores, Jason Farley, and Amit Lopes. 

“The Mentor-Protégé program is an extremely valuable program,” said Amit Lopes, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial manufacturing and systems engineering at UTEP. “It enables important small business protégés to significantly reduce the learning curves for implementing required technological and operational changes to fulfill the ever-changing needs of the DoD mission.”

The partnership between Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, UTEP and Marvin Engineering focused on protégé growth, infrastructure development, technical development, and program management. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics provided guidance in:

  • Robotic paint-spraying capabilities
  • Lean manufacturing techniques supporting F-35 final assembly work cells
  • Strategic planning and ethics training
  • Project management training
  • Training within industry methodologies
  • Foreign object damage (FOD) prevention awareness training
  • Truth in Negotiations Act compliance training for Marvin Engineering and its international partners
  • Supply chain procurement dashboard capabilities

“The program allows a prime contractor, such as Lockheed Martin, to help strengthen our supply base and enhance the protégé capabilities that support our programs/platforms as well as the warfighter,” said Lockheed Martin Aeronautics MPP lead Chantay White-Taylor. “It has been my honor to have led such a talented team of individuals and give back to the small business community. The relationships built with USAF OSBP, MEC and UTEP is an experience I will cherish for years to come.”