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Arizona Small Business Week Award Winners Announced by SBA

Monday, April 4, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Whitney Fletcher
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Release Date: April 4, 2011 Contact: Stephen Hart (520) 620-7042

Release Number: 04-11 Internet Address:


PHOENIX, AZ – Annually, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) honors Arizona entrepreneurs and small business champions for their contributions to the economy. Over 97 percent of the businesses in the state are small businesses and have proven, year after year, to be the greatest sources of the innovation, jobs and growth for Arizona’s economy.

On May 5, Arizona’s winners of SBA’s prestigious Small Business Week awards will participate in a ceremony honoring their entrepreneurial spirit, success, and commitment to the growth of small business in the state.

"Each year the SBA has the honor of spotlighting Arizona winners of our Small Business Week awards which celebrate and spotlight the entrepreneurial spirit and community activism that has long characterized the small business community of Arizona,” states Robert Blaney, SBA’s Arizona District Director. "As risk takers, innovators, and employers, these winners reflect how small businesses contribute to both the state economy and their local communities.”

At 11:00 a.m. on Thursday May 5 at the Arizona Biltmore, the Small Business Administration in association with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) will conduct a formal ceremony during the 18th Annual Enterprise Business Awards Luncheon to present awards to Arizona’s Small Business Person of the Year, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the year, Exporter of the Year, Veteran Small Business of the Year, Women in Business Champion of the Year, Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, and Financial Services Champions of the Year.

Arizona’s 2011 winners are:

2011 Arizona Small Business Person of the Year

Phoenix, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who owns and operates, or bear principal responsibility for operating, a small business.

This year’s Small Business Person of the Year is Dan Kelley of Tierra Dynamic – Integrated Environmental Service of Phoenix.

As with so many small businesses finding a niche or creating one is the key to success. Dan Kelley realized the need early on in the environmental remediation era that started in the 1990’s for a firm that could both assess the environmental liabilities of property owners, or purchasers under the new Superfund law, and assist in mitigation.

Tierra Dynamics soon offered Phase One Environmental Studies. In due course, Dan realizing the challenge of funding remediation requirements under Superfund, built a niche offering specialized loans to property owners for cleanup of land that would otherwise lose its value as a place of business or as productive land. Underground tank remediation developed as another core line of business.

From humble beginnings, Tierra Dynamics has developed into an international corporation. Despite its international presence, giving back remains part of the corporate culture. Tierra works with Habitat for Humanity, offering pro bono water system design, installation and permitting assistance. Further, Dan created the Voluntary Environmental Alliance (VERA) which helps local Superfund site owners who inherited or purchased tainted properties afford the up-front costs of cleanup. To date, VERA has brought $35 million in cleanup funding to rural Arizona communities.

2011 Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year

Globe, AZ

The winner of this award is a business who has increased employment opportunities for family members and non-family members, demonstrated long-term business success and economic growth measured by sales and profits, and helps strengthen family-owned businesses within the community.

As the story goes, the mythical Phoenix bird dies in a burst of flame only to be reborn from its own ashes. The rebirth of the Hollis families Cinema 4 theaters in Globe is no myth, but many see it as a miracle. In fact, rebuilding the burnt out hulk of the theater that had been in the family since the 1950s, took old fashioned elbow grease, time, passion, patience, commitment and help from small business counselors at the Gila Community College Small Business Development Center.

Bob Hollis and his sister Diana grew up in the theatre, working in the family cinemas as kids. Today, following the devastating fire of July 2005 and four years of recovery, their rebuilt and expanded family business, Hollis Cinema 4 reopened in November 2009.

The four-screen, 500-seat theatre was the largest investment in Globe in decades. Today, the Hollis’s employ 14 and patrons relish saving the seventy-mile drive they used to make to Mesa to catch a movie.

2011 Arizona Small Business Exporter of the Year

Tucson, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who has demonstrated increased sales, profits and/or growth of employment because of exporting.

This year’s Small Business Exporter of the Year is Vante of Tucson.

For over 30 years Vante has been a leader in the medical device manufacturing industry. Specializing in the four categories of catheter manufacturing equipment, biopharmaceutical equipment, industrial applications and OEM solutions, Vante’s products include their own SAFFIRE and PIRP manufacturing systems, industrial tube sealers, and plastic sealing and welding technology.

Vante serves more than 500 customers and works with over 23 partners to distribute its export products around the globe. Vante achieved growth of 20 to 30 percent six years in a row and it is targeting 15 percent growth this year, expecting sales of $9 million to $10 million. Vante aims to produce about 90% of its device components in house by the end of 2011.

2011 Arizona Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Phoenix, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to advancing small business opportunities for Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, actively supported legislation or regulation designed to help Veteran owned small businesses, or advocated special consideration for Veteran owned small businesses.

This year’s Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year is Raymond Ragan III of Rook & Knight – Strategic Communications and Technology in Phoenix.

A Reserve Army officer, Ray was injured in Iraq, but, undaunted, he returned home to start his own small business and with the goal of enhancing veteran business support in Arizona, developed the Arizona Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

In his role with the Chamber, now called the Arizona Chapter, U.S. Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Ray has reached out to all segments of the veteran population in an effort to address the full spectrum of their economic needs from employment to business development. He serves as an advocate for the veteran business community in governmental policy and legislation.

