Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Helping small businesses thrive

How the Laboratory supports supplier diversity and drives innovation
November 23, 2020
Helping small businesses thrive

Helping small businesses thrive


  • Director, Community Partnerships Office
  • Kathy Keith
  • Email
“Our suppliers are crucial to all of the work we do at Los Alamos”- Chris Fresquez

As a large organization with a budget of $3 billion in 2020, the Laboratory purchases a huge range of goods and services from businesses in New Mexico and beyond. To ensure the success of the Laboratory’s work and help grow the economy in the region, the Lab’s Small Business Office and procurement teams work to help find and support those high-quality business partners.

Supporting supplier diversity

The Laboratory spent $413 million on New Mexico small business contracts in the 2020 fiscal year. A supplier diversity program seeks to increase the Laboratory’s use of historically underutilized businesses as suppliers, with the U.S. Department of Energy setting annual subcontracting goals around a range of underutilized groups. In FY 2020 the Laboratory spent $140 million with women-owned New Mexico small businesses and $17 million with veteran-owned New Mexico small businesses.

“Our suppliers are crucial to all of the work we do at Los Alamos. We’re very happy with this year’s results, but we’re always looking to do more,” says Chris Fresquez, the Laboratory’s small business program manager.

One recent initiative is to hold regular meetings (now held in a virtual environment) to give current and prospective subcontractors information on procurement opportunities, and advice on the process of working with the Laboratory.

Transformation underway

The Laboratory is also adopting a new digital procurement system that enables businesses to transact with LANL more easily, and completely electronically. The major benefits include more efficient order processing, online order tracking and archiving, faster payment and time savings. Beginning early 2021, all current and new suppliers will be on-boarded within the new system.

“We aim to strengthen our current supplier relationships, and attract and qualify new suppliers,” says Rachel Schroeder of the Lab’s Procurement Transformation Management Office. “To support our transformative goals, we are modernizing our entire procurement system and streamlining all related activities and tools.”

Mentoring tribal businesses

A new mentor-protégé program agreement between Laboratory operator Triad National Security and Pueblo Alliance, LLC will groom Pueblo businesses for success in landing contracts with LANL and other U.S. Department of Energy entities. Mentorship areas include business planning, business development, marketing, proposal development, and quality assurance. The program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the agreement will be in effect for a minimum of two years, but could be extended.

Performance Maintenance, Inc employees celebrate their small business award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Rewarding success

The Laboratory’s efforts to help small businesses in the state have been recognized with awards. The Laboratory and Española-based contractor Performance Maintenance, Inc. won three U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Awards for the 2019 fiscal year. Performance Maintenance, Inc., won the HUBZone Small Business of the Year, Laboratory operator Triad won the Facility Management Contractor Small Business Achievement of the Year award, while Laboratory Director of the Year went to Thom Mason.