The Department of Defense depends on a wide-ranging and intricate defense industrial base (DIB) for the products, services, and people that empower the DoD’s capabilities in tackling hot national security issues. The entities that work with the DoD should be diverse, and organizations can continue in developing a diversified DIB by partnering with organizations that are a part of the small business 8(a) set-aside program.

ClearanceJobs had a conversation with Jon Love, who has a long history in supporting big tech, and brings a fresh perspective on how one large defense contractor can factor into a diversified DIB successfully.


Working with 8(a) and minority-owned businesses

Working with 8(a) and minority-owned businesses should be an extension of your own company’s core values, and is a part of the “We work better together value” at Maxar Technologies. Maxar builds relationships in the community to attract candidates, and partners with vendors who have diverse backgrounds and experiences because they know it is the right thing to do. And it is the best avenue in solving complex problems.

The company partners with dozens of small, disadvantaged companies to include Service-disabled Veteran-Owned, 8(a) and HUBZone businesses. Their values align with the purpose “The promise of space is to ensure everyone on the planet has access to the technology and information that makes the world a better place. At Maxar, we are committed to creating the connections and intelligence For A Better World.”

The Intelligence and national security alliance 8(a) Showcase

The 8(a) National Security Showcase, is a new program designed to foster business partnerships between IC agencies, their prime contractors, and 8(a) businesses. Companies designated under the 8(a) program are small businesses owned principally by citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

As a defense contractor, there are many opportunities your organization can explore, and this showcase gave participants an opportunity to see what other relevant capabilities out there might align with their own customer’s missions. Love says, “From a macro level, the program shined a light on the incredible innovation happening in small businesses across our community.” Throughout the showcase, you could feel the connections being made between prime contractors, government attendees and the presenting companies. “There was real synergy and that kind of collaboration and hopefully, partnership, will only strengthen our community’s resilience,” Love continues.


There are many business building reasons companies (or the DIB in general) need a diversified supplier pool. Diverse suppliers increase productivity, profitability, and bring new perspectives and life experiences that streamline processes and improve innovation.

For Maxar Technologies, partnerships with companies like Wovenware helped them to improve the processes and workflows. Wovenware, an SBA certified HUBZone company, comes from the commercial sector and has a background in software integration. That brought a new perspective to Maxar’s workflow to improve production cutting timelines in half.

It is these partnerships that lead to a diversified supplier to the federal government, and showcases the importance of diverse partners in developing creative solutions. A lack of diversity, fresh perspectives, or new solutions will always lead to the same negative results within the DoD.


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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