Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne signed a NASA Mentor-Protege Agreement on July 7 with Avans Machine & Tool, a flight-approved supplier and certified Historically Under-Utilized Business (HUB) Zone small business located in Skyline, Ala. It is the first such agreement between a NASA prime contractor and a certified HUBZone small business. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX – News) company.

“Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is proud to share its business and technical expertise to help a HUBZone small business maximize its capabilities in the marketplace and foster economic growth in the community,” said Paul Fowler, director, Supply Management, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “We are confident our mentor-protege agreement will have far-reaching benefits.”

Joe Sylvestro, vice president, Operations & Supply Management, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, said: “Both companies stand to gain from this partnership, including new approaches to speed, flexibility and cost efficiency, which in turn will help NASA achieve its objectives.”

The NASA Mentor-Protege program encourages prime contractors to help eligible small businesses enhance their technical and business capabilities to better compete for NASA contracts and subcontracts. It also helps the businesses foster long-term business relationships with NASA prime contractors, and increases the number of businesses that receive NASA contract and subcontract awards. HUBZone, a program under the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to promote job growth, capital investment and economic development by providing contracting assistance to small businesses located in economically-distressed communities.

The Mentor-Protege Agreement is administered through the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Ares I J-2X Liquid Engine contract for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. As part of the agreement, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will mentor Avans as it produces parts for the J-2X rocket engine, designed to power the upper stages of NASA’s next generation ARES launch vehicles.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.