White House honors Chilmark couple

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Arthur and Judith Obermayer speaking at the ceremony, held at the White House. — Photo courtesy of Betty Solbjor

Judith and Arthur Obermayer of Newton and Chilmark were the sole inductees into the Small Business Innovation Research Hall of Fame at the White House in its elegant Indian Treaty Room.

They were selected by the Small Business Administration in appreciation of their seminal role in securing the initial funding many decades ago for the Small Business Innovation Research Program, which has had a major economic impact on our nation, according to a press release.

Starting in 1970, Arthur Obermayer worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy to secure passage of the initial funding for the SBIR program at the National Science Foundation. Then the Obermayers collectively worked through many political minefields to make the SBIR program government-wide in 1982, and concurrently promoted a companion piece of legislation, the Bayh-Dole Patent Act.

Arthur Obermayer started Moleculon Research Corp. in 1961 as a chemical and pharmaceutical research company in Cambridge. Additionally, he was active during his entire professional and business career in identifying the problems and promoting the role of small high-tech companies in dealing with the government. Judith Obermayer, a principal in Moleculon, had a major role starting in 1979 in making SBIR government-wide, and helping other small high-tech companies reach their potential.