Successful mentor-protégé agreements provide a winning relationship for the protégé, the mentor, and the DOD.

Coast/Advanced Chip Magnetics (Coast/ACM), along with hundreds of other protégé firms, received opportunities that normally would never be afforded to a small firm. Every department within the federal government has a mentor-protégé program, including most agencies such as NASA. The DOD has two avenues available for its Mentor-Protégé program, which sets it apart from all of the other programs. One form of the program is for credit only (this is what the other departments and agencies of the government have). The other form of the program is administered through the various branches of the Services, and it has reimbursable funds available. Coast/ACM was involved in the Air Force Mentor-Protégé program. The Air Force announces the program several times a year through a broad agency announcement. The major participants in the proposal package are the prime contractor (mentor), the small (qualified) business (protégé), and a historically black college/university or a minority institution (HBCU/MI).

Coast/ACM and its mentor, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (NGST), managed by Tizoc Loza, succeeded in having a technology transfer that not only was beneficial to NGST but has been accepted industry-wide. The Department of Defense and most particularly the Department of the Air Force as well as NASA received a better product due to quicker assembly time and lower unit cost. Program highlights include:

  • Signing of a supplier partnership agreement (number 001)

  • Closing of NGST’s Magnetic Components Fabrication Laboratory (saving NGST over $1 million)

  • Major technology program transfer—magnetic component ball grid array (BGA) (see Figure F-1)

  • Technology transfer of surface mount technologies

  • Major testing and modeling performed by Florida International University

  • ISO9001:2000 training

  • Lean manufacturing training

  • Close working relationship with NGST commodity team

  • Doubling of sales after 2 years

  • Nunn-Perry Award winner

The DOD Mentor-Protégé program is the best reimbursable technology program Coast/ACM has been involved with. Our goals as well as the goals of our mentor have been met as well as surpassed.

Figure F-1 Transformer before BGA technology transfer and transformer after technology transfer. Photos courtesy of COAST/ACM.

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