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SBA Honers Arizona's Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Champions

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, April 9, 2015

PRESS OFFICE – Arizona District Office
Contact: Stephen Hart 520-269-9497
Release Date: April 6, 2015
Internet Address:
Release Number: 040615
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PHOENIX, AZ – In celebration of Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration is honoring Arizona entrepreneurs and small business champions for their contributions to the economy.  Over 97 percent of the businesses in the state are small businesses. Year-after-year small businesses are the greatest sources of innovation, jobs and revenue growth in Arizona’s dynamic economy.

“Each year the SBA has the honor of spotlighting Arizona winners of our Small Business Week awards in a ceremony that recognizes and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit and community activism that has long characterized the small business community of our great state,” said Robert J. Blaney, the District Director of the SBA in Arizona.  “These men and women are the risk takers, the innovators and the employers that fuel our economy and daily serve our communities as local leaders.”

The awards will be presented during the Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) annual AZ Small Biz Con 2015 which will be held on May 19 & 20, 2015 at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa.  The awards luncheon is on Tuesday, May 19.  Information is available from ASBA at 602-306-4000 or

National Small Business Week will be celebrated from May 4 to 8 with national events planned in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York and Washington, D.C.


The 2015 SBA Small Business Week Arizona winners are:

2015 Arizona Small Business Person of the Year

Michael Melton – President and CEO of ClearCall Solutions LLC

“Too good to be true,” some might say. “Not possible,” might be how others react. “Fantastical, stellar, the stuff of legends,” biographers might write of the levels of success Arizona’s 2015 Small Business Person of the Year Michael Melton has achieved since starting ClearCall Solutions in 2010.


Certainly many will envy his results which include a 255 percent revenue growth in five years and the resulting addition of 280 employees. However, most will simply want to know how he did it… increasing revenues from $9.7 million to $32.8 million and growing his workforce to 400 employees. Those that know him use words like passion and faith to explain his success.

Michael’s is a story of a young man who at 19 leveraged his background in call center management to co-found a Dish Network dealership that eventually ranked as one of the top ten Dish retailers in the country. No small task when competing with 1000 other such retailers nationwide.

In 2007 Melton added an ADT Security dealership. His methods paid off when he was again classified top among his peers. For those who know him it was no surprise when he was ranked in the top four ADT dealerships nationwide from a pool of 650. Neither were they surprised when in 2013 he was named to the Arizona Republic’s top 35 Entrepreneurs under 35 list.

A serial entrepreneur, Michael struck again in 2014 launching a new marketing firm called American Cornerstone Insurance which joined his others under the ClearCall Solutions umbrella.

The business generates between 2500 and 2800 calls weekly. Michael’s operations are among the best at converting those calls into contracts and installations for Dish Network and ADT Security services. Over 80% of the sales leads developed from inbound calls result in installations. 

Selling is only part of what ClearCall Solutions does. Fulfillment and service being the others.  Once a sale is made, ClearCall Solutions contacts installation contractors and sets up the installation. Where similar companies in the industry typically specialize in just one line of business such as marketing, or call center operations, or the customer fulfillment end of the business, ClearCall Solutions does all three. That consolidated approached has rocketed ClearCall Solutions to stellar rankings among its peers.

2015 Arizona Small Business Exporter of the Year

Justin Smith – Vice President of International Sales, Bio Huma Netics (BHN)

The heavily traveled highway and rail corridor between Mexico and Arizona crosses the border at Nogales, just two hundred miles south of Gilbert, Arizona where the BHN headquarters are located. The route is little known outside the area, but diners from Chicago to New York daily enjoy the fresh produce it carries from Mexico and Latin American locales. A full thirty-five percent of the fresh produce imports entering the US share the corridor.

Bio Huma Netics plays a significant role in the growing of that produce, providing high-grade soil supplements that help assure quality and speedy growth. BNH’s products originate from a mine in the Northwestern US, are manufactured in Arizona and shipped to over twenty-five countries.

Justin has been with BHN since 2008 when he worked for the company in Sinaloa, Mexico. His career took off like the produce that benefits from BNH products. Within a year he was back in the States as Director of International Sales. By last year he was promoted to Vice President where his division drives half of the company’s total sales.

