ITT Exelis Information Systems is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s pick for best prime contractor.

The company’s main headquarters are in Herndon, Va., and its mission systems division is headquartered in Colorado Springs.

ITT Exelis Information Systems was selected by SBA as the national winner of the 2012 Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence, Research and Development – -an award recognizes large prime contractors who have excelled at working with small businesses as suppliers and subcontractors.

“Over the past 10 years, the Exelis Information Systems team has consistently demonstrated a commitment to support small business subcontracting and mentoring,” said Dan Hannaher, SBA Region VIII Administrator. “Exelis represents how corporate America can effectively partner with small business to match their customer’s demands with quality products and services.”

The company’s Small Business Subcontracting Program includes policies, procedures and incentives that resulted in more than $203.8 million in small business contracts in fiscal year 2011 and has averaged $1.2 billion in the last five years.  Since 2009, the SBA and the Defense Contract Management Agency have given Exelis’s Small Business Subcontracting Program its highest rating of “Outstanding.”

“Our small business partners are fantastic,” said Diana Choffy, Exelis small business liaison officer.  “We work with them to create quality subcontracting plans to satisfy our customers’ needs with the added benefit of supporting the broader growth and prosperity of small businesses.  Teamwork within the firm and partnering with small business is a requirement for all of us.”

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Exelis participates in the federal government’s Mentor- Protégé Program, with several agencies that match small 8(a) firms with technical and financial assistance to enhance their skills and increase contracting opportunities.

So far, Exelis protégés have received $13.2 million in subcontracts.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills will recognize Exelis during National Small Business Week award ceremony May 20-22 in Washington D.C.