Lincoln Laboratory presents Small Business of the Year Award

ThinKom of Torrance, California honored

A ceremony was held in Director's Office on 15 November, to present the Laboratory's first-ever Small Business of the Year Award to ThinKom, a supplier of high-efficiency, low-profile antennas, based in Torrance, California. The Small Business of the Year Award recognizes ThinKom's significant contributions to the Advanced Multiband Communications Antenna System (AMCAS) project and its realization of an analytically difficult aircraft antenna for military satellite communications.

Tony Sharon, Lincoln Laboratory's Assistant Director – Operations, began the ceremony by speaking in general about small business. He said, "Within the general economic environment, we recognize that small businesses are the true engines of the economy and innovation. Many great technical ideas come from small businesses. All of these are true for ThinKom, and they match very well with the Lab's culture of technical excellence."

Small Business Award Bill Milroy and Avery Quil of ThinKom receive Lincoln Laboratory’s first Small Business of the Year Award from Tony Sharon.

Upon receiving this first award of its kind, Avery Quil, ThinKom Senior Program Manager, said, "We appreciate that we are enabling the war fighter with operational capabilities; it's a big responsibility. We are ecstatic about this award!" Lincoln Laboratory's Small Business Liason Officer, Michelle Simoes, indicated that ThinKom deserved this award based on its innovative and timely responses, model management, and capacity to collect and utilize a wide range of resources. She said Laboratory staff assigned to the AMCAS project described working with ThinKom as "a collaboration between peers." Quil added that the secret to their success in this project was great communication. He said, "We worked with Lincoln Laboratory in a logical manner and worked through any problems one step at a time."

The AMCAS project was designed to meet multiple objectives including operating with military EHF satellites (both Milstar and WGS), low profile for reduced aerodynamic drag on airborne platforms, data rates in the Mbps, and easy installation.  This type of antenna enables secure, long-range connectivity for future Air Force communications. This antenna has two channels, one for protected military communications, and one that can be used for commercial communication. Having these two channels already teed up is a great benefit to the warfighter.

ThinKom employs 45 people, half of which are engineers. Fifteen of those engineers were assigned to the AMCAS program. The progress of this multi-phase effort was evidence of the team's enthusiasm about this technical challenge. Bill Milroy, Chairman and CEO of ThinKom, said, "We went from a feasibility study to concept to two flying prototypes within 15 months, and then altered the design for another Lincoln project within ten months." He added that this is the company's third or fourth project with Lincoln Laboratory, and each of which has resulted in a flown antenna. Milroy said ThinKom has "worked with Lincoln Laboratory for five years and appreciates the Lab's trust in our organization to contribute to important problems. In the end, the technology is for the war fighter and this is a trust we take very seriously."

In closing, Milroy reiterated his thanks by saying, "We are truly appreciative of the opportunities and trust that Lincoln Laboratory and the Electronic Systems Center have extended to us as a small business over the past few years and we will strive to continue to earn that trust as we move forward into the future."


Posted January 2012

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