Meet David Christ: Small Business Advocate and new Team Leader for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Army Research Office

February 24, 2014

Story Highlights

  • The Small Business Office consists of ARL employees who are responsible for monitoring and approving acquisition strategies originating from ARL and the Army Contracting Command for compliance with Small Business Program requirements.
  • In his current role, one of Christ's main responsibilities is to ensure that a fair portion of ARL's contracts are awarded to small businesses in compliance with federal law and the Department of Defense and Army policy.
  • Christ's responsibilities were recently expanded from ARO's Small Business Advocate to the ARL Small Business Team Lead, supporting the entire enterprise and supporting both servicing ACC contracting offices.

Since President Eisenhower signed the Small Business Act into law in 1953, Congress, and therefore the Department of Defense, has recognized the importance of protecting the role of small businesses in the American economy. In subsequent years, recent years being no exception, there has been increasing emphasis on small business participation in government contracts.

According to David Christ, Small Business Advocate for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Army Research Office (ARO), ". . . a common standing justification is that small businesses create jobs in a tough economy and are the primary engine of job creation, in general; others say that small businesses lead industry in technology creation and innovation, and are also source of value."

Regardless of the reasoning said Christ, there has been significant new policy and emphasis on this, and ARL recognizes it.

"More importantly, it supports the ARL Director's strategic vision for the organization. He has said that we will have to be more open and collaborative with our strategic partners in industry and academia to achieve that vision," stated Christ.

"Small businesses are a critical part of that industry collaboration and we need to work hard to identify those sources and harness their innovative energy and capabilities," added Christ.

The Small Business Office consists of ARL employees who are responsible for monitoring and approving acquisition strategies originating from ARL and the Army Contracting Command for compliance with Small Business Program requirements.

They work directly with vendors, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), Army Contracting Command (ACC), and other agencies with whom ARL partners.

As business experts, employees of the Small Business Office provide advice to technical staff, contracting and small businesses on all aspects of contracting.

In addition, they conduct outreach to businesses interested in working with ARL and the Army, perform market research, locate vendors with unique skill sets, and assist vendors with questions related to contract administration.

Christ noted that the ARL Small Business Office is often mistakenly confused with the Small Business Innovation Research Program, the SBA and ACC.

"The ARL Small Business Office is not the SBIR Program Office or the Small Business Technology Transfer Program Management Office, but we do work with them and assist them with a number of things related to contracts," Christ said.

In his current role, one of Christ's main responsibilities is to ensure that a fair portion of ARL's contracts are awarded to small businesses in compliance with federal law and DoD and Army policy.

Specific goals for contracting with small businesses, and several subcategories of small business, are negotiated among the DoD, SBA and Army annually, and flow down to ARL through the Army Material Command and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

Christ's responsibilities were recently expanded from ARO's Small Business Advocate to the ARL Small Business Team Lead, supporting the entire enterprise and supporting both servicing ACC contracting offices.

"This provides a single point of responsibility for all things small business, including strategic planning, outreach to industry, acquisition planning, programs compliance and others," stated Christ.

As it pertains to the future, Christ says that his hopes for the office are threefold.

First, Christ wants the Small Business Office to be involved in strategic planning decisions as a trusted business advisor.

Second, he hopes that the office will be exploited as a value-added tool by the entire ARL/ACC workforce, providing assistance with market research and acquisition planning.

Third, Christ wants to work to establish the Small Business Office as a recognized premiere program that facilitates ARL's research mission through bringing the very best of what small businesses have to offer to the organization.

In conclusion, Christ said that the Small Business Office is here to help ARL employees. Anyone working on a contract can call and his office will do the best they can to provide the assistance they seek or need.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: February 24, 2014