2015 Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Mark I. Field – Arizona Veterans Magazine

Maybe it was his service on US Navy submarines where crewman are largely out of touch with the day-to-day goings on in the rest of the world that led Mark to start a magazine. He knew the need for a means to help keep Vets apprised of news they need and might otherwise miss: assistance for homeless vets, suicide prevention, job assistance, healthcare, small business assistance and housing aid to name a few.

Titled “The Arizona Veterans Magazine”, Mark’s writings are enjoyed by over 250,000 veterans across Arizona. The magazine offers Mark an opportunity to combine his familiarity with publishing and his passion for helping fellow Veterans. An author of a very successful travel handbook Mark is comfortable communicating in print.

His efforts to help Veterans have won him praise from all sectors of the Veterans community as well as elected officials including governors, legislators, mayors, sheriffs, and tribal leaders.

2015 Woman-Owned Small Business Champion of the Year

Sharon Hamilton – President Sentinel Fence and Contracting

Sentinel Fence provides high security fence installations for federal, state, municipal governments and private prisons across the country. Since its founding in 2002, Sentinel Fence has expanded annually with sales reaching nearly $3 million in 2014.

On the face of it, Sharon, a teacher and school Principal in Mesa for nearly twenty years, might seem an unlikely candidate to become an entrepreneur. Not so, and she did it in the right way by keeping here full-time while helping with the business part-time. When the time was right, she joined full-time and has since taken full ownership of the company. A hands-on owner Sharon in often found on the job site assuring safe operations, or directing a unique installation, or just cleaning up as a job progresses.

Sharon pursued and received an SBA 8(a) certification for Sentinel, which has increased access to federal contracting opportunities significantly. The 8(a) business development program helps economically and socially disadvantaged small businesses compete better for federal jobs. By expanding Sentinel’s lines of business to include general contracting, Sharon has further opened her company to the vast opportunities in the federal contracting world.

Despite the full-time requirements of family and business, Sharon finds time to give back. She mentors other women business owners and hosts students from the Arizona State University intern programs who work with her side-by-side. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona where her experience continues to help others.


2015 Minority-Owned Small Business Champion of the Year

Lisa Odle – President, Odle Management Group

Some businesses start on a lark. Others grow from hobbies. Then there are those like Odle Management Group leaves a job and with experience, skills and ideas applies them in a business of their own.

Entrepreneurs adopt many business management styles, from the take it as it comes approach, to the go with your gut approach, to the more deliberate approach that relies on due diligence, the advice of experts, market research and sound financial planning. Lisa Odle of Odle Management Group is one of the latter. 

Years of experience managing Job Corps programs led her to open a business doing the same. Simply put, by the time she opened her own business, she knew the industry cold and with the assistance of SBA counselors was destined for success.

Lisa entered business in May 2004 and by June 2005 had her first large contract with the U.S. Department of Labor to help outplace Job Corps students. By June 2007 she’d won a $6.2 million contract to handle both student enrollment and outplacement services for a number of Job Corps Centers. In 2009 the company won contracts in Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and Michigan. Business grew geometrically when two contracts won later in the year for training services in Louisville and Long Beach exceeded $90 million and her employee base grew to over 100.

As the business grew, Lisa became certified in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, opening access to previously unavailable federal contracts. In speaking of growing her business Lisa credits her success to the focus she has always placed on performance. She knows the importance of having a proven past performance record and a high effectiveness rating to federal contracting officers considering their next award.



2015 Arizona Financial Services Champion of the Year

Matthew Mapes – Vice President and SBA Commercial Banker at Arizona Business Bank

An SBA banker with 10 years of experience, Michael helps evaluate the capital needs of small business owners, the strength of their business and what type of SBA loan will best suit their needs. Whether a business is seeking to purchase equipment or real estate, or fund an acquisition, Michael assists in streamlining the process and shepherds the loan through the approval process.

SBA’s loan programs help provide capital for many uses, including the export of small business goods and services. These special loans require a solid grasp of the intricacies of international trade, bonding and collateral. International trade is among the core focuses of the SBA because of the growth in jobs and small business revenues it creates when US markets expand abroad.

This past year Michael was instrumental in providing international trade loans totaling $3 million.

