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Tec-Masters and Paragon in Huntsville Aim to Grow Through New Mentor-Protege Partnership

Tec-Masters of Huntsville held a kickoff ceremony Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to mark the beginning of its new Mentor-Protege relationship with Paragon, a local woman-owned small business. (Courtesy) Lucy Berry |

Dr. Marvin Carroll may be the CEO and president of one of Huntsville’s most diversified government contractors, but he doesn’t flaunt the label eagerly.

Carroll, a personal and corporate mentor to many north Alabama small business owners, prefers the title “servant” instead.

Carroll, who founded Tec-Masters in Huntsville 27 years ago, continued his passion for collaboration Tuesday during a kickoff ceremony for Tec-Master’s three-year Mentor-Protégé agreement with local woman-owned small business Paragon Research Corporation.

“We have a responsibility to grow Paragon, to assist them in their path forward, to allow our past performance to become a part of their past performance, such that they can self-actualize and can be more effective in providing services required by the government,” he said.


Established in the early ’90s, the U.S. Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé program helps small businesses boost their participation in prime and subcontract awards by creating long-term relationships with larger companies. The program allows protégés like Paragon to work with mentors under individual, project-based agreements.

Approved by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the nearly $1 million agreement will allow 5-year-old Paragon, which has 15 employees, to mature under the guidance of the MDA and Tec-Masters, Paragon Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist Kelly Falter said. Oakwood University supports the program.

“We hope to gain contracts, of course grow, gain more employees, more opportunities and just provide more jobs for the community,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Nunn Perry Award

Tec-Masters and Huntsville-based PROJECTXYZ were recently one of four local Mentor-Protégé teams to win the prestigious Nunn Perry Award, named after former Sen. Sam Nunn and Secretary of Defense William Perry. The companies will be honored next week in Alexandria, Va.

PROJECTXYZ and Tec-Masters entered into a Mentor-Protégé partnership in 2012. The program ended in January.

“PROJECTXYZ learned a lot but PROJECTXYZ also brought a lot to the table,” Carroll said. “That’s the thing I find that is quite interesting. If you keep the avenues open, this Mentor-Protégé relationship becomes a win-win.”

CFD Research Corporation and Raytheon Missile Systems signed a $1.7 million, three-year Mentor-Protégé agreement last month. Inclement weather in north Alabama last week forced Cummings Aerospace to postpone its kickoff ceremony for a new Mentor-Protégé program with Raytheon. The company has not announced when the event will be rescheduled.

March 3, 2015

Lucy Berry | By Lucy Berry |

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