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SBA Recognizes Top Lenders, Investment Companies and Resource Partners at National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today celebrated 23 first-rank lenders, investors and entrepreneurial education resource partners that have made significant contributions to the national economy by delivering SBA financial, training and counseling programs to small business entrepreneurs across the country.

“Financial assistance and entrepreneurial counseling and training are the foundation for SBA’s mission of helping small businesses start, grow and succeed,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “In a sense, this is how dreams are made for entrepreneurs across the country, and their contributions to our nation’s economic strength are vast. We welcome the opportunity to honor these award winners.”

These outstanding lenders, investors and resource partners were recognized during a National Small Business Week 2012 award event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The award event was sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The lender and investment award winners are:
The Large 7(a) Loan Lender of the Year is Key Bank National Association of Cleveland, Ohio, for its dramatic growth of almost 31 percent in the number of SBA-backed loans and more than 90 percent increase in SBA gross dollars approved in FY 2011. Receiving the awards were Mike Toth and John Moshier, senior vice presidents for the business banking segment and National SBA segment respectively.

The Small 7(a) Lender of the Year award produced a tie between Open Bank of Los Angeles, Calif. and Premier Commercial Bank of Anaheim, Calif. In FY 2011, Open Bank emerged as one of the most active SBA lenders in the region and produced more than $84 million in SBA-guaranteed loans; it did less than $1 million in 2009. Ryan Shin, senior vice-president and manager of the bank’s SBA Department, received the award. Premier Commercial Bank also showed impressive growth of 186.36 percent in the number of SBA loans made in 2011 over 2010. Its share of loans to underserved markets grew by 288.83 percent.

Two Certified Development Companies were also recognized for their efforts in helping finance small business expansion through SBA’s 504 loan program. HEDCO of Honolulu, Hawaii, was honored as the Large Certified Development Company of the Year. HEDCO secured loan commitments for a record 54 projects worth $24.5 million, a 38 percent increase over the previous year. The Small Certified Development Company of the Year Award went to the Monroe County Industrial Development Corporation of Rochester, N.Y. MCIDC delivered 24 SBA 504 loans representing $16 million in investments in local small businesses, a 33 percent increase over 2010. Receiving the awards were HEDCO President David Perkins, and MCIDC Executive Director Judy Seil.

The award for Community/Rural Lender of the Year went to First American Bank of Artesia, N.M., the oldest independent community bank in the state. First American had the highest number of loans and dollar amount in SBA-backed loans in New Mexico in FY 2011. Receiving the award were President/Managing Officer Roy Brady, and Senior Vice President Marjo Pace.

Also recognized were two Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs). The SBICs were Petra Capital Partners LLC of Nashville, Tenn., and Cephas Capital of Pittsford, N.Y. Petra Capital has invested more than $440 million in 87 high-growth private companies over the past 20 years. Since its founding in 1997, Cephas Capital has invested more than $70 million in 47 small companies located primarily in upstate New York. The awards for Small Business Investment Company of the Year were presented to Michael Blackburn, founding partner of Petra Capital, and Clint Campbell and Jeffrey Holmes, founders of Cephas Capital.

SBA’s Export Lender of the Year Award went to SunTrust Banks, Inc. of Atlanta, Ga. In FY 2011, the bank delivered 30 export loans for more than $61 million, two and a half times more than the next most active participating lender in SBA’s Export Working Capital program. Susanne Keough, Managing Director & Head of Global Trade Solutions received the award.

The 2012 Entrepreneurial Development Award winners are:
The South Palm Beach SCORE chapter was named National SCORE Chapter of the Year. The chapter, headed by Chapter Chair Hal Finkelstein and District Director Wolfgang H. Kurpiers, earned this distinction for its tremendous growth in clients served and for its success in public outreach.

This year’s Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award winner was the Women’s Business Center at Florida Tech, Melbourne, Fla. The WBC built a solid reputation for its innovation and high quality training services to women entrepreneurs. At the helm is Director Donna Miller-Kermani, under whose leadership more than 5,000 individuals received educational and networking opportunities during the last four fiscal years.

The Denver Metro Small Business Development Center made great strides over the past several years and received the Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award. Under the leadership of Tameka Montgomery, the Center increased the number of clients counseled by 41 percent, serving more than 3,500 individuals last year.

The SBA Counselor of the Year for SCORE is Beth Shapiro. She has served both the Houston SCORE chapter and the area’s small business community with excellence in providing sound mentoring and training. Shapiro’s real-world knowledge and 35 years of business experience has helped local area small business owners to succeed.

Joyce Chan is the SBA Counselor of the Year for Women’s Business Centers, and directs the Small Business Program at the Chinatown Service Center, a collaborative partner of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program Women’s Business Center. Chan’s expertise and superior counseling and mentoring services have helped local entrepreneurs overcome the barriers to business growth and success.

The award for SBA Counselor of the Year for Small Business Development Centers went to Kelly Massey, director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. As director of the state’s premier business assistance program, Massey is dedicated to helping the area’s small businesses achieve success and works to promote the mission and goals of the SBDC program to help spur economic development.

The recipient of the Champions of Collaboration Award is the Entrepreneur Launch Pad, a networking and education group for entrepreneurs and a cornerstone for the collective effort among SBA resource partners and community business organizations in Utah. In honor of this outstanding collaborative partnership and its work for the best interests of entrepreneurs and small business owners in Utah, the following individuals were recognized with the first ever Champions of Collaboration Award: Brent Meikle, director of the Kaysville Small Business Development Center; Carlos Linares, director of the Salt Lake City Small Business Development Center; Jason Yerka, director of the Logan Small Business Development Center; Beverly King, director of the Ogden Small Business Development Center; Ken Fakler, director of the Orem Small Business Development Center; Ron Tucker, chapter president of the Salt Lake SCORE; Arnold Brown, chapter president of Central Utah SCORE; and Pamela Okumura-Gerrard, program director of the Salt Lake Women’s Business Center.

During National Small Business Week, SBA honors State Small Business Persons of the Year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, and recognizes businesses recovering from natural disasters, people who have helped others recover from natural disasters, small business lenders, contractors and contracting officers, and champions for small businesses.

For more information about today’s award winners and other national Small Business Week events – including a free live streaming webcast – visit

Small Business Week 2012 sponsors and cosponsors include: AARP, Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, Dun & Bradstreet, InterContinental Hotels Group, International Franchise Association, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association for the Self-Employed, National Small Business Association, Neustar, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Paychex, Inc., Prudential, Raytheon, Sage North America, Salesgenie, SCORE, Small Business Investor Alliance, T-Mobile, VISA, and Women Impacting Public Policy.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this cosponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any cosponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2012.

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David Hall
(202) 205-6697

Cecelia Taylor
(202) 401-3059
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