Sandia Offers New Mexico Small Businesses Opportunity to Thrive

Judy Ortiz Rizek is owner and president of The Circuit Shop in Albuquerque, a small, woman-owned business that has contracted with Sandia National Laboratories. Businesses such as The Circuit Shop could qualify for the 5 percent preference under Sandia’s recently launched plan. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Offering developing New Mexico small businesses additional opportunities to compete and grow, Sandia National Laboratories has launched a 5 percent pricing preference for qualified companies.

“Sometimes it’s challenging for small New Mexico businesses to compete with out-of-state companies or larger businesses,” Labs Director Steve Younger said. “We’re committed to New Mexico, and we want to give our small businesses a hand.”

The preference could apply to about $100 million in subcontract awards for New Mexico small businesses to compete for during the first year of the program, said Delfinia Salazar, senior manager of the labs’ Supply Chain Integration department. The subcontracts would represent a wide range of services, including research and development, customized equipment, professional services, commercial items and information technology.

“It’s our goal as we continue to establish the plan that it will increase our use of small businesses and support jobs in New Mexico,” Salazar said. “We’ll know more about the overall impact for New Mexico businesses after a few years of the program.”

Sandia will apply the 5 percent preference while evaluating subcontract awards worth $150,000 to $5 million that include a bid from a New Mexico small business. “Most competitive acquisitions are in that range,” Salazar said, “and it allows us to give small businesses the best chance to be competitive.”

To qualify as a New Mexico small business, a company must meet North American Industry Classification System Code and associated Small Business Administrationsize standards, be registered and licensed in New Mexico, have an operating location in state and have 50 percent of its employees be state residents, among other requirements.

“Our intent was to develop specific qualifications to ensure we’re offering the pricing preference to small businesses that truly are operating in New Mexico, employing New Mexico labor and contributing to New Mexico,” Salazar said. When a qualified New Mexico small business offers a bid, an internal analysis will add 5 percent to bids of other businesses not qualifying as a New Mexico small business. In the event of a tie, Sandia reserves the right to award the New Mexico small business.

Small businesses will be notified of the program at the beginning of the bidding process, when they receive requests for quotes for services and goods, Salazar said.

The effort is part of Sandia’s goal of increasing the small-business percentage of the roughly $1.1 billion Sandia annually spends on contracted suppliers of goods and services. In fiscal year 2017, small businesses received 53 percent, or $581 million, of those dollars. About $270 million went to New Mexico small businesses. Sandia’s goal is to increase the percentage spent on all small businesses to 60 percent in the next five years. “We want small businesses statewide to have these opportunities,” Younger said.

He said Sandia plans to work closely with state and local entities and universities that are concerned about small-business development. “In building these collaborations, we want to leverage what they are good at with what we’re good at so that small businesses throughout New Mexico can grow and provide jobs for state residents,” he said.

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