Columbus received the Thomas H. May Legacy of Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual High-Tech Small Business Conference on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. The Thomas H. May Legacy of Excellence Award is an annual award presented by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to a small business for excellence in subcontract performance. This is a center level award that is presented to honorees during the annual Small Business Symposium and Awards Ceremony. The award was established in memory of Mr. Thomas H. May in honor of his life-long dedication and efforts to small business utilization.

The Thomas H. May Legacy of Excellence Award celebrates those subcontractors who embody all that Mr. May championed, admired, and embraced in small business: the ability to go above and beyond and exceed expectations.
Reva and Ajay Handa accept award from Karl Bird, JPL Acquisition Division Manager



About Thomas H. May

For more than 30 years, Mr. May served as the Manager of the Business Opportunities Office and Supplier Diversity Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and is a lead research and development center for NASA. The JPL Business Opportunities Office & Supplier Diversity Program assists large, small, minority, women-owned, veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, and nonprofit organizations with working successfully in JPL’s procurement process.

As the lead Small Business Specialist at JPL, Mr. May’s primary goal was to increase dollars awarded to small businesses through highlighting opportunities at NASA/JPL, making opportunities accessible to the small business community, lobbying for higher small business subcontracting goals, and increasing the number of small business set-asides.

Mr. May’s excellent service as a Small Business Liaison Officer garnered recognition and honors from a variety of government and private institutions and organizations including: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Procurement Advocate Award (2003), The U.S. SBA Prime Contract Advocate Award (2003), The U.S. SBA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), and The U.S. SBA Legacy Award (2007); The Minority Business & Professionals Network’s Fifty Influential Minorities in Business Award (2006); and The NASA Exceptional Service Medal Award in 1985 and 2007.

Mr. May’s leadership was also influential in JPL receiving The NASA Group Achievement Award for Small Disadvantaged Business Subcontracting (1996) and The U.S. SBA Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Research & Development (1996, 2003, and 2008). Receiving three Eisenhower Awards is an unprecedented honor as only two percent of Eisenhower Award winners have earned it at least twice.

Mr. May viewed small businesses as key collaborators in NASA’s efforts to fulfill its vision for space exploration. Always poised to help launch a small business into the expanse of success, his mantra and on-going action for the personnel of JPL and the Business Opportunities Office was, “We mean business for small business.”

The Thomas H. May Legacy of Excellence Award celebrates those subcontractors who embody all that Mr. May championed, admired, and embraced in small business: the ability to go above and beyond and exceed expectations. The honorees have proven that small businesses will continue be the modern risk takers who provide inspiring technological innovation, pioneering business solutions, and exemplary customer service.