DARPA 101: Workshop with Texas Innovation Center

Tuesday, June 13, 2023
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT on Zoom

Join Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) leaders for an overview of the agency’s Small Business Programs, including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Learn what makes DARPA unique and how to get started with their office.

The Small Business Programs Office (SBPO) serves the small business community by creating an environment within DARPA that recognizes and utilizes small business as a primary source of innovative solutions. SBPO stimulates an ecosystem of small businesses to create and transition radical, game-changing technologies that benefit national security, the federal government and the commercial marketplace.

Dr. Blake Bextine
Senior Advisor, Commercial Strategy at DARPA

Dr. Blake Bextine currently serves as the Senior Adviser for Department of Defense (DoD) and Commercial Transitions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He joined DARPA as a program manager in March 2016, and has served twice as acting deputy director of the Biological Technologies office.

He is interested in novel approaches to addressing issues facing agricultural biotechnology and food security, including nucleic acid-based anti-pathogen/anti-pest strategies and insect and plant transformation strategies for rapid trait selection. Additionally, Bextine has focused on the climate conscious approaches to infrastructure development and waste elimination
utilizing cutting-edge synthetic biology platforms.

Bextine came to DARPA from the University of Texas at Tyler where he was a Professor of Biology and Assistant Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer. Prior to his arrival at UT Tyler, Bextine was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Entomology at the University of California.

Ms. Jennifer Thabet
Program Director, Small Business Programs Office (SBPO)

Ms. Jennifer Thabet is an experienced program manager with an extensive background supporting DARPA and the DoD. Enhancing the ability of the small business community to create and transition revolutionary technologies that benefit the warfighter, federal government, and commercial marketplace is of paramount importance in Ms. Thabet’s role of Program Director, DARPA Small Business Programs Office (SBPO). She is focused on creating an environment that considers small business concerns a primary source of innovative solutions and advancing small business relationships and training opportunities within the DoD and other federal agencies.

Prior to joining SBPO, Ms. Thabet spent more than 13 years with Booz Allen Hamilton supporting DARPA and the DoD by providing program and project management for complex government contracts with a focus on project and financial management. She has specialized expertise in contract negotiations, business process improvements, and small business relations and risk management. Her experience includes work in multiple DARPA Technical Offices where she supported all aspects of the DARPA programmatic lifecycle from program concept to transition. Her background also includes work in DARPA support offices, including the Director’s Office (DIRO) and the Mission Services Office (MSO), where she served as the contract program manager for DARPA’s largest and most complex support contract. Prior to her time at DARPA, Ms. Thabet spent time as an attorney, specializing in contract law and general litigation.

Ms. Thabet holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, a Juris Doctorate degree from The George Washington University School of Law, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.