Washington River Protection Solutions at Hanford has won a Department of Energy award for the company's leadership in mentoring Hanford area small businesses.
The DOE Mentor of the Year is given to the federal contractor that demonstrates excellence in DOE's mentor-protege program.
WRPS has provided oversight and coaching to Columbia Energy and Environmental Services, a Richland engineering firm, and Total Site Services, a Richland construction firm, through the program.
"WRPS' goal is to prepare and strengthen each protege company in order to allow them to compete successfully in the federal marketplace," John Robinson, WRPS procurement services manager, said in a statement.
Through the mentorship program, it creates long-lasting relationships, shares best practices and lessons learned and enhances its proteges' ability to win federal contracts, according to DOE.
As a protege, Total Site Services has grown to employ 21 people and "to compete on a whole other level," said president Lisa Chapman-Rosa in a statement.
Last year, it used Recovery Act money to improve tank farm infrastructure, such as decontamination trailers and safety showers, and office facilities, including renovation of an office trailer complex. WRPS operates the Hanford tank farms, where 56 million gallons of radioactive waste from the production of weapons plutonium are stored in underground tanks.
Among Total Site Services projects for other DOE contractors has been renovation of the 331 Laboratory, design and construction of Hanford's new record storage facility and installation of the Pretreatment Engineering Platform for testing of vitrification plant processes.
Being a protege has helped Columbia Energy and Environmental Services gain new skills, said Brian Brendel, president, in a statement.
With Recovery Act money, it helped develop the Mobile Arm Retrieval System, or MARS, equipped with a vacuum tool for removing radioactive waste from underground tanks.
WRPS provides the two small businesses opportunities to grow by leveraging new work opportunities, improving professional and technical capabilities, and strengthening relationships with WRPS' parent companies and with other DOE contractors, said Marc McCusker, contracts and property management director for the Hanford DOE Office of River Protection, in a statement.
"In addition, WRPS has provided guidance with respect to safety training, technology development and business procedures," he said.