AFRL’s award-winning alliance with New Mexico Tech

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force Research Laboratory and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology received the 2019 Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Notable State & Local Government Collaboration.

The New Mexico Tech Partnership Intermediary Agreement staff were presented with the Federal Laboratory Consortium Award on Nov. 7 at the 2019 FLC Far-West/Mid-Continent Meeting in Livermore, California.

The partnership has wrought numerous successes over their 25-year relationship, as they work to share Air Force research technology with industry partners, and to cultivate innovation and revolutionary ideas. This kind of collaboration is known as technology transfer.

“I think the biggest thing to know is that New Mexico Tech has been leading this effort for over two decades,” said Executive Director of the New Mexico Tech – Tech Transfer Collaborative Office, Matthew Gallegos. “This isn’t a new thing, but over the last two years we’ve expanded and re-envisioned how things are done. We want to be more agile and bring new ideas to our Air Force partner. We want to help them break down walls and help them build new relationships.”

The award considers numerous prestigious organizations from across the region, which includes 14 states and over 100 federal laboratories. Participant agencies include the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture and others.

“The award is focused on universities, industry, or nonprofits that partner with federal laboratories to develop new or build upon existing technologies for the sake of innovation,” said Tech Transfer Agreements Specialist, Melissa Ortiz.

Over the years, New Mexico Tech has assisted in arranging hundreds of lucrative collaborations to the tune of more than $220 million in research agreements, patent licenses, educational partnerships, and test agreements.

The partnership between AFRL and New Mexico Tech has spurred the efforts of academic institutions from across New Mexico to aid in the success of Air Force and industry missions. Partners within the collaboration include the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, Northern New Mexico College, and Central New Mexico Community College.

“The collaboration has been transformative,” said AFRL New Mexico Technology Outreach Director, Matthew Fetrow. “We couldn’t have imagined how useful it would be to have so many organizations working together. Initially, we worried that having so many perspectives and opinions might be turbulent but things always seem to come together.”

The team looks forward to a collaborative future that furthers the efforts of the Air Force Research Laboratory in discovering new and innovative technology.

image of people receiving award

From left to right: David Kistin, Mid-Continent Deputy Regional Coordinator; Carlos Romero, New Mexico Tech Vice President of the Office of Research; Matthew Fetrow, AFRL NM Tech Outreach Director; Melissa Ortiz, Tech Transfer Agreements Specialist; Matthew Gallegos, Executive Director of the Tech Transfer Collaborative Office; and John Eisemann, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinator, at the 2019 FLC Far West/Mid-Continent Meeting on Nov. 6-7 in Livermore, Calif. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)