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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: April 28, 2003
Volume 38, Number 18

ASM collaboration helps Terradigm win 2003 Nunn-Perry Award

By Steve Carr

Fritz Eberle, UNM adjunct professor, Stephen Hogan, manager, AT&T Operations, Michael Romero, president, Terradigm, Inc., and John Young, UNM special advisor for Economic Development, display the Department of Defense's prestigious Nunn-Perry Award for 2003. Photo by Steve Carr.

Terradigm, Inc. has received the Department of Defense’s (DoD) prestigious Nunn-Perry Award for 2003. The award recognizes outstanding performance by Mentor-Protégé teams formed under the DoD Mentor-Protégé Program. The UNM Anderson Schools of Management (ASM) was a part of Terradigm’s Mentor-Protégé team, which involves minority serving institutions.

The program provides for the development of small businesses to become valued suppliers of services. This year’s award recognizes 12 Mentor-Protégé teams that excelled in business development, infrastructure and services to the marketplace.

Terradigm, based in Albuquerque, is a professional services company providing distinctive program and project management services to government and private customers. Their Mentor-Protégé partnership is with AT&T Government Solutions, the mentor contractor.

“It’s a great honor to be a part of the project and to win the award,” said John Young, UNM professor and principal investigator of the project. “We are competing with all other institutions classified as a ‘minority institution.’ It’s a very prestigious award and represents a big window of opportunity for UNM. Hopefully, we can receive more of these mentor protégé contracts. It might be the first within a stream of income from the DoD.”

The award is named in honor of former Senator Sam Nunn for his vision and insight in sponsoring legislation to create and fund the DoD Mentor-Protégé Program, and in honor of former Defense Secretary William Perry for his commitment to the implementation of the program.

Terradigm, AT&T Government Solutions (AGS) and UNM began working together in 2001 when Terradigm was awarded a contract with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) to provide management support services across the organization with AGS as a teaming partner.

Under the Mentor-Protégé program AGS is mentoring Terradigm toward achieving Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certification for software development, making it the only small business in the country to be both ISO 9000 compliant and CMMI certified. Terradigm achieved ISO 9001 quality compliance in 2001.

“CMMI is a process improvement and quality standard for software development which the DoD usually requires of its software suppliers,” said Fritz Eberle, adjunct professor at ASM who has been overseeing UNM’s participation in the project.

“It’s similar to the ISO 9000 methodology for quality assurance, but more rigorous. CMMI requires a variety of planning and documentation activities that help increase process consistency, prevent defects and ensure product quality.

“Terradigm also wanted to integrate the activities required in the CMMI model with their previous work toward ISO 9000 certification by building a web-based quality management system that would be easily accessible and usable by all their employees. Terradigm is now fine-tuning its processes to simultaneously comply with both standards, which is one of the more interesting parts of the project.”

Earlier in the mentor-protégé project, UNM students also performed surveys, interviews and business analyses in an effort to explore the software needs of various DoD government units.

In 1994, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories each awarded Terradigm contracts to provide management and cost engineering services. Since then, customers have awarded Terradigm contracts for program and project management services including the Department of Energy, Army Space Command, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, White Sands Missile Range, Space and Missile Systems Center, and the Indian Health Service.

Terradigm president and founder Michael Romero says his vision for Terradigm is to “remain a premier provider of project and financial management products and services.”

The company’s goals are to sustain growth, be recognized for integrity and high corporate standards, provide a challenging work environment and career advancement opportunities for employees, and to share success with the community.