What is a HUBZone Certified Company?

“GSE is an SBA HUBZone certified small business” are the first few words typically used to describe Global Systems Engineering (GSE). But, what does that mean? 

In 1997, the Small Business Reauthorization Act ratified the HUBZone program into law which was then implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA continues to regulate many contracting assistance programs to help small businesses win federal contracts, including the HUBZone program. A Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) is a distressed community that typically has a low median household income and/or a high unemployment rate.  

As of right now, HUBZone small businesses are required to locate their principle office in a HUBZone, be a small business, and be at least 51% owned by U.S. citizens.  

By locating their headquarters in a HUBZone, businesses are creating a more sustainable community by reinvesting in their neighborhoods, in turn, spurring economic growth. Syntelligent Analytic Solutions is a HUBZone company from Page County, Virginia that was certified in 2012 with 13 employees. As of 2017, the company had employed 70 individuals, created 27 new jobs in the HUBZone, and spent close to $500,000 in their community annually. That’s just one example of a successful HUBZone company and the positive impact that it has on the local community. Although change doesn’t happen overnight, HUBZone companies are contributing to improving their neighborhood’s economy in the long run.  

Another requirement for the HUBZone program is to have at least 35% of employees live in a HUBZone. This creates jobs and increases employment in areas that may have a high unemployment rate. GSE has optimized this opportunity by reaching out to college students that live in HUBZones and offering them paid internships that can be worked remotely. This provides jobs for college students in need of employment as well as exposure to a positive work environment, which opens many doors post-graduation. By participating in this program, GSE is not only supporting the Alexandria area that is local to headquarters but is also supporting various HUBZones in numerous states. 

GSE values giving back to your community. Our status as a HUBZone company is just one way that GSE showcases our dedication to bettering the areas we live in. We are currently exploring different ways we can further our efforts to include implementing a corporate social responsibility program. 

Our status also provides us with unique access to federal contracting mechanisms and preferential treatment allotted specifically for our socio-economic class.  

The federal government provides preferential treatment to small businesses to help level the playing field between small and large businesses. One way they achieve this is by awarding various percentages of prime contracting dollars to different categories of small businesses. The government set a goal to award 3% of all federal prime contracting dollars to HUBZone certified small businesses. Another way the government provides assistance is by limiting competition using set-aside contracts that are specifically for small businesses. In contract competitions that are full and open, HUBZone businesses are given a 10% price evaluation preference. 

In order to maintain HUBZone status, businesses are required to re-certify for the program (currently every 3 years). A business could re-certify for 100+ years and still maintain status because there is no limit as long as the business continues to qualify. However, the SBA must be notified if there is a change in ownership, business structure, principal office, or if the 35% employee residency requirement is not met.  

Global Systems Engineering is proud to be an SBA certified HUBZone small business. Hopefully, with this article clarifying what that means, the words that are used to describe GSE hold significant meaning and provide some incite as to what the company culture of GSE is like. 

Sean Nolan

Director, On-Site Integration

Sean has over 20 years of experience supporting the US Government at the Federal and Local levels in research and development and transitioning research to operations.  Through his 15+ years supporting the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department, he has worked on various Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATD) such as the Interagency Biological Restoration Demonstration (IBRD), Trans-Atlantic Biological Resiliency Demonstration (TACBRD), and Integrated Early Warning program.  He has extensive experience in DoD business and acquisition practices.  Sean also served as program lead for the Biowatch Exercise and Evaluation Program in support of the Department of Homeland Security and as logistics coordinator for the 9/11 Rescue and Recovery efforts at the World Trade Center for the New York City Office of Emergency Management.  Sean holds a Master of Science from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy. He is a retired Air Force Weather officer who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded 2004 Air Force Reserve Weather Officer of the Year.  Lastly, Sean served as on-air meteorologist for KMIZ-TV (Columbia, MO) and KDNL-TV (St. Louis, MO).

Randy Thur

Director of Cooperative Engagement

Randy has been supporting and facilitating federal government science integration efforts since 2004.  He has had the pleasure of working throughout the U.S. government where he spent years gaining experience in domestic and international CBRN threat reduction, foreign partner capacity building, test and evaluation, and interagency coordination at organizations such as DOS, HHS, DTRA, DIA, and DHS. Here he has gained extensive experience being the technical lead and program manager of multiple civilian and military interagency efforts focused on facilitating CBRN preparedness and response through large-scale system studies, operational exercises, targeted research and development projects, and advanced technology demonstrations. Internationally, he has led overseas operational efforts in CBRN foreign consequence management in addition to leading CBRN threat reduction efforts focused on building cooperative CBRN surveillance systems, biosafety and biosecurity standards, and global health security capacities and capabilities for U.S. foreign partners.  Randy holds an engineering degree from North Carolina State University, a graduate certificate from Geroge Mason, and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Stephen “Gibs” Gaboriault-Whitcomb

Director, Warfighter and Homeland Integration

Gibs has over 25 years of experience in the CBRN Defense arena including operations, plans, assessment, exercise planning/execution, demonstration event planning/execution, training, and advising DoD, DHS, and other government agencies. His 20 years in the US Air Force as a Bioenvironmental Engineer included assignments with a Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team, USSTRATCOM Center for Combating WMD, and several base-level tours where he led his teams on multiple real-world emergency responses. He has been a key player in Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) such as the Transatlantic Collaborative Biological Resiliency Demonstration (TaCBRD) as a Warfighter and in the Perceptive Dragon and Resolute Dragon series of ATDs as a lead planner/executor. He has also directly supported the BioDetection for the 21st Century (BD21), BioWatch, and Non-Traditional Sensor Technology Assessment (NSTA) programs as well as Chemical Biological Operational Analysis (CBOA) events. Gibs holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.

Mike Midgley

Chief Operating Officer / Chief Financial Officer

Mike has over 20 years of experience in program management and technical support primarily in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense. He has led science and technology master integration efforts for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and other organizations to develop or enhance warfighter and first responder capabilities. Some of the programs he has managed include: BioNet, Interagency Biological Restoration Demonstration (IBRD), Wide Area Recovery and Resiliency Program (WARRP), Transatlantic Collaborative Biological Resiliency Demonstration (TaCBRD), Integrated Early Warning (IEW), Texas Panhandle Regional Planning Commission Regional Resiliency Assessment Program, and the Organization of American States biological incident response workshop and exercise program.  He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Naval Academy. He is a retired Navy Captain who served as a Surface Warfare Officer in several operational and shore commands.

Steve Jennings

President and Co-Founder

Steve has over 30 years of experience supporting government and industry in the areas of engineering/science, design, operations, program management, strategic communication, planning, and outreach. He has been a Project and Task manager for numerous programs conducted within DTRA Chemical Biological (CB) including Contamination avoidance for military mail (CAFMM), Biological Defense Initiative (BDI), BioNet, WMD-CST, Interagency Biological Restoration Demonstration (IBRD), and the Joint Service Installation Pilot Project (JSIPP). He was also the technical manager for over eight major chemical demilitarization projects/programs conducted throughout the United States. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.