Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1761) RELEASE: 99-53

April 22, 1999

FOUR AEROSPACE FIRMS WIN NASA'S HIGHEST HONOR FOR QUALITY Four U.S. companies committed to innovative management, quality and customer service have received NASA's George M. Low Award, the Agency's highest honor for quality and technical performance and the nation's oldest award for organizational quality. NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin presented the 1999 Low Award today at the 14th Annual NASA Continual Improvement and Reinvention Conference on Quality Management in Alexandria, VA. "These companies demonstrate outstanding management and customer service that have proven profitable to NASA and the nation's industries, " said Goldin. Barrios Technology, Inc., Houston, TX, received the award for small-business product, and Kay and Associates, Edwards, CA, picked up the award for small-business service. Raytheon Support Services Company, Annapolis Junction, MD, was this year's winner in the large-business service category, and Thiokol Space Operations, Brigham City, UT, took the award for large-business product. Each recipient was evaluated according to seven criteria. These criteria included not only performance, cost and schedule, but also innovation, management leadership, alignment of organizational goals with NASA's strategic plans, customer orientation and adherence to the Total Quality Management philosophy. "The purpose of the George M. Low Award Program is not simply to give an award," said Fred Gregory, Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance, "but to encourage our contractors to implement quality principles. When quality principles are seriously implemented, it not only helps NASA, but also substantially improves the company's bottom line.

Barrios Technology is a small female-owned business providing information technology, space operations, expertise, and training to the aerospace industry. Thecompany has averaged 96 percent award fees on all its prime contracts, demonstrated outstanding schedule performance at a cost less than the maximum allowable under the contract. Kay and Associates is a family-owned contract engineering firm that provides specialized engineering, logistical and technical services at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA. By purchasing and modifying used equipment and refurbishing on-site equipment, Kay and Associates provided about $800,000 savings to NASA. Raytheon Support Services Company provides logistics support, warehousing, and distribution of equipment and material at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. Raytheon has achieved a 2 percent cost savings in the contract over the past three years. The company has achieved an 87.5 percent inventory reduction while maintaining a near 100 percent inventory accuracy. Thiokol Corporation is the NASA contractor responsible for the manufacture, launch support, and refurbishment of the reusable solid rocket motor for the Space Shuttle. For seven years, Thiokol Corporation has maintained 100 percent on-time delivery of hardware. Thiokol's cost reduction efforts have resulted in $152 million in savings for the Agency. In addition to highlighting Low award recipients, the Continual Improvement and Reinvention Conference is a forum to share best practices and lessons learned from quality management initiatives. -end-