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SBA announces 2011 Small Business Administration Award Winners

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Small Business Person of the Year

Cindy Erie

E-World Recyclers

Cindy Erie, President E-World Recyclers is a trailblazer in the electronic recycling industry and the San Diego community. Her business provides businesses, organizations and the community with innovative e-waste management and recycling services for the disposal of electronic equipment. Its services allow their customers to contribute to the protection of the environment through sound recycling practices demonstrating social responsibility and environmental stewardship. They take electronics equipment and break them down into their base components. Components are then sent to recyclers who further process each item to make it usable on the market again. E-World is the only electronics recycler to separate CRT glass so effectively that it can be sent directly to the furnace.

In its sixth year, E-World Recyclers has grown financially and from 5 to 22 full time employees. E-World sets itself apart by accepting just about anything, looking for ways to maximize material value and providing a very high level of assurance to its customers that it’s handling their material properly. Cindy and her team created a unique tracking system to help them improve their operations, increase profitability, provide the best service for their clients and set them apart from the competition. This system tracks the material from arrival to departure and beyond.

Cindy is also an active member of several industry and business organizations, conducts many outreach recycling events each year, and sponsors a variety of community organizations and events.

Nominator: Joe Molina, San Diego North Small Business Development Center, MiraCosta College


Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year

Kev Kutina

Kevcon, Inc.

Service disabled veteran Kev Kutina, President and CEO of Kevcon, Inc., a small construction firm, specializing in government contracting, is pleased that the majority of his employees are veterans as well and although his company has worked on a variety of government projects he is most proud of the work they have done on the veteran affairs national cemetaries, hospitals and clinics. They recently completed the National Cemetary in South Florida and are currently completing a phase of the National Cemetary in San Joaquin Valley and were recently awarded a project at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary. Kevcon is a reliable and reputable partner with more than 20 years of government contracting experience and in addition to running his business he donates a considerable amount of time advising service disabled veterans on transitioning or starting a construction business. He is truly deserving of the Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year award.

Nominator: Jeni Burgess, Wells Fargo Bank


Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Anita Nichols

Mom’s, Inc. (Mom’s Pies)

Anita Nichols, owner, Mom’s, Inc. (aka Mom’s Pies), a California S corporation, extablished her business in 1984. Mom’s Pies is a bakery/deli located in Julian, California. It has grown from a one-woman operation to a business with 40 employees and in 1987 expanded from a 10 by 22 foot space inside the old Julian Café building to include a larger kitchen, more seating and more options on the menu, such as cookies, cinnamon rolls and other homemade treats. They have since added several additional items to the menu including deli sandwiches and a homemade soup of the day. A second location on Highway 78 was recently added to improve operations and bakery volume.

Mom’s offers a fund-raiser program in support of various organizations and is involved with the Julian schools and school clubs, Julian 4-H, the Sierra Club and other local programs and events. They also have a college scholarship program for the students who work for Mom’s.

Nominator: Kay Weeks, Rabobank, N.A.


Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

Moninder S. Birdi

Birdi and Associates, Inc.

After gaining 10 years of valuable experience as an employee of Parsons Engineering Science, Moninder Birdi, founded his engineering consulting firm, Birdi and Associates, Inc., in 2006. Birdi and Associates, Inc. provides professional consulting services in technology, security, software development, system maintenance and project management. They pride themselves on utilizing all of their abilities, capacties and talents to create solutions for and make decisions in the best interest of their clients. They excel in delivering services at a level and in sectors that are usually restricted to large, multi-national firms. Birdi and Associates is currently in its fifth year of achieving the successful completion of numerous projects at Los Angeles International and San Diego airports. The firm continues to grow to new heights under Moninders direction providing quality solutions via its experience driven and thoroughly researched services.

Nominator: Terry Johnson, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority


Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

Bernard Johnson

The Bernard Johnson Group, Inc.

