M3 Consulting Group Named 2017 USDA-APHIS Small Business Contractor of the Year
On 21 June 2017, M3 Consulting Group was named the 2017 USDA-APHIS Small Business Contractor of the Year. The cermemony, held at the Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington DC, honored other small businesses that work with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Here is an excerpt from the United States Department of Agriculture's nomination letter for M3 Consulting Group:
"During the summer of 2015, USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST S&T Phoenix Lab (USDA), in cooperation with M3 Consulting Group (M3), developed UAS for the release of sterile pink bollworm to combat small-scale outbreaks of pink bollworm, as soon as an incursion was detected. The USDA and M3 successfully deployed UAS in support of the Pink Bollworm Eradication Program. Field operations of the M3 Desert Cardinal UAS consisted of three sites (Maricopa, Coolidge, and Picacho Peak) within the central Arizona eradication zone. The UAS was deployed on more than 100 flights, was deemed as capable of releasing healthy, active, sterile, pink bollworm moths, and was less expensive than conventional aircraft. This was the first flight and application of UAS in PPQ or APHIS.
Following this success, M3 was asked to quickly create a prototype that could remotely survey and detect Asian Long-horned Beetle damage in infested trees in the Midwest. A month later, M3 had developed strong relationships with two primary scientists within the ALB eradication program. M3 traveled to Bethel, OH with their prototype, a UAS with camera attached (later video and data collection equipment). During their field demonstration, working directly with program staff, they accommodated requests in the field and developed a significantly improved detection method (UAS replacing binoculars or tree climbing), thus decreasing the need for slow and hazardous tree climbing.
After this ALB proof of concept study, Nathan Moses-Gonzales presented his work (ALB and PBW) at the 2015 National Entomological Conference. He then traveled to Vienna, Austria for a Mosquito Coordinated Research Project with me. All in all, Nathan and his small business spent two months away from home to support PPQ’s mission.
M3 provides support in coping with the ever changing regulatory environment within the National Airspace System, travels with PPQ scientists to meetings, and participates in conference calls assisting PPQ scientists in their UAS needs.
In October 2015, we featured M3 research on our USDA YouTube page (https://youtu.be/D0tWON1aeKY), received 40,000 views and positive press coverage in NPR, Huffington Post, Popular Science, and the Smithsonian Magazine...
Due to the high profile news coverage and the promise of UAS in successful application of this technology, the Deputy Administrator, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) made implementation of UAS one of his 3 initiatives in 2016."