HOUGHTON - A local company has won a prestigious national award for small high-tech businesses.
GS Engineering of Houghton was one of 18 companies given a Tibbets Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award honors companies that are part of the SBA's Small Business Innovation Research Program.
Companies are recognized for research and development, innovating and creating jobs. GS Engineering received the award for work on advanced lightweight vehicle components.
Since 2001, the company has received 13 Phase I awards from the U.S. military. In that first phase, the company competes against one or two companies to do a proof of concept with lab testing and simulation. The winning company then moves on to phase II, in which they do detailed testing and test prototypes.
Of 13 Phase I awards, GS Engineering has gone to Phase II in 11.
"We have an exceptionally high success ratio, and I think that's because we go after contracts where we can really do the work that they're looking for, and we can bring that all the way through into production and commercialization," President Glen Simula said.
In the third phase, where a contractor OKs the product and purchases it, GS Engineering has received 37 contracts. Simula said the company is in the top 2 percent nationally among SBIR companies in the dollar value of contracts received.
GS Engineering has been doing work on lightweight vehicles since its first contract with the Marine Corps. It has also transitioned into work with the U.S. Army, doing work on lightweight wheels for a new ground combat vehicle.
Simula said the award provides more evidence of GS Engineering's credentials.
"Now we don't have to prove to companies that we can do the work," he said. "We just say we're one of the best of the best of the SBIR companies, and we're ranked on commercialization within the top 2 percent of SBIR companies. Now we don't have to say anything more. That's a third party evaluating it."