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Small Business from Fairmont wins top federal contracting award

Government contracting industry leaders to be honored during National Small Business Week


WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2017 National 8(a) Graduate of the Year award goes to Leah Heimbach, a former paramedic, critical care nurse, and healthcare attorney, who co-founded Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC (HMS) in 2002 to provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.

HMS specializes in ensuring healthcare facilities are in compliance with federal regulations.  HMS is headquartered in Fairmont, West Virginia and has an office in Columbia, Maryland.  It has 220 employees, many of whom work remotely in 23 states.


SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a nine-year program which provides socially and economically disadvantaged firms access to government contracting opportunities and specialized business training and counseling to help them become viable competitors in the federal marketplace.


Leah credits the 8(a) Business Development program for much of the company’s success in developing and expanding its federal footprint.  Her clients include: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration, and the Federal Acquisition Service.


“I am honored that another West Virginia Small Business received the National 8(a) Graduate of the Year award,” stated SBA District Director Karen Friel. “This is our second year in a row winning this national award and I think it is testament to the amazing businesses West Virginia has and the dedication the business owners like Leah Heimbach put into their business.”


This business, along with other national winners and finalists for the National Small Business Person of the Year, will participate in a recognition ceremony at the U.S. Institute of Peace on May 1, during National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C.  SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will be presenting the awards.


The federal government awarded over $99 billion of all federal contracts to small businesses, which translates to more than 537,000 jobs supporting revenue in the U.S. economy.


The two small businesses were selected from among a strong field of candidates submitted by SBA’s ten regional offices.  The awards honor small businesses that provide outstanding goods or services to the federal government as prime contractors or as subcontractors.


This year’s winners are:


  • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year:  Founded in 1989, QMF Steel, Inc.,opened with two owners, a part-time driver and sold steel to local companies.  In 1994, Sherrill and Steve Lester purchased the company and added aluminum and stainless to its product line, a full-time driver and a sales person.   QMF’s first year sales reached $1 million, and products were delivered across Texas.  It now sells an average of $6.5 million in materials, manufactured goods and fabricated structures, has 28 employees, and products are delivered nationwide.  Its capabilities include engineering, certified welding, project management, installation and delivery.


  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year:  IO Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., (IOEI) is a service-disabled veteran-owned environmental remediation and construction firm specializing in high hazard services including: investigation, remediation, removal, earthwork, habitat restoration, and landfill construction.  Its expertise includes air, soil, groundwater, soil gas, treatment system effluent and sediment sampling and waste stream characterization.  Michael Bilodeau, CEO of IOEI and graduate of Goldman Sachs’ 10k Small Business program, used his leadership skills to double IOEI’s revenue to $15 million, increase staff to 45 employees, with a 40 percent veteran workforce.  The company has offices in San Diego and Long Beach, California, Redmond, Washington and Nicholasville, Kentucky.


Other procurement awards include:


The Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence, recognizing large prime contractors that have excelled in utilization of small businesses as suppliers and subcontractors.  The recipients are:


Research and Development:


  • Wyle Laboratories, Inc.

Helen Lawley, Small Business Liaison Officer

Houston, Texas


Service Category:


  • Jacobs Engineering, Inc.

Randy Lycans, Vice President & ESSA Group General Manager

Huntsville, Ala.




  • Lockheed Martin Corporation

Susannah Raheb, Corporate Supplier Diversity Leader

Bethesda, Md.


For additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit


About the Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and


Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2017 SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any Cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA/SCORE programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

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