Systems, a cutting-edge software technology company
from Cambridge, MA, today was awarded a prestigious Tibbetts Award for
performing critical research and development for the Armed Services and
applying innovative solutions to help public and private entities function more
Company founders, ML Mackey and Mike MacEwen, received the
award from the Small Business Administration (SBA) at a White House ceremony.
The award honors outstanding small businesses and individuals participating in
the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a highly competitive
program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research
and development with the potential for private sector use.
"We are honored to receive this award," said Mackey,
the company's CEO. "This has been a long journey from working out of a
rent controlled apartment 19 years ago to being recognized as a technology
leader who is helping our nation maintain a strong defense. We look
forward to continuing to grow and applying our solutions to improve efficiency
and strategic visibility for our government and private sector clients."
MacEwen, the company's President, noted that Beacon's work with
the Navy has saved a significant amount of money while improving shipboard
safety. Citing one example, he said that eTagOut, a solution created by
Beacon, blends human performance with system automation to reduce errors and
instantly communicate maintenance status and condition. The Navy estimates that
the technology will save $25 million over the next two years, and the
product was the subject of Beacon's nomination for the Tibbetts Award.
"We have worked with customers in a wide variety of
industries," MacEwen said. "Our clients have ranged from MetLife and
Olympus to Hunt Manufacturing as well as spanning both consumer and investment
focused Internet startups. Regardless of industry, customer, or function,
Beacon has always provided high-quality solutions."
Moreover, the company has been applauded by members of Congress
for overcoming the obstacles that small businesses frequently face when
competing with larger firms for government and private sector work.
Beacon is also a woman-owned company.
"Through professionalism, client-focused approach and
state-of-the-art products, Beacon Interactive typifies the renaissance of
technological innovation occurring in Massachusetts," said
Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA). "ML Mackey and Beacon Interactive
exemplify the important role that small businesses can play in both the private
and public sectors when given the opportunity to compete with larger firms.
Their work is helping America's service members, providing resources that
enhance our military's effectiveness and efficiency. Beacon's success
underscores the importance of the Small Business Innovation Research program,
which has been instrumental in the growth of so many small businesses. Congratulations
to Beacon Interactive on this well-deserved award."
The company has received strong support from its clients.
"The Beacon Interactive Systems Team distinguished
themselves with exceptional superior service as the developers of the TurboWork
and Electronic Tag-Out applications," said J.L. Zumbro, MFOM Program
Manager. "Beacon Interactive's outstanding professional skill, leadership,
and ceaseless efforts resulted in major contributions to the effectiveness and
success of the MFOM Program and the Fleet user. Applying extensive knowledge
and substantial Human System Integration (HSI) experience, they aggressively
pursued and resolved countless challenges leading to the successful development
of an innovative HSI solution."
Beacon's origins were in the non-federal, non-defense related
private sector. For instance, in 2000, the company was awarded a
contract to provide Integrated Account Management to 500 field sales
representatives of the North American division of Olympus. But when the economic
downturn hit the software industry, many large players experienced financial
difficulties. At this point, Beacon engaged with the Navy SBIR
Program. By leveraging private sector experience and core expertise in
operational cost-savings innovation, the company won its first SBIR contract in
2002. The objective was to help keep Navy ships mission ready while they
were deployed around the globe.
Since engaging with the SBIR Program, Beacon has won several
Navy SBIR Phase I, II and III contracts. As part of upgrading its maintenance
systems, the Navy was looking for ways to replace an aging application while
creating a more efficient workforce. Beacon met and exceeded the
objectives at a fraction of the price expected, in a compressed timeframe and
in such a way that included a diverse group of stakeholders as part of the
"Our innovation is reflected in all of the technology that
we deliver," MacEwen said. "We share our approaches, philosophies and
knowledge with both the Navy and other development partners both large and
small. This has made Beacon a valuable member of teams whether designing a new
destroyer or supporting software code in the field."