2015 Arizona Small Business Development Center of Excellence

2015 Region IX Small Business Development Center of Excellence*

Under the leadership of regional center director Nancy Sanders, the Maricopa Community Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2014 counseled 500 business clients, helped 102 small business get started, created or retained 469 jobs, and helped businesses raise over $34 million in capital and increase sales by over $38 million.

The Maricopa SBDC is the largest in a statewide network of ten SBDCs and sixteen satellites where professional business counselors, analysts and technology specialists offer free one-on-one business counseling. The Maricopa center is especially well known for the relationships it has developed with organizations who share the primary goal of helping small businesses succeed. Its partnership with the Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Collaboration (AZPTAC) is a prime example.

The PTAC program was created by a Department of Defense grant with the express purpose of helping small businesses better understand federal contracting processes and how to win contracts through the preparation of successful bids. By hosting the PTAC, the SBDC has leveraged the knowledge of its counselors while expanding the services available to its clients.

Another unique service it offers is counseling from two Certified Global Business Professionals on staff. A small business owner looking to expand into overseas markets and navigate the complexities of international trade has a one-stop-shop solution.

This approach of maximizing delivery of counseling services is further evident in how the SBDC works with two area business incubators. To better assist startups, the SBDC houses employees on site at both the City of Chandler Innovations Incubator and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation in Phoenix.

* Region IX consists of Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Republic of Belau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 

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 For more information about all of the SBA’s programs for small businesses, visit the SBA’s extensive Web site at


Tags:  awards  entrepreneur  SBA  small businesses 

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Kristen Wilson Earns Certified Association Executive Credential

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, January 26, 2015
Updated: Friday, January 23, 2015

Arizona Small Business Association



Washington, DC (January 16, 2015) – The American Society of Association Executives has announced that Kristen Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of the Arizona Small Business Association has earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE®) designation.  The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry.

To be designated as a Certified Association Executive, an applicant must have a minimum of three years experience with nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. To maintain the certification, individuals must undertake ongoing professional development and activities in association and nonprofit management.  More than 4,000 association professionals currently hold the CAE credential.  The CAE Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).


ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 9,300 organizations.  Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world.  With the support of ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community.  For more information about ASE, visit




ABOUT ASBA: The Arizona Small Business Association is the largest and only statewide association dedicated to serving the needs of small business.  Your Business. Our Expertise.  Together, a Prosperous Arizona.  Learn more at

Tags:  Association  awards  certificate  congratulations  Small business 

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Finalists Announced – 2015 SWAE Leadership Award

Posted By Laura Bassett, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, December 22, 2014

Finalists Announced – 2015 SWAE Leadership Award

PHOENIX, AZ (December 18, 2014) - The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) is proud to announce the 3 finalists for the 2015 Leadership Award: David Dexter of Sonora Quest Laboratories, Bill Hoddy of Intel Corporation and Jacob Snow of the City of Henderson, NV.

The finalists were selected by a committee of individuals with a high level of experience in organizational excellence, and understanding of the SWAE core values. The SWAE Leadership Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of performance excellence and has furthered performance improvement beyond the boundaries of their organization. This is the inaugural year of the award and will be given out annually.

David Dexter joined Sonora Quest Laboratories / Laboratory Sciences of Arizona in 1999 as President & CEO and quickly helped lead the organization through a business turnaround by re-establishing and embedding a commitment to Quality throughout SQL/LSA. David’s help and leadership in introducing a companywide Quality Management System allowed SQL/LSA to grow into one of the largest integrated laboratory networks in the nation. David has also expanded his breadth of leadership by being highly involved in multiple health related boards, councils, societies and initiatives throughout the state of Arizona.

Bill Hoddy, a 26 year veteran of Intel Corporation, is a Business Process Quality Engineer and a Lean Bronze Sensei who has a long term passion for Continuous Quality Improvement. For over a decade, Bill has enhanced Arizona communities by sharing his knowledge of quality improvement through volunteerism with numerous organizations including local non-profits, educational institutions and government agencies. Through the Intel Mentoring and Planning Services (MAPS) initiative Bill has also helped coach many organizations in improving their business processes to more efficiently meet the needs of their clients, learners and tax payers.

