By Rene Ray De La Cruz, Staff Writer

ADELANTO — Eric Schmidt and Kevin Mahaffy, co-owners of Exquadrum in Adelanto, have returned from a Monday visit in Washington, D.C., where they received a prestigious award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA presented the duo and 24 other high-tech, small-business owners with the honorable Tibbetts Award for the critical role the companies played in research and development for the government, and for their success in driving innovation and creating jobs.

The presentations were made at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, an extension of the White House, according to Schmidt. Associate Administrator Javier Saade made the presentations and Dr. Shirley Malcom was the featured guest speaker.

“I really want to recognize Louisa Miller who nominated us for the award,” Schmidt said. “She works for the Small Business Development Center for the Inland Empire.”

Schmidt and Mahaffy were previously recognized by the SBA as runners-up for the 2013 Santa Ana District Small Business Person of the Year Award.

During the 11th annual 2013 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards ceremony in November, the Exquadrum duo received the Technology Entrepreneur Award at Ontario Convention Center.

“I’m humbled to be in D.C. today to receive the Tibbetts Award,” Schmidt said after the award presentation. “The Tibbie recognizes excellence in research and innovation within the Small Business Innovation Research program and is coveted as the highest award given out to Small Business Innovation Research companies.”

Founded in 2002, Exquadrum is a research-and-development engineering corporation employing approximately 25 engineers, technicians and business operations specialists, providing innovative solutions for federal government agencies. Much of their work revolves around rocket technology and is done for the Defense Department.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA administrator, said innovative entrepreneurs such as the award recipients and Hall of Fame inductees help power America’s economy and move it forward by creating jobs and making U.S industries globally competitive.

“Their accomplishments remind us all of how integral the success of high-growth, small-businesses are to making our country more globally competitive,” Contreras-Sweet said.

The Tibbetts Awards honor outstanding small businesses and individuals who participate in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

The awards are named after Roland Tibbetts, who was instrumental in developing the SBIR program and presented to companies and individuals from all over the United States who are beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology.

Tibbetts Award winners are selected according to the economic impact of their technological innovation and whether they have met federal research and development needs, encouraged diverse participation in technological innovation and increased the commercialization of federal research.

For more information on Exquadrum, visit

Information on SBIR can be found online at

Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, or on Twitter@renegadereports.

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