SBA Recognizes 2024 Government Contractors and 8(a) Graduate of the Year

WASHINGTON, April 05, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), issued a statement recognizing the winners of the 2024 National Small Business Week (NSBW)’s government contracting awards: Pennsylvania defense ordnance products manufacturing firm Action Manufacturing Company as National Prime Contractor of the Year; Texas research, engineering, consulting, and software development firm Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. as National Subcontractor of the Year; and Arizona healthcare, program management, and engineering firm Cetechs as 8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year.


The three firms will receive awards honoring their work in federal contracting alongside our two honorees for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award as part of National Small Business Week.  April 28 to May 4.


“The federal government relies on small businesses to deliver innovative and competitive products and services to support critical agency functions such as national defense and disaster recovery and to implement the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and more,” said Administrator Guzman. “The Biden-Harris Administration has worked hard to ensure small businesses can compete on a level playing field for the more than $600 billion in eligible federal contracts. Federal contracting leads to strong small business growth and job creation, and these awardees represent the outsized economic impact this important work is having on local communities across the nation.”


Here is a full list of this year’s top federal contractors:


Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year: 


Mr. Sean Gibbs, President/CEO

Action Manufacturing Company – Bristol, Pa.


Sean Gibbs assumed the role as President of Action Manufacturing Company in 2014 after serving as the Vice President of Business Development for seven years. The firm, established in 1946, now has over 300 employees. Action manufactures precision ordnance products including fuzes, explosives, electronics, and a variety of defense items for the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Action produced over four million M739A1 fuzes over the last 10 years, with delivery remaining early or on time on every military order. These fuzes are used in electro-mechanical rocket, missile, artillery, mortar, and tank devices for the Department of Defense and domestic prime contractors.


Small Business Subcontractor of the Year:


Dr. Richard John Mayer, President

Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. College Station, Texas


 Dr. John Mayer founded Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. (KBSI) in 1988 after earning his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. KBSI is a research, engineering and systems analysis, consulting, and systems/software development company that has been awarded numerous research and development contracts. Over the past 35 years, the company developed technologies in engineering design, simulation modeling, forecasting, and cybersecurity, which have been used by the Air Force, Navy, Army, NASA, and Homeland Security. The company’s ASSURANT technology helps fulfill a national defense need to bolster cyber resiliency and survivability across all weapons systems, particularly with the Department of Defense.


8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year:


Wilbert G. Johnson, CEO/President

Johnson's Consulting dba Cetechs – Mesa, Ariz.


Wilbert Johnson started Cetechs – a health care, program management, administration, and engineering service firm, in 2009. Months later, Cetechs won several contracts which served as the company’s starting point. By using lessons learned, Cetechs secured more contracts and diversified the company’s core services and is now an 8(a) Program graduate with more than 42 employees. Cetechs won the 2018 SBA Emerging Leaders Program Graduate Award, the 2019 Arizona Small Business Development Center Success Award, and the 2020 Goldman Sachs Award. SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is a nine-year program that provides socially and economically disadvantaged firms access to government contracting opportunities and specialized business training and counseling to help them become viable competitors in the federal marketplace.   


Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence:


The Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence recognizes other small business prime contractors that have excelled in utilizing small businesses as suppliers and subcontractors within various industries. This year, winners were selected for the construction and services categories.




Ms. Felicia A. Bell, Business Diversity Manager

Bechtel Corporation – New York, NY


Established in 1898, Bechtel is an engineering, construction, and project management company with approximately 38,000 employees. In the past year, Bechtel contracted with a small minority-owned business to create a dedicated portal and website for the small and diverse business community. This portal allows small businesses to register their company with them, upload certifications and capability statements, and provide a narrative on previous work history. Bechtel mentored five small businesses over the past two years.  Additionally, it collaborated with various SBA District Offices, Small Business Development Centers, and APEX Accelerators to educate and network with small businesses.




Ms. Lauren Terry, Federal Small Business Liaison Officer & Program Manager

JACOBS – Greenwood Village, Colo.


With $15 billion in revenue and a global workforce of approximately 60,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific, and project development for the federal government and private sector. Jacobs mentored more than 100 small businesses to enhance their skill levels to compete for larger volume work and increase their participation in future projects since 1993. One of its more successful relationships is with an 8(a)-certified contractor that has been ongoing since 2016. Jacobs also routinely uses SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database as a market research tool to find new potential small businesses. Use of DSBS has allowed it to provide its project teams with small businesses to include on bid lists when previously only “other than small business” firms had been identified.


Co-sponsorship Authorization # 24-1-C. SBA’s participation in this Cosponsored Activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products, or services of any Cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.




About Federal Government Contracting Goals

The federal government awarded over $162.9 billion in federal contract dollars to small businesses in FY22. The $162.9 billion in prime contracts and the $79.1 billion in subcontracts awarded to small businesses translate to the creation of more than one million jobs.  This represents an incredible impact on the American economy that supports job creation, innovation, and growth.   


About National Small Business Week

In the spirit of National Small Business Week, we celebrate the unprecedented growth of entrepreneurship in the United States, marked by 16 million new business applications since the Biden-Harris Administration took office. This surge highlights the dynamism and innovation that America’s entrepreneurs bring to our local communities. The SBA will continue to champion the endeavors of small businesses and the vital role they play in driving economic prosperity across the nation. 



About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit



Christine Saah-Nazer
U.S. Small Business Administration
[email protected]

Tiffani Clements
U.S. Small Business Administration
[email protected]

Rebecca Galanti
U.S. Small Business Administration
[email protected]
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