Air Force's small business programs open doors for veterans

The Air Force's Manufacturing Technical Assistance Production Program (MTAPP) is a small business program that focuses on increasing and enhancing the competitiveness of small manufacturing firms, including Service-disabled Veteran-owned businesses, that support of the Air Force and Department of Defense supply chains.

"MTAPP identifies small manufacturing firms as potential suppliers for Air Force and DoD programs, assesses their capabilities to provide services and commodities, and provides individualized technical assistance," said Ronald A. Poussard, Air Force Office of Small Business Programs director.

M2 Global Technology Inc. is one of the many service-disabled veteran-owned businesses that work with the Air Force Office of Small Business Programs. When M2 received its aerospace quality standard certification late last year, the company had no idea how far that accomplishment would take them.

"M2 Global, as one of our MTAPP graduate companies, is an outstanding example of the multiple benefits generated by this program” said Lt. Col. William Blakeman, MTAPP chief. “M2 Global is a Service-disabled Veteran-owned small business that has been helped by the Air Force, and now directly supports our priority of recapitalizing and modernizing our Air Force."

M2 Global, based in San Antonio, Texas, caught the eye of Lockheed Martin as a result of their MTAPP experience. M2 was soon chosen to manufacture parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

"We are working on more than 100 different parts for eight airframes at present," said Douglas Carlberg, a former Army officer and M2 Global's chief executive officer and owner. "We started out with clips and brackets--that might sound simple, but I promise you it's not--and received kudos for our work. The result was that we were recommended to the Lockheed Martin machining parts division. Now we are machining a number of highly complex parts for the aircraft."

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' small business director, Sam Evans, said M2 Global has a solid reputation within the company.

"As a nation still at war and as disabled veteran's return from Iraq and Afghanistan, I know that we all believe in giving back to those who have given so much for our Nation," said Poussard. Helping veterans become competitive in supplying parts to the Air Force and Department of Defense is one way to do that.

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