April 11, 2006

Sandia helps 283 state businesses in 2005 through New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thanks to a tax credit passed by the New Mexico Legislature, Sandia National Laboratories was able to provide technical assistance to 283 New Mexico small businesses in 2005.

This was Sandia’s fifth year of helping small businesses through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program (NMSBA). The program allows Sandia to utilize a portion of its gross receipts taxes paid each year to provide technical advice and assistance to New Mexico small businesses. During 2005, Sandia received $1.8 million in tax credits.

There are few requirements for small-business participation — mainly that assisted companies must be for-profit New Mexico small businesses, and that the help is otherwise not available for a reasonable cost through private sources.

Eight success stories from the 2005 NMSBA program year were highlighted at a recent event at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. Detailed summaries are available on request.

The Arquin Corporation in Alamogordo, N.M., manufactures a product line called Continuous Filament Masonry Ties. The products are used as horizontal reinforcement in shear wall construction. Sandia principal investigator Cliff Ho’s study “Finite Element Stress Analysis of Ties for Masonry Applications” included two engineering metrics that analyzed resistance to explosive blasts and hurricane force winds with and without the use of Arquin’s products.  

Diana’s Homegrown in Lemitar, N.M., has patented a pull-out pouch system that is designed to transform the tuna-salad sandwich from an easily spoiled, soggy mess into a fresh and long-lasting meal. The technology extends the lifespan of an un-refrigerated sandwich by as much as a month, even longer if it is stored in a refrigerator. Principal investigators were students John Oberg, Ahene Kwaku Sraha, Jude Jonas, and Donald Brian from the Anderson Schools of Management — Management of Technology Department at UNM.

E M Optomechanical, Inc. in Albuquerque provides the nanotechnology/microsystems market with metrology instrumentation. The company’s OPTOPro product line of long-working-distance Optical Profilers provides a long working space, essential for microsystems metrology. Based on patented long-working-distance interference microscope technology, developed by Sandia and licensed to EMOM, the OPTOPro products are designed to solve this problem. Sandia principal investigators Maarten De Boer, Michael Sinclair, and Alex Corwin focused on different areas of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) science and technology.

Healthy Buildings in Santa Fe focuses on building blocks made of ground wood and cement in Las Vegas, N.M. Through Sandia, graduate students from the Anderson Schools’ Management of Technology Center helped assess Healthy Buildings’ business and marketing plans.

The North Eastern New Mexico Educational Foundation/The Learning Center in Raton, N.M., works to enhance educational opportunities for the residents of Colfax, Harding, and Union counties by partnering with local and nationally accredited institutions of higher learning, thereby providing access to a college education for students close to where they live and work. Sandia principal investigator Jerome Wright performed an analysis of current design with local businesses’ training needs.

Queston Construction, Inc. in Albuquerque is a commercial construction company with a division devoted to roofing. As a result of the roofing work and a focus on safety, the company has developed a device for fall protection. The device is called a TOD (Tie Off Device), which is anchored to the roof. It provides a standardized attachment point for a safety harness, preventing anyone working on a roof from falling. Sandia principal investigator Herman Molina provided the company with design consultation and review of the TOD.

Southeast New Mexico Farmers’ Irrigation Research Assoc., serving the residents of Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties, is a consortium of growers and producers of agricultural products focused on improving crop production practices in a desert growing environment. New Mexico State University manages the projects and contributed the crops and equipment to collaborate with Sandia on soil moisture studies utilizing sensors and systems strategy. Sandia principal investigator D. Michael Chapin assisted with a systematic approach to monitor and test soil parameters and other necessary data points that were collected and communicated to the farmers on soil moisture status in relation to plant need. 

Vivendas! in Taos manufactures and assembles a series of individual building panels that are transported to the home site for assembly. Sandia and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership helped standardize the process and improve supply chains to help lower labor costs and help increase the number of houses produced per year.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Michael Padilla,, (505) 284-532

NMSBA contact: Mariann R. Johnston,, (505) 284-9548