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Profiles of SBA award winners

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Small Business Person of the Year

Avram Ninyo

Ninyo & Moore

Since 1986, clients have turned to Ninyo & Moore for innovative solutions to complex geotechnical and environmental challenges. Ninyo & Moore provides specialized services to clients in the public and private sectors. With offices in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, the firm is fully committed to being responsive, cost-efficient and thorough in meeting client needs and objectives.

The experience and quality of Ninyo & Moore is widely recognized. Ninyo & Moore's strengths lie in quality and diversity of technical experience of its staff and personal involvement of principals in every project. The firm's 260 professionals include registered geotechnical and civil engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, engineering geologists, geophysicists and environmental scientists, specialists in regulatory issues and interpretation, hazardous waste management, remedial action planning, and asbestos and lead-based paint assessment and monitoring. Ninyo & Moore has consistent growth in number of employees and revenues.

Ninyo & Moore has affiliations with several professional and community organizations, including American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Chicano Federation of San Diego County. They are also involved in the community and provide assistance on a variety of levels. Some of their recent charities include Boys and Girls Club, American Heart Association, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy.

From their launch to the multilocation small empire of today, Avram Ninyo earned respect of all around him. SBA is honored to recognize him as 2005 Small Business Person of the Year.

Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Betty Hall

Canyon Creek Animal Hospital

As a child, Betty Hall, Canyon Creek Animal Hospital (CCAH) owner, dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. At 16, she volunteered at veterinary hospitals and since worked every veterinary hospital position, from cage cleaner to veterinarian.

Hall started as a house-call veterinarian and supplemented income as relief veterinarian. As clientele grew, she planned to start a veterinary hospital. In 2003, CCAH was opened. CCAH has since grown to seven employees and 1,420 clients. Hall and staff are committed to personal, compassionate, affordable, progressive and comfortable animal care. They educate pet owners on diagnostics and treatments to ensure follow-through with pet care.

CCAH accepts volunteers, giving students over 16 a veterinary medicine behind-the-scenes perspective. Hall is a community role model, showing young girls that they can be anything they want to be, if they follow their dreams.

Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Harold and Tina Lewis


Harold and Tina Lewis created JRL, LLC/B> in 1987 after departing the airline industry. They opened a McDonald's franchise and their first San Diego restaurant in 1987. JRL has since grown to 10 restaurants and 230 employees.

JRL values family, community and personal investment. With their financial growth, the Lewis' began using their restaurants to help others in San Diego. After a recent flood in Mexico, JRL sent truckloads of cots, clothing, food and necessities across the border to needy children. The Lewis' also support St. Vincent de Paul Center, Urban League, NAACP, Ronald McDonald House and others.

The also have witnessed the success of many of their employees over the years and have built a lasting legacy for their family and many others throughout Southern California.

Family-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

David and Ruby Konstantin

K-CO Construction Inc.

Owned and operated by Dave and Ruby Konstantin, K-CO Construction Inc., is a family-owned licensed general contracting business, specializing in building and remodeling homes in Clairemont, Bay Park, La Jolla and surrounding areas. Dave initially did the construction himself, accepting any job -- from room additions to memorial benches anywhere in the county. Dave since builds and remodels single-family homes within a limited geographic area, improving customer service and profit.

The Konstantins have received many commendations for community activities and corporate citizenship. K-CO has received three Better Business Bureau Torch Awards.

In 2005, K-CO will transition increased responsibility from Dave and Ruby to son Chad.

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

Carmen Amigon

Community Housing Works

Carmen Amigon coordinates and provides leadership to minority neighborhoods, empowering residents to seek quality of life for their families and community. Amigon's accomplishments include establishing the Leadership Academy, Micro Enterprise Training Academy and Neighborhood Leadership program in Oceanside.

Amigon's community involvement includes spearheading programs and educational classes to enhance individuals' ability for financial and personal independence. Amigon works with neighborhoods, mentoring local residents with classes in leadership, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. She is instrumental in programs to assist worker transition to permanent housing. Amigon participates in North County Housing Works and other community groups, is a role model, teaches by example and exudes service in all she does.

Small Business Financial Services Champion of the Year

William Martinez

Winston Real Estate/Southwestern College SBDITC

Bill Martinez owns Winston Real Estate, helps individuals repair bad credit and access capital. He touches hundreds of small businesses through his consulting services, community involvement and voluntary efforts.

Martinez provides land use consulting, helping farmers and churches get operating permits and licenses. Martinez consults and gives workshops through Southwestern College Small Business Development and International Trade Center (SBDITC) at pro-bono and low rates.

Martinez was a transit corporation director and county assessment appeals board chairman, advocating for small business. Martinez is committed to helping the small and minority business communities.

Delores Braswell Award: Advocating Women in Business

Lois Sudmeier

SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business

Lois Sudmeier has served SCORE and small business in several leadership positions since 1991. SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business is a volunteer, nonprofit organization of successful business executives, contributing their time and expertise to help entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.

In addition to face-to-face and online business counseling, Sudmeier served as region and chapter coordinator of women's business programs, workshops, women's programs senior vice president, and others.

Sudmeier always provides exemplary customer service and exhibits special interest and talent for reaching out to women entrepreneurs to provide assistance and encourage women to join SCORE, growing the women clients and SCORE members.

Sudmeier is a Rotary member and advocate for women business ownership. She is a past Soroptimist member. San Diego women in business benefit greatly from Sudmeier's SCORE and related efforts.

Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Robert Mulz, AVE

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Network (DVBEN)

Robert "Bob" Mulz is a retired, disabled Navy Master Chief Fire Control E-9. He owns Audio Video Electronics (AVE), a certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise.

He is a community activist at the federal and state level and chairs San Diego Elite DVBEN, which Mulz has turned into a viable, proactive organization.

Mulz's leadership helped obtain seats on the California Veterans Commission. He got needed regulatory revisions in DVBE formulation and procurement, providing more equitable contract opportunities.

Mulz is a great advocate for veteran business owners.

Home-Based Business Champion of the Year

Paul Hollenbach


Paul Hollenbach volunteers time, energy and expertise to benefit home-based and small business clients through SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Business.

Hollenbach has assumed SCORE leadership roles, including chapter president, program vice president. He directed workshop development and presentation.

Hollenbach devotes countless hours as a community express intermediary, providing SBA loans to start and grow small home-based business.

Hollenbach helps organize and market, lender relations and counsel Community Express clients, tripling these loans. As SCORE volunteer, Hollenbach helps numerous small and home-based businesses start, get loans and expand.

Hollenbach had his own construction industry company, Hollenbach and Associates, developing structural anchors for nuclear power fields, power actuated tools and adhesive anchors.

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