SBIR Gateway

SBIR Insider Newsletter
December 18, 2008 Edition

Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,

As most of us prepare to celebrate the holidays and usher in a new year, we find ourselves in a historic situation. Just prior to FDR's great metaphor "rendezvous with destiny" he stated "There is a mysterious cycle in human events." Harry Truman, who succeeded FDR said "The only thing new under the sun is the history that you don't know." If we combine FDR's thought with Truman's, we may see a small clue of what to expect in our near future.

In essence our economy is in the ER (not unlike FDR's time), and the current administration as well as the next is in the position of performing triage to the critically ill patient. Some efforts will help, others will fail, but ultimately we will be ok if we work together. History has taught us that.

Now, lets move on to the SBIR news.

In this issue:

Landrieu to Succeed Kerry on the SBE

Mary Landrieu
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) will become the new Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) replacing John Kerry (D-MA) who is moving on to become Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Ms. Landrieu has considerable interest and support for the SBIR/STTR programs as well as rural outreach for these and other programs.

Kerry issued the following statement: "As Small Business Committee Chairman, I traveled to Louisiana with Mary and I saw firsthand her passion for helping small business owners in her state and across the country. After Louisiana was walloped by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Senator Landrieu put Washington on notice that she wouldn't accept a second-rate federal response and she fought for aid to rebuild her state’s economy. Small business owners should be proud to have Mary Landrieu at the helm of this Committee in the Senate."

Snowe Calls for Elevation of SBA Administrator to Cabinet-Level

It appears that Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will remain as ranking member of the Senate SBE. Snowe, a strong supporter of SBIR, wants more resources and higher status for the SBA and its administrator. In a recent BusinessWeek interview she called on Obama to elevate the position of SBA Administrator to a Cabinet-Level position " to ensure that the voice of small business is heard loud and clear within our Federal government."

We hope that Landrieu and Snowe will have as good and cooperative a relationship as did Kerry and Snowe.

Wishing Him Well: Deputy Secretary of Defense (A&T), James I. Finley

James I. Finley
The Honorable James I. Finley, will be stepping down from his position of Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, at the end of the current administration. Finley, who prefers to be called "Jim", has been one of the strongest supporters of SBIR ever seen in the upper echelon of government. His 30+ years in the private sector included senior and operational management positions in projects ranging from NASA to the DoD Joint program experience. He also is very familiar with the role of small high tech businesses in achieving successful DoD systems and objectives.

At the November 2008 DoD "Beyond Phase II Conference" in Palm Desert, Secretary Finley stressed the importance of the SBIR program, (especially phase II and phase III) and even went so far as to offer the personal comment that he thought a raise from the current 2.5% to 3.5% was not only justified, but a good idea. He also spent a good deal of time after his presentation to visit with many of the small businesses exhibiting at the conference. His attention was not simply polite, but engaging!

Finley also made certain that the DoD understood that the extension of the SBIR program through March 20, 2009 was to be adhered to. He's been a strong proponent of the CPP and phase III transitions.

The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) is presenting a special award to Secretary. Finley for his outstanding support to the SBIR program. Details will be on SBTC's web site at

The SBIR Insider is not aware of Finley's future plans but we'll give you an update. In our years of federal government involvement, James I. Finley is one who truly deserves the title "The Honorable" before his name. In spite of that, he'll be more comfortable if you call him Jim.

The Retirement Corner: Schaper and Guilfoos to Hang Up their Spurs

Two very well known and respected SBIR officials have announced their retirements. Vincent (Vinny) Schaper, DHS SBIR Program Director steps down in late December. Although Vinny has spent the last few years as DHS SBIR Program Director, he is perhaps best known for his many years (1988-2004) as the Navy's SBIR program manager. Vinny has been a valued and popular presence for many years in SBIR, and is not the type of person to totally retire. SBIR is in his blood, so it's a safe bet that he'll have some SBIR involvement somewhere. Lisa Sobolewski remains at DHS as the SBIR Program Director for the DHS S&T Directorate.

Steve Guilfoos is a well known and popular SBIR manager having spent his entire career with the Air Force. Steve has been the Air Force SBIR program manager since 1999 and managed the Air Force's Technology Transfer program prior to that. His SBIR presentations are often like that of a good football coach, exercised and motivating. Steve Guilfoos' retirement is scheduled for March, 2009.

NIST's Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Call for White Papers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP) is seeking white papers to fulfill its mission "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need."

TIP is seeking white papers to help shape the Program's collaborative outreach and competitions in the future. TIP is interested in receiving white papers from anyone including academia; Federal, State, and local governments; industry; and professional organizations/societies.

In this call for white papers, TIP is seeking information in all areas of critical national need, but also seeks information to assist TIP in further defining several topic areas under development. White papers may discuss any area of critical national need of interest to the submitter, or may address any of the following topic areas: civil infrastructure, complex networks and complex systems, energy, ensuring future water supply, manufacturing, nanomaterials/nanotechnology, personalized medicine, and sustainable chemistry. Please see the Federal Register Notice at for further details.

