KALISPELL, Mont. March 2, 2015– Sonju Industrial (SI) and Raytheon Missile Systems have been selected by the Department of Defense (DoD) to receive the prestigious Nunn-Perry Award. The award will be presented March 12th 2015 in Alexandria, Virginia. The award is named in honor of both Senator Sam Nunn who sponsored legislation to create the Defense Department’s Mentor-Protégé program, and former Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry in recognition of his implementation of the program. The Nunn-Perry award is honored to mentor-protégé teams who have excelled in areas of technical assistance, returns on investment, quality, and protégé’ development. Sonju Industrial is an aerospace and defense company that manufactures components for the DoD and aerospace giants such as Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and United Technologies. Raytheon Missile Systems, located in Tucson Arizona, is a major prime contractor that builds missile technology for the DoD and its allies. Over the last six years, Raytheon Missile Systems and SI have worked together by participating in the Mentor-Protégé program.
The Mentor-Protégé program is designed to build strategic partner relationships, including enhancing technical business capabilities that allow small businesses to compete more effectively for defense-related work. During the mentor-protégé agreement with Raytheon, SI has gathered expertise and capability in manufacturing key components on numerous missile programs that are currently used by the United States and its allies around the globe. Currently, SI manufactures parts and components on numerous missile programs for Raytheon that include the AIM 9X, SM-6, Tomahawk, Griffin, and DSWS. SI’s core capabilities include CNC machining, assembly, and process finishing for major primes. Besides missile work, SI builds components for fighters, torpedoes, commercial aircraft, and multiple military applications. It also manufactures firearm components, particularly for SI Defense, its sister company.
Kenyata Wesley, the Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation for the Department of Defense commented on the selection process as saying, “Competition is extremely keen every year, and this year was no exception…Our team’s selection for this prestigious award recognizes (SI’s) superb performance this year as participants in the Department’s Mentor-Protégé Program”.
“To get the chance to participate in a Mentor-Protégé program with a major prime is extremely rare,” Jason Sonju said. “To win the Nunn-Perry award and be recognized as one of the best is an absolute God giving blessing. This award brings validation in the aerospace community that will only open more opportunities to grow. Personally it means a lot to me. It was something my father and I started years ago and has become a reality when my wife Melinda joined our team.” SI has been building aerospace parts since 2001. In 2014, Jason and Melinda purchased the company from Dick Sonju, Jason’s father, who started the vision of becoming an aerospace supplier. “It was a team effort,” Melinda pointed out, President of SI. “We are fortunate enough to have great employees who share the same vision and same goals. We have a great mentor in (Raytheon) who worked with us thick and thin and helped us get to the next level. We are continuing to build on successes and humbling ourselves in an industry that’s extremely challenging from a manufacturing perspective. As a company we have an obligation to provide the best products possible to our customers…but more importantly, we owe to the war-fighters who protect us.”
As a direct result of the mentor-protégé, SI has seen substantial growth in many areas. A 20,000 square foot addition was added recently to its existing facility to accommodate more manufacturing capability. Additional automated CNC equipment was purchased to offer more capability and extend capacity for current and future growth. The company has plans to continue to expand its growth by becoming a complete vertical integrator that includes front end engineering.