Education is another bulwark of his outreach to fellow veteran business owners, and his efforts in support the SBA’s Patriot Express loan program – designed expressly for veterans – assisted many in pursuing the programs benefits.

2011 Arizona Women in Business Champion of the Year

Tucson, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership and has demonstrated efforts to increase business and financial opportunities for women.

This year’s Women in Business Champion is Debbie Chandler, who is executive director of SBA’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Arizona and of its host, the non-profit Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC) in Tucson.

The Women’s Business Center, offers small businesses counseling, training, and mentoring programs. The Women’s Business Center is a destination for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owner alike, looking for assistance in the fundamentals of business organization, finance, marketing and planning for growth.

MAC is also one of SBA’s Arizona micro-lenders, offering small business loans up to $35,000. The organization also hosts one of the 11 Small Business Development Centers in the state. SBDCs provide one-on-one confidential evaluation and guidance by counselors with real-life business ownership and management experience to help you fast-track your plans for startup and growth.

Debbie brought her 25 years in the Arizona banking industry to MAC in 2006. In the five years since, MAC has grown from serving 500 business clients annually to over 1200. Prior to taking on the role of director, Debbie served in many roles in banking with the most recent being as Senior Vice President at Bank of America where she grew a client management program throughout greater Arizona.

2009 Arizona Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

Phoenix, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to support minority entrepreneurship and has demonstrated efforts to improve conditions in the minority small business community as a whole, not solely for individual personal advancement.

This year’s Minority Small Business Champion is Tony Hatcher, retired SBE Procurement Manager for the City of Phoenix Finance Department/Purchasing Division.

Throughout his 17 year career with the City of Phoenix Tony was responsible for outreach and development of local small, minority and women businesses doing business with the City.

Anything but routine, Tony’s duties included interviewing companies to discern their capabilities, and instructing small businesses in the all too often complex procurement processes of the City and various other government agencies. Individual, one-on-one interaction, participation in trade fairs, conferences, networking events, and conducting workshops throughout Maricopa and Pima Counties were characteristic of his outreach efforts.

An integral part of the connection between small business and government, city, state, and federal procurement operations, Tony leveraged his previous experience as Senior Minority Buyer for Maricopa County’s Minority and Women's Business Enterprise Program, his service on the Board of Directors for the Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council (GCMSDC), and his participation with the American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA) and the Arizona Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP).

Now retired, Tony continues to assist small, minority and women-owned businesses by offering professional consulting services.

2011 Arizona Financial Services Champion of the Year

Cave Creek, AZ

The winner of this award is an individual who assists small business owners in providing the amount and quality of assistance required to obtain financing to advance small business interests.

This year’s Financial Services Champion is Tim Collins of BNC National Bank in Cave Creek.

Involved in SBA lending for over 23 years, Tim has worked tirelessly for the small business lending community, providing over $200 million in small business loans to over 500 businesses in Arizona. He has specialized in business acquisition, start-up, debt restructure, franchise and special purpose commercial real estate lending over the years.

As a regular speaker to a variety of trade groups, including the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers, the Arizona Business Brokers Association and the Arizona Small Business Association, Tim has spread the word on the merits of SBA loan programs. He has taught classes on SBA lending at the Arizona School of Real Estate.

Reflecting his approach of being a consultant to small businesses, Collins has also been a regular contributor for the past 15 years at SCORE Loan Clinics in the Phoenix area. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers free one-on-one counseling and workshops to small businesses to help the start, grow and succeed.

2011 Arizona Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Service Excellence and Innovation Award

Yuma, AZ

This award honors a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for its excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation. Among the many characteristics examined are a Center’s record of new business creation, capital infusion, counseling success, job creation, and program and training innovation.

Arizona’s network of 11 SBDCs is a partnership between the state’s community college districts and the SBA. These Centers serve thousands of clients annually through business training programs and free, one-on-one confidential counseling by counselors who use their real-life business ownership and management experience to offer practical and relevant advice.

The Arizona Western College SBDC in Yuma won the award this year for its record of success, innovation and economic impact. Center Director Randy Nelson’s personal background – MBA in management and marketing, business professor, restaurant owner, middle manager in the plastics manufacturing industry and a vice president with Budget Rent-A-Car – typifies the experience Center counselors offer clients.

The Center offers counseling workshops in both Spanish and English, and offers expertise in accounting, marketing, technology, import/export, procurement, compliance issues and financial analysis. These are in addition to the fundamentals of business plan development, marketing strategies, strategic planning, research, patents, procurement registration and certification, and personnel management.

Social Marketing Strategy is among the new focuses the Center offers, helping businesses understand how websites, email marketing and traditional marketing are complimented by social media such a Twitter, FaceBook, and Google Apps and Maps.

Director since 2002 Randy has led the Center to levels of assistance not previously seen. Between 2007 and 2010 alone, the Center helped 88 new business startups, created or helped retain over 650 jobs, impacted sales with increases exceeding $24.8 million, and helped small business access over $32.3 million in loans or investment.

Under Randy’s direction, the Arizona Western College SBDC team, which includes Sandra Hernandez and Alan Pruitt, have built a legacy of excellence and a reputation for innovation and community involvement in Yuma, the surrounding area and among their peers throughout the state.

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Awards will be presented in a ceremony on May 5 beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Arizona Biltmore, located at 2400 East Missouri Avenue in Phoenix. For further event information or to register online for the event visit or call 602-306-4000.

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

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