S.M.A.R.T. recognized for sponsoring more than 290 major events and facilitating $625 million in projects for region
Strengthening the Mid-Atlantic Region for Tomorrow (SMART) is a regional tech community partnership that was created by the Congressional Caucus of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania in April 1999 and formalized five years later in March 2004.
SMART Executive Director Bob Carullo, of Shamong, describes the organization’s mission this way. “The whole idea behind our organization is integration of support for tech enterprise among those who govern science and technology (S&T) and those who execute tech enterprise.
“We do this by providing three products that all focus on Mid-Atlantic leadership for national and international technical enterprise.
“First is networking among Congress, Federal Executive and District of Columbia headquartered groups, international allies, state and local government, and the tech community of academia, industry, government labs and field agencies and professional associations, allowing us to address technical issues and enterprise opportunities.
“Second is conducting meetings and major events that relate to issues and opportunities. Finally, we facilitate project execution.”
SMART tackles all this with only one employee (Carullo) and the dedicated work of more than 75 volunteers. Annual revenues hover around the $100,000 mark and, since 1999, SMART has conducted 292 major events and facilitated $625 million in projects, in addition to addressing multiple point papers and issues.
According to Carullo, “The unique aspect of SMART is the range and depth of public and private participation. We execute actions via 15 focus groups; many of our activities involve multiple groups.
“We meet annually in each State to identify next year priorities and then conduct a Capitol Hill Forum to determine our regional priorities based upon the results of the States’ inputs. A major factor in our success is that SMART is always ready to collaborate with other groups or entities; we always seek existing efforts and can support that vice starting are own. We also place great value in participation by students,” he adds.
So, who actually leads SMART?
“Our strategic leadership comes from Congress and the Federal Executive Branch guidance to our Board of Directors, primarily based upon Federal R&D and acquisition requirements. However, we also have a Major Industry Committee that provides inputs based upon market forces. Given this strategic guidance, the Focus Group chairs provide tactical leadership pursuing opportunities and addressing issues,” Carullo says.
Notified of SMART’s selection as the winner of this month’s SNJBP Impact Award, Carullo said, “Given the range and depth and the successes of SJNPB in South Jersey, we’re happy to be recognized and appreciate the opportunity to promote our efforts in support of the South Jersey tech community’s efforts for Mid-Atlantic, National and International collaboration.“
When asked which of the organization’s accomplishments he is most proud of, Carullo responded, “Our Veterans Affairs Group conducted a June 25th SJ Veterans “Thank You” on the Battleship NJ, focusing on Vietnam Veterans. We had 812 total participants and 24 exhibitors.”
“Cooper University Health Care, Lockheed Martin and the Vietnam Veterans of America #1068 were the event co-sponsors and were joined by many Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors from South Jersey.
“Honorary co-hosts were Senators Robert Menendez and Corey Booker; Congressmen Donald Norcross, Frank LoBiondo and Tom MacArthur; State Senator Jim Beach; and Camden County Freeholder Ed McDonnell.