Jacob Snow is a native to Southern Nevada who strongly believes in giving back in order to make his community a better place and has spent his entire career serving in various positions throughout Clark County Nevada. He has served as the City of Henderson City Manager since 2012. Jacob acted with integrity and transparency by reaching out to the community for assistance in addressing the City’s budget and cost containment efforts.  As City Manager, Jacob demonstrated his dedication for continuous improvement by establishing the Henderson Quality Initiative (HQI), a quality approach which is modeled after a national quality model; which has now been successfully implemented for two years running and is continuing to mature and improve the quality of life in the City of Henderson.

The recipient of the inaugural SWAE Leadership Award will be announced at the annual SWAE Performance Excellence Program Award Banquet on January, 27, 2015 at the Chaparral Suites Resorts in Scottsdale, AZ.  For more information visit  
Established in 1990, The Southwest Alliance for Excellence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that advances improvement and excellence in organizations, communities and individuals throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah by using the Baldrige Criteria.

Tags:  Awards  Leadership  SWAE 

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2014 Performance Excellence Program Award Recipients

Posted By Karen Shepard, The Southwest Alliance for Excellence /Arizona Quality Alliance, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 8, 2014

Contact: Karen Shepard


Six Organizations Honored with Performance Excellence Awards

PHOENIX, AZ (December 8, 2014) – The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE), announced today the six recipients of the 2014 Performance Excellence Program.  

The annual Performance Excellence Program recognizes organizations for excellence in quality, performance, and outcomes.  The program, modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria, provides not only an opportunity for recognition, but also valuable feedback on where an organization is positioned on the quality continuum.  

In addition to formal recognition, the SWAE’s multi-tiered process assists organizations in Arizona, Nevada and Utah along their path to achieving performance excellence, which means being role models in customer and employee satisfaction, sound management, innovation and results.

Awards will be presented at a banquet to be held from 11:30am-1:30pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at the Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The keynote speaker at the Banquet will be Carolyn Campos, MSN RNC of Sutter Davis Hospital in California, a 2013 Baldrige National Award Recipient.

The Pioneer Award for Excellence will also be presented at a City Council meeting with the Mayor of Henderson, NV at a date yet to be determined. Additional information about the Awards is available at or by calling 480-874-5815. 

Recipients for the 2014 Performance Excellence Program are:

Pioneer Award for Excellence   (Organization Level)

  • City of Henderson, Nevada

Showcase in Excellence Awards   (Process Level)

  • Arizona State Retirement System – “Online Member Statements”
  • Arizona State Retirement System – “Online Refund Process”
  • Deer Valley Unified School District, AZ – “Campus Improvement Plan”
  • University of Phoenix – “Prior Learning Assessment Professional Training Portfolio”
  • Yuma Regional Medical Center, AZ – Reducing Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers: One Patient at a Time”

“SWAE is proud to continue empowering organizations to pursue performance excellence,

improve outcomes and contribute to the economic strength of their community and state.

This evaluation process and feedback is one of the best methodologies available to develop a higher level of organizational performance, said Karen Shepard, Executive Director of the Southwest Alliance for Excellence.”

The Pioneer Award for Excellence honors organizations in the early stages of carrying out operations with repeatable processes, evaluation, and improvement and there is early coordination among organizational units. Strategy and quantitative goals are being defined. Some results demonstrate good performance levels and use of comparative and trend data is in the early stages.

The Showcase in Excellence Award recognizes teams for one specific process that is innovative or a cutting-edge approach. It may be used as a role model in comparison to competitors or result in exceptional performance. It could also be a routine process performed in an extraordinary manner.

The 2014 Board of Examiners, made up of more than 45 experts in business, education healthcare and government spent more than 4500 hours assessing this year’s applicants in seven areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, operations focus, and results. The SWAE Panel of Judges is responsible for validating the integrity of the award process and determining recognition levels for each of the applicants. The Panel is comprised of experts selected from all industry sectors with experience at both the state and national levels.

Applications for the 2015 program will be available in February 2015.

Established in 1990, The Southwest Alliance for Excellence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that advances improvement and excellence in organizations, communities and individuals throughout

Arizona, Nevada and Utah by using the Baldrige Criteria.




Tags:  2014  Awards  Baldrige  PEP  Performance Excellence  Performance Excellence Program  Pioneer Award for Excellence  Showcase in Excellence Award  Southwest Alliance for Excellence  SWAE 

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