Los Alamos National Laboratory reported this week it spent a record $413 million in procurement contracts with small businesses across New Mexico in the 2020 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.
This was a 43 percent increase from the $289 million spent at New Mexico small businesses in 2019 and more spending is expected this year, lab Director Thom Mason said.
Santa Fe County accounted for about $41.5 million spent at about 125 small businesses, according to a news release from the lab.
“Last year’s increase in small business subcontracting was largely the result of our increased efforts to collaborate with small business partners and to bring in new business partnerships,” Mason wrote in an email. “We hit the ground running on that goal in FY19 and really saw the pace ramp up in FY20.”
When Triad National Security — a consortium composed of Battelle Memorial Institute, the Texas A&M University System and the University of California — took over management of the lab in 2019, it set clear priorities to strengthen the lab’s effect on economic growth in the region, Mason said.
The lab reported 84 percent of its small business spending in New Mexico went to companies with owners who are socially and economically disadvantaged ($144 million); women-owned firms ($140 million); so-called HUBZone businesses ($50 million), which are identified by the Small Business Administration as located in “historically underutilized business zones”; and veteran-owned businesses ($17 million.)
In addition to direct lab spending at small-businesses, some 57 percent of lab employees live outside Los Alamos County and contribute to the economies of their home communities. The lab estimated the collective salaries of its 2,900 employees who live in Santa Fe County at $301 million.
Earlier this week, the lab announced it will be leasing office space in downtown Santa Fe for the first time in 58 years, a move that could increase its economic impact in the city. The lab has signed a 10-year lease for 28,000 square feet in the Firestone Building at North Guadalupe and West Alameda streets for 75 employees.