Bernard Johnson, President and CEO of The Bernard Johnson Group, Inc. (BJG) founded his business in 1994 offering land acquisition and right-of-way services, real estate development and re-development, mortgage, financing and brokerage services. Bernard has been instrumental in some notable projects. He worked with the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), a leading San Diego redevelopment agency, and Price Charities to develop the Gateway Center in Southeastern San Diego, attracting businesses to the area to create job opportunities and training programs to increase job skills. Over the year Bernard has participated as a Board member for various committees and organizations. Currently he is a board member of the California Statewide Minortity Supplier Development Council representing the Council on the Statewide CalTrans Advisory Board. BJG also works with the Airport Authority in its outreach efforts to the minority contracting community and developing computer based training programs to LEED certify small contracting companies to work on the Airport’s $2 billion Green Build. These are only a few examples of the many contributions Bernard Johnson has made in advocating minority small business.

Nominator: Ken Clark, Small Business Development and International Trade Center, Southwestern College


Delores Braswell Award: Advocating Women in Business

Nancy Fredericks

Sales Link

Nancy Fredericks, owner Sales Link, is a business consultant focusing on small businesses and their strategic planning for sales and marketing. Nancy is a nationally certified business consultant with a Master’s Degree in organizational management. She teaches a variety of business related courses at both Southwestern College and San Diego City College and has assisted hundreds of clients over the past 12 years, through training and counseling, at the Small Business Development and International Trade Center, Southwestern College, MiraCosta College and the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation. She has advocated for increased opportunities for women in industry and has worked to develop training programs within industries like food service and hospitality which have a higher average of percentage of women in the workforce. Nancy serves on several advisory board committees within business and educational communities and has coordinated four different grants for Southwestern College over the past ten year. Ms. Fredericks is dedicated to assisting business owners improve their businesses through education in a variety of management skills.

Nominator: Ken Clark, Small Business Development and International Trade Center, Southwestern College


Financial Services Champion of the Year

Gabriel Reyes

Small Business Development & International Trade Center (SBDITC), Southwestern College

Gabriel Reyes, Business Advisor, at the SBDITC, for the past 7 years has advised nearly 1000 small business owners. He specializes in providing assistance in business financing, working with a variety of loan programs including City Revolving Loan Funds, Community Benefit Loans, SBA loan guaranty programs and other loan alternatives. He constantly educates himself on these program as well as any new loan programs, in order to provide his clients with the most current information and guidance. Gabriel works closely with both his clients and lenders to facilitate the loan approval process.

Prior to working at the SBDITC, Gabriel Reyes graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Economics, owned and operated an internet services company for 5 years and worked as a commercial and residential mortgage originator. His unique background makes him an outstanding small business advisor.

Nominator: Ken Clark, Small Business Development and International Trade Center, Southwestern College


SBA Small Business Lenders of the Year

SBA Lenders achieve outstanding results year after year. These two SBA lenders are recognized for producing the most “7a” & “504” loans last year. These lenders were most effective in lending to small businesses, not only locally, but nation-wide. They also excelled in loans to women & minority businesses. They are role models among SBA lenders. SBA’s loan programs help businesses that cannot obtain needed financing through conventional means.

CDC Small Business Finance Corporation

CDC Small Business Finance is the nation’s leading SBA-504 program lender, providing financing to help small businesses purchase their facilities with minimal down payments and low rates. CDC has helped over 7,000 entrepreneurs move from being renters to owners, building equity for their companies. Recently CDC was among the first financial intermediaries in the U.S. designated an SBA Community Advantage Lender, offering smaller loans to businesses in underserved markets using the SBA 7a loan product. Additionally, CDC is a national leader in providing secondary market solutions to SBA-504 lenders.

In FY10, CDC approved 438 commercial real estate loans, providing $776 million in project financing – a 14% increase over FY09 – in California, Arizona and Nevada. These loans helped small businesses create and preserve more than 7,500 jobs. In San Diego alone, CDC made 77 SBA-504 loans, providing $104 million in total financing which generated 833 jobs. CDC also originated 86 microloans for $2.6 million. CDC was founded in 1987 by Arthur Goodman.

