RNB Technologies, Inc., an engineering services company based in Stafford, works to improve the accuracy of missile defense systems, such as the trajectory problems encountered with the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War/Desert Storm Conflict of 1991.
“Benefiting from the past enables our current military leaders to address current conflicts with more effectiveness and efficiency,” states Ron Oxendine Founder, RNB Technologies, Inc., a Native American, Veteran-owned, small disadvantaged business located in Stafford, Va.
RNB’s experienced and knowledgeable professionals evaluate and improve missile defense systems to support Joint Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Commands. Much of RNB’s work relates to integrating divergent software packages, which in simple terms, allows different programming languages to communicate.
“This work is of strategic importance to the defense of the nation,” Oxendine said. The military uses RNB’s staff of 88 highly-specialized employees to evaluate, test and improve areas such as mission event planning and analysis of missile defense performance. In fact, RNB Technologies, Inc. was recently honored as one of the Top 100 Diversity Business for 2006 at the National Diversity Business Conference 29-31 Mar 06 in Las Vegas, NV.
Oxendine, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, began a career as a defense contractor with Techmatics, Inc., holding the title of Senior Program Manager for the Battle Management Command Control Communications/Systems Engineering and Integration (BMC3/SEI) contract supporting the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in the Pentagon. An expert in theater air and missile defense, he started RNB Technologies, Inc. with his wife and co-founder, Nell Oxendine, the executive vice president, in July 2000.
RNB Technologies, Inc. has experienced many of the obstacles typical of a growing company including with the availability of funds to market RNB’s capability. The firm sought the assistance of a $75,000 loan backed by U.S. Small Business Administration under the 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program. Oxendine states, “The loan has been repaid in full. However, it was important to our effort to achieve controlled company growth and to ensure payroll and other expenses could be met.”
The 7(a) Program is the SBA's primary lending program provides loan guaranties for small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. The program operates through private-sector lenders who provide loans guaranteed by the SBA. A maximum loan amount of $2 million is established. However, the maximum dollar amount of the SBA guaranty is generally $1.5 million. The eligibility requirements are as broad as possible in order that this lending program can accommodate most small business financing needs.
The biggest obstacle faced by RNB was educating the Department of Defense about the advantages of contracting with the company. As a certified U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program participant firm, certified in 2001, they overcame many of these difficulties. RNB credits much of their success in the 8(a) arena to the SBA Business Development Specialist Mike O’Neill, Richmond District Office who provided training and support to the firm’s employees. RNB received nine different $3 million sole-source contracts during its first 5 years in the 8(a) program. This led to RNB’s growth of 118 percent for personnel and 76 percent for revenue in 2005. The SBA’s 8(a) certification was instrumental in the company’s increase in sales from $965,000 in 2001 to $7.6 million in 2005.
The 8(a) Business Development Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. The SBA has helped thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs over the years to gain a foothold in government contracting. Participation is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage. Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing. While the SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
To qualify for program certification, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged person. Under the Small Business Act, certain presumed groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. New rules make it easier for non-minority firms to participate by proving their social disadvantage.