Mentor-Protege program pays off in defending the nation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Department of Defense has made it official.  A prestigious Nunn-Perry Award goes to Northrop Grumman and Huntsville's QTEC Aerospace. The award for, "Outstanding achievement in the Mentor-Protege program."

"To watch a small company like QTEC grow and adapt some of what we've learned through the Mentor-Protege program has been just a wonderful experience," said Northrop Grumman's Steve Cook. Cook managed the special relationship between the two companies.


In this case, Northrop Grumman got a reliable partner.

"When you're fixing software, when you're fixing requirements, you've got to do them right. And having a company you can depend on to get the details right is very important," said Cook.

QTEC was able to learn, grow and become more successful.

"The Mentor-Protege program has afforded us all the knowledge and the capability that we were seeking to grow on our own, but were not able to. And Northrop Grumman came behind us and gave us that strength that we needed," said Kathryn Broad, the co-founder of QTEC.

The two companies have used their close relationship to co-operate on various projects for the Missile Defense Agency. While they've worked together for more than 20 years, this latest closer relationship has made a difference.

"The essence for us is that we're able to take on larger roles, I believe stronger contracting roles," said Carol Daniel, the Vice President of QTEC.

The idea behind the Mentor-Protege program is to make the protege business stronger. In the case of QTEC, it has meant a 64 percent growth in the workforce and an 84 percent increase in revenue.

Northrop Grumman will continue its Mentor-Protege program with new proteges, and QTEC is now on the road to move from being a protege to becoming a mentor.

It shouldn't be forgotten that while this is about business and growth, the bottom line is still two companies co-operating on projects that help protect the armed forces and the country.

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