SBA Loan Division

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has been the national leader in SBA 7(a) lending in dollars for the past three years. Figures for the federal fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2010, show Wells Fargo, extended 2,469 SBA-guaranteed loans totaling $871 million in financing to small businesses. Wells Fargo is the #1 SBA lender in both dollars and units in three states: California, Colorado and Nevada. In San Diego Wells Fargo made 56 "7a" loans for $20.8 million in FY2010. Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Wells Fargo was a major lending participant in SBA's America's Recovery Capital (ARC) Loan Program which provided short-term relief for many small businesses nationwide facing immediate financial hardship due to uncertain economic times. Wells Fargo's SBA Loan Division endeavors to provide much needed financial assistance to entrepreneurs looking to improve and grow their businesses utilizing a variety of SBA loan guaranty programs.

George Chandler Leadership Award

This award recognizes an individual or organization for leadership and commitment to excellence in the San Diego community. This year’s award goes to:

George Chamberlin, The Daily Transcript

George Chamberlin is the Executive Editor for The Daily Transcript, San Diego's only daily business newspaper. He is also the business editor for KOGO Radio and hosts “Money in the Morning”, a personal finance and consumer program each Sunday morning. He is the Money Advisor for NBC 7/39, providing financial reports each weekday morning, and a columnist for the North County Times. He is the publisher and editor of a national newsletter, Investing for Rookies.

George has also become a popular speaker and master of ceremonies. He averages about ten talks a month to civic groups and business organizations. And, both George and his wife, Terry, are active in their community. They have both served as president of the San Marcos Boys and Girls Club and several other organizations. In addition, George has twice been honored as Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration.

SBA Community Service Award

The Chicano Federation of San Diego County

Since 1969 The Chicano Federation of San Diego County has offered a variety of assistance programs to individuals and families, including child education, economic development, foster care, health and nutrition, and housing programs. It also offers small business development for women, with its Family Childcare Training Program which teaches women to start a home-based childcare business. The Chicano Federation has grown significantly over the years and now assists more than 10,000 people a year.

Small Business Contractor of the Year

Robert Carroll, Data Disposal, Inc.

Data Disposal, Inc. is a family owned business that has been serving Southern California since 1984, providing safe and confidential destruction of documents. They are proud to provide impeccable customer service, competitive pricing, and an unparalleled commitment to the sensitivity of the material placed in their charge. National Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Tibbetts Award & Hall of Fame

Tibbetts award winners are selected based on the economic impact of their technological innovation, and on whether they have met federal research and development needs, encouraged diverse participation in technological innovation, and increased the commercialization of federal research. Also, past participants in SBIR who represent the very best of the 30-year SBIR program were named to the Inaugural SBIR Hall of Fame class.

Space Micro, Inc. - Tibbetts Award

Space Micro has designed, manufactured, and delivered several radiation hardened satellite electronics products for SBIR agencies such as Air Force, NASA, MDA, HSARPA, OSD, Army, Navy, and DTRA. At the National ceremony, Space Micro was highlighted by the SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, as one of four “poster child” companies for commercialization success within the SBIR Program. Space Micro has participated in over 60 SBIR Programs and has been recognized for fast growth by the San Diego Business Journal and Inc. magazine.

Qualcomm, Inc. – Tibbetts Hall of Fame

Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm) is a world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. Qualcomm’s inventions have turned the ordinary mobile phone used primarily for voice communication into an extraordinarily powerful mobile computer, the largest information platform in the history of mankind—one based on Qualcomm’s innovative CDMA technology.

Qualcomm was a significant SBIR participant when the firm had less than 35 employees. Throughout its time in the SBIR program, it received roughly $1.5M in awards. Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, co-founder and former Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, acknowledges the value and importance of SBIR funding at a critical point in the earliest days of the firm. Qualcomm started out providing contract research and development services, with limited product manufacturing, for the wireless telecommunications market.

Over the last 25 years, Qualcomm’s innovations in wireless communications technology have become the backbone of communications infrastructure worldwide.

ViaSat, Inc. – Tibbetts Hall of Fame

ViaSat produces innovative satellite and other digital communication products that enable fast, secure, and efficient communications to any location. Founded in 1986, ViaSat’s early work on networking was funded through the SBIR Program. ViaSat participated in the SBIR Program for 14 years before it exceeded 500 employees and was no longer considered a small business. ViaSat is now publicly traded company that employs nearly 1,000 people.

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