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U.S. Air Force selects Veteran and Native American Led Central NY Startup for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct to Phase II Contract

Instant Equipment Insights contracted to play a role in U.S. Department of Defense Hardware Supply Chain

Ithaca, NY – EMPEQ (Empower Equity, Inc.) announces it has been selected by AFWERX for a Direct-to-Phase II contract in the amount of $1.2 million focused on its proprietary Instant Equipment Insights computer vision technology to address the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF). The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small business experience through faster proposal to award timelines, changing the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and eliminating bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process improvement changes in contract execution. The DAF began offering the Open Topic SBIR/STTR program in 2018 which expanded the range of innovations the DAF funded and now on August 17, 2023, EMPEQ will start its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States of America.

Having begun his career in the United States Marine Corps as a National Security Agency (NSA) tasked cryptanalyst, the contract has special meaning for EMPEQ CEO Herbert Dwyer. “Many of the most important years of my career have been spent protecting America’s national security and I’m humbled that EMPEQ has been chosen to play such a crucial role in increasing efficiency and safety within our military’s supply chain.”

EMPEQ co-founder / COO and Kanienʼkehá꞉ka Nation member Derek LaClair was gratified by the timing of EMPEQ’s contract. “We are living in an era in which the United States military is facing major challenges both at home and abroad. With the global nature of the Department of Defense’s hardware supply chain, we look forward to playing an important part in supporting our Nation’s military’s supply chain for decades to come.”

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.



EMPEQ’s revolutionary Fast Site SurveyTM SaaS product uses Instant Equipment Insights to reduce the time spent on the facility and equipment assessment process by up to 80% - bringing critical additional bandwidth to the field engineering and equipment / parts servicing industries while both suffer through severe labor shortages. Learn more about EMPEQ at and Fast Site Survey at

About Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit


The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within AFRL. Brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at five hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit:

Company Press Contact:

Derek LaClair