BANGOR, Maine — Orono Spectral Solutions Inc. of Bangor received the prestigious Small Business Innovation Business Research Tibbetts Award on May 16 at the White House, South Court Auditorium. Present to receive the award at the ceremony were Dr. Carl Tripp of Orono, OSS president; Luke Doucette of Hampden, OSS vice president: and Dean Smith of Dover-Foxcroft, OSS vice president for engineering.

The award, named after Roland Tibbetts, who was instrumental in developing the SBIR program, is presented annually to those who are considered “beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology.” Winners are selected based on the economic impact  of their technological innovation, and the extent to which that innovation served federal research and development needs, encouraged diverse participation and increased the practical commercial use of federal research.

There are two types of Tibbetts Awards: awards for businesses that have  participated in the SBIR Phase I and II award programs, and awards for individuals who have supported the SBIR program.

Orono Spectral Solutions Inc. specializes in developing sampling materials, systems and methods for collection of trace to bulk quantities of chemical and biological species such as

warfare agents and toxic industrial materials for detection and identification with commercially available optical instrumentation. In essence “We don’t make the detectors, we make them work better,” according to the OSS Mission Statement, which also states that its goal is to be the worldwide leader in sampling and analysis solutions for optical detection systems.

The company was founded in 2004 and spun out of research conducted in Dr. Carl Tripp’s laboratory at the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology at the University of Maine.

In 2003, Dr. Tripp was awarded a U.S. Department of Defense contract to develop infrared based sensors for the detection of chemical and biological warfare agents in water. It was quickly realized that the research had the potential for the development of both military and commercial products.

OSS is co-owned by Dr. Tripp and University of Maine alumni Luke Doucette and Dean Smith. It was was established to provide an avenue for transitioning university research into commercial products.

The company received its first SBIR Phase I award in 2006 and success with that grant led to a Phase II and to a larger Broad Agency Announcement contract, both funded in 2007. This allowed OSS to invest in infrastructure and personnel to support DoD research and development projects. By March 2008, OSS had increased in size to six employees and to accommodate the expansion, opened its first research facility in Old Town. Continued programmatic success increased the number of employees to 11 and this required that OSS expand its laboratory space once again. In November 2011, OSS moved its business  to its present location at 689 Odlin Road in Bangor. The current facility has more than double the space and was designed for research, development and prototyping, and has provided the necessary space for current

operations while also providing space for future research and-or light manufacturing growth.