SBA Posts SBIR Affiliation Discussion on their Website

We receive many calls and emails from small businesses asking about the SBIR affiliation and size standard rules. The SBA has recently posted a PDF file called sbir_affiliation_discussion.pdf. It is mainly a placeholder for a more detailed file named affiliation_discussion.pdf, a 6 page discussion with examples. Unlike the first file, created Dec 2008, the second file appears to have been made back in July 2008.

You can find these files at (make sure it's lower case), then in the lower center section under Highlights, click on "Affiliation Discussion".

NSF STTR Letter of Intent Due January 14, 2009

Although the NSF's FY-2009 STTR deadline isn't until February 25, 2009, a letter of intent is due by January 14, 2009. The full solicitation is available on NSF's web site at

Note: A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), was issued October 1, 2008 and is effective for this round of STTR proposals. You can download the html or PDF version of the guide at

The topics are included in the SBIR Gateway Topic Search Engine at

SBIR Person of the Year

Kevin Wheeler
Every year the SBIR Gateway selects an SBIR Person of the Year, someone who has put forth exceptional effort in support of the SBIR program. Unlike Time Magazine's Person of the Year selection, which had little suspense, this year's SBIR person of the year may be unknown to many of you.

Our SBIR Person of the Year 2008 is Ms. Kevin Wheeler, Deputy Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE).

Ms. Wheeler's name is not well known to the SBIR community at large because much of her work is behind the scenes and she always gives the credit to her boss, Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) the SBE committee chair, as well as other members of the committee staff, and outside SBIR advocates.

Wheeler came on board with the SBE Committee in 1998 as part of their professional staff and played an important role in the SBIR reauthorization of 2000. She has been an integral part of SBIR/STTR ever since.

According to Jere Glover, Executive Director of the Small Business Technology Council (and former SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy), "Every time there has been a challenge involving SBIR/STTR reauthorization, Kevin has not only been in the room, but she has been the brightest, strongest voice in the room. She was critical in the 2000 SBIR reauthorization, the STTR reauthorization as well as the DoD's Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) and absolutely critical to the March 20, 2009 extension."

One would be hard pressed to find a harder working, more capable and dedicated public servant than Kevin Wheeler, our 2008 SBIR Person of the Year.

You can view the Person of the Year article (with pictures) at

DoD, the Big 3 and SBIR??

What do the DoD, the big 3 auto manufactures and SBIR companies have in common? National Defense! Recently Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) was giving an impassioned plea on the Senate floor to save America's auto manufacturing companies.

He went on to describe the role of the big 3 in manufacturing weapons systems, working with components such as the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). He cited the use of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) as well as the importance of partnerships with small businesses from the SBIR program.

Senator Levin has been a strong supporter of SBIR from the early days, and although he is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he also sits on the Senate Small Business Committee. A short video snippet of Levin's presentation can be seen on our video site at

Thank You Senator Kerry

John Kerry
Most of my regular readers know I hold both parties in equal contempt. However, in this issue I sound like a flaming Democrat. I'm willing to take that risk in order to tell you the truth.

I was in the Navy in the mid-60's and I was anything BUT a fan of John F. Kerry in those days. If someone were to have told me I would someday hold him in high regard, I'd have said they were nuts!

Over the last decade as I have been working SBIR issues, the John Kerry I came to know (from a distance) was one of SBIR's greatest champions. Without him, the program would have been drastically different, and mostly for the worse. His dedication was not just to SBIR, but the entire small business community.

His ability to quickly grasp facts, understand them fully, champion the cause while understanding how to compromise when necessary, made him one of the most amazing senatorial presence in the small business idiom. To his credit he worked very well with his excellent republican counterpart, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Regardless of your political preference, we will all miss Senator John F. Kerry's small business leadership and commitment, as he moves on to chair the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The SBTC has written letters of appreciation to both Kerry and Snowe for their work on the SBE, and support of SBIR.

A less eloquent SBIR Insider simply says, "Thank you Big John!"

Air Force BAA Opportunity

The Air Force AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate has released BAA_RV_08_02, Autonomous Space and Ground Systems for Space Superiority. This is a 35 day Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to solicit research proposals for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Spacecraft Component Technology Branch, which is supporting the advanced decision support and autonomy efforts in Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Command and Control (C2), and Defensive CounterSpace (DCS).

Although this BAA lists a NAICS code of 541712 – "Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)" which has a size standard of 500, it is an "open to all" competition.

The BAA is available on FedBizOpps at

That's about all for now. After the holidays, we'll give you the latest on the Obama transition team (as it applies to SBIR), and hopefully some good news about SBA.

Don't forget to visit the SBIR Gateway to keep current with the latest SBIR news and events. Here's wishing you the happiest of holidays including Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Years, and any others I may have overlooked.



Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
[email protected]

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