Friday, January 30, 2015

BusinessUSA Executive Committee Meeting

Yesterday I was proud to host the BusinessUSA Executive Committee Meeting in our Executive Conference room. I will start with a little background information, in 2011 the President issued a challenge to government agencies to think outside the box when coming to organizational boundaries and this is how BusinessUSA came to be.

It’s always great to hear about how successful the online platform has become. The platform acts as a one-stop shop allowing the user to seek information with ease that is pertinent to their business. As an emerging entrepreneur, finding out the right information can be difficult and frustrating. BusinessUSA included a helpful portal in their site that allows for a more personal and customized experience with tools such as online training and chat forums.

 Listed from the left: Amin Mehr, Manager of Technology & Innovation, Michele Bartram, Manager of Partnerships & Customer Assurance, Efrain Gonzalez: Chief Financial Officer & Administrative Officer, Dennis Alvord, Executive Director, Holly Schick, Deputy Executive Director, Dexter Fredericks, Product Manager

An engaging topic that came up was the presentation on the Digital Strategies Playbook Audit of BusinessUSA. The White House launched the U.S. Digital Services Playbook on August 11, 2014. The playbook consists of 13 topics that were derived from successful best practices from the private sector and the government. Consumers spend money on digital channels to make lives easier. If every business starts to follow these 13 “plays” then digital channels will become more rounded and intuitive. BusinessUSA adapted this methodology to improve on specific areas such as making current progress to integrate automatic testing tools to improve their website and new mobile application.

For more information on this methodology please visit the site.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bally Ribbon Mills Tour

I am always proud of the contribution small businesses make to NASA’s Mission. Today NASA’s Administrator, Mr. Charlie Bolden, the Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, Dr. Michael Gazarik and I toured Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) in Bally, Pennsylvania to gain insight on the production of the advanced Woven Thermal Protection System (Woven TPS). NASA envisions the great potential for BRM’s advanced woven thermal protection systems on the Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), Orion spacecraft mission, currently scheduled for 2018.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, BRM President Ray Harries and I.

BRM, a successful Small Business Innovation Research Phase III company has been a valuable partner to the agency and is using unique thermal protective materials to help develop a safe way for astronauts to travel into deep space and ultimately Mars. 

Ms. Pamela Ream, a BRM Harness Maker and Filler demonstrating the hand weaving process.

Mr. Ray Harries, President of BRM, led the tour and what I found particularly fascinating was seeing the advance Woven TPS process and the 3-D Multifunctional Ablative TPS for Orion. It was inspiring to see innovative technology firsthand that stem from game-changing small businesses. NASA is proud to be associated with these high-tech small businesses that are essential for us to complete our various missions.