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Robert SantmyerAs a 17-year-old Robert, Santmyer joined the Air Force in 1978 and began his enlistment after High School graduation, “celebrating” his 18th birthday during Basic Training at Lackland AFB.  After Basic Training, Mr. Santmyer went to Tech School at Keesler AFB to become a Telecommunications Specialist (Tech Controller).  As a Telecommunications Specialist, Mr. Santmyer became an expert on both AUTODIN (Data) and AUTOVON (Voice) technologies, receiving the Air Force Commendation Medal in recognition of his expertise and professionalism while stationed at Andrews AFB from 1979 to 1981.

With the breakup of AT&T in 1983, Mr. Santmyer was courted by the industry to forgo reenlistment and join a newly formed telecommunications company called Sprint (then GTE Sprint).  At Sprint Mr. Santmyer quickly moved up the ranks from being a technician to becoming a senior engineer, then manager of engineering for Sprint’s Eastern Region.  In 1989 he was lured away from Sprint to join the executive team of a venture-capital-backed startup technology company as Vice President of Professional Services and Support, responsible for deploying and maintaining enterprise management platforms.  After the sale of that company in 1997, Mr. Santmyer served in executive-level positions for small and mid-size, as well as large businesses.  From 2005 to 2008, as Vice President of Technology and Operations for the Government Services Division of a large multi-billion-dollar business, Mr. Santmyer managed a team responsible for several of the first regionally based Counterterrorism Fusion Centers.  His team also built applications credited by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for helping to identify the location and reunification of over 800 children.

In 2011 Mr. Santmyer joined Penobscot Bay Media LLC (now known as PenBay Technology Group LLC (PenBay)) as Vice President to help the veteran owner of PenBay to grow the business.  In 2012 Mr. Santmyer was introduced to NVSBC, where he immediately recognized the organization’s value and convinced the PenBay owners to become a member.  By 2016 Mr. Santmyer helped PenBay to recognize steady growth with revenue 4 times greater than when he joined the organization in 2011.  At that time (2016), the veteran (majority) owner of PenBay expressed interest in retiring and asked Mr. Santmyer to help find a buyer for the business.  The veteran owner’s number one criterion for the sale was that the employees must be well cared for.  Mr. Santmyer stated the only way he could guarantee that was to buy the company himself.  PenBay’s veteran owner was thrilled with that suggestion.  After confirming his service-disabled status with the VA, working with an outside consultant for two years, and continuing business growth, Mr. Santmyer became PenBay’s majority owner on September 30, 2019.

Since taking the helm of PenBay in 2019, Mr. Santmyer has significantly supported the veteran business community.  In 2022, Mr. Santmyer was awarded the NVSBC Gordon H. Mansfield Award for his direct impact in not only becoming an unofficial mentor and advisor to less experienced veteran business owners but also working closely with GSA leadership by being the industry representative for all sixty-three (63) SDVOSB GSA VETS 2 GWAC prime contractors, ensuring GSA exercised the 5-year option period of VETS 2 in early 2023, which was in question following the announcement of the Polaris SDVOSB track.

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