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Thomas Douglas, owner of JMARK Business Solutions, Inc. in Springfield, was been named the 2013 Missouri Small Business Person of the Year. The company provides technology consulting services for small to medium sized businesses, and specializes in full-service computer network care.
JMARK Business Solutions was started in 1988 in Cabool, MO as a small computer service business. Ten years later, JMARK moved to Springfield, MO to better serve its expanding list of clients. After four years in the Navy, Tom joined JMARK in 1997 as a level-one engineer. In 2000, he became president of the small firm and eventually its majority owner. By 2007, JMARK had grown to 15 employees and sought to expand his company. In 2008, he bought out two local competitors, doubling his workforce. In 2012, Tom opened offices in Fayetteville, AR and Colorado Springs, CO. Today his company employs 63 people and has grown the company by more than ten times.
JMARK has received multiple awards. Most recently JMARK has been ranked as number 113 globally and number 90 in North America as a top managed service provider. Tom was also recognized as a Top Executive by Nine Lives Media in their Top 250 of global leaders which identifies the world’s top managed service provider experts, executives, entrepreneurs and community leaders. JMARK was among Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Privately Held Businesses for three years. JMARK was also recognized by MO Governor Nixon as a part of a Technology Jobs Growth program, and selected as the Rising Star of Entrepreneurship from the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center.
Ethel Taylor didn’t own a dog before she started the Doggie Washerette. “God gave me the vision to figure this all out,” Taylor said of her first stab at small business.
In the early spring of 2011 with the fully completed vision in her mind, Taylor got help from the DC Women’s Business Center, which is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. At the Center, she navigated the startup path, learned to “trim the fat” from her business plan, and prepared solidly for her opening day through projections and strategic planning. Despite being a first-time entrepreneur during a recession, Taylor finished the 7-week course in August of 2011 and opened her business that same month.
“My experience with the DC Women’s Business Center has been extraordinary,” she said. “The support has been outstanding. The information has been enlightening. The encouragement has been far beyond anything I could have imagined, especially with the presence of the members who attended the grand opening of the business. The staff of the DCWBC has truly embraced the vision of the Center, and exemplified as much by their personal commitment in helping me walk through a very challenging process to attain my goals. The hands-on support has made a tremendous difference in my getting to this point.”
“I will be forever grateful to my Councilmember Muriel Bowser for introducing me the DCWBC,” said Taylor. The shop is located on Georgia Avenue in the northwest quadrant of Washington, DC, bordering Silver Spring, MD. Though she didn’t need outside financing due to her frugal saving, she recognized that her business would run smoother if she prepared accurate cash flow projections.
The Doggie Washerette features two self-serve dog wash machines, which Taylor said cost about $18,000 each. They have various settings for different size dogs, and a dryer that Taylor said simulates hanging one’s head out the window—a favorite pastime of most dog breeds. Customers have full use of the facility that includes grooming tables, clippers, cologne, and a single wash with shampoo and conditioner all for $20.
Her marketing efforts enabled her to attract a large crowd for her grand opening. People could now see how she visualized her business―a bright and clean space where pet owners could bathe and groom their dogs. Her pricing schedule ensures that even on slow days that her variable costs are covered, so her next challenge is more marketing, and she’s moving along quickly with a Facebook page where customers can post comments.
She has been featured in many local newspapers, and is receiving 95 percent positive feedback from her social media outlets. She is also forming partnerships with other entrepreneurs in her field, such as Tabitha’s Pet Taxi, a DC van service that is animal-friendly, and MamiBears Pet Care.
As the business grows and changes, so has Taylor. She now has her grooming license and is available to give your pet a haircut. Taylor credits her success so far to the DC Women’s Business Center and SBA. “Even after opening the business, they have remained available to assist me,” she said.
Trust Automation of San Luis Obispo Selected for Central California 2013 Small Business Person of the Year Award
National Small Business Week June 17-21, 2013
San Luis Obispo, CA - The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Fresno District Office announced Ty and Trudie Safreno, owners of Trust Automation Inc. of San Luis Obispo, have been selected as the 2013 Central California Small Business Person of the Year.
An award reception and presentation for Trust Automation will be held on June 17th at 3:00 pm at the business headquarters location, 143 Suburban Road, Building 100, San Luis Obispo. For information regarding the award presentation, please contact Melende Ward at (559) 487-5791 X 2709.
Annually, SBA honors Central California entrepreneurs for their contributions to the economy. Small businesses have proven, year after year, to be the greatest sources of innovation, jobs and growth for California’s economy. Nominations are judged on seven basic criteria: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, current and past financial reports, innovativeness of product or service, response to adversity and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.
The Small Business Person of the Year award recognizes a business owner who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and honors his or her individual contributions to the community. Trust Automation was selected after a stringent competition held amongst businesses located throughout the 15 Central California counties. The Economic Vitality Corporation of San Luis Obispo nominated Trust Automation for the award.
"The Small Business Administration is very proud of the tremendous growth and success that Trust Automation has achieved. This company serves as a role model for other small business entrepreneurs,” said Carlos G. Mendoza, District Director for the Fresno SBA Office.
From humble beginnings, Trust Automation was founded in San Luis Obispo in 1990 by Ty and Trudie Safreno and started as a Motion/Machine control consulting company. Ty and Trudie are both alumni of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and over the years have guided and evolved the company with increased sales, hiring of additional employees and customer contracts and in 1996 moving from a very modest 3,000 square foot warehouse to the 49,500 square foot facility they occupy now.
Ty Safreno said, “In the early 1990's we focused on consulting and surviving. Long term goals and strategic planning with our trusted advisors and bank was not part of our daily or even monthly tasks. Thru the years your focus changes and you realize there is much more help available to small businesses than you thought.”
Fast forward to today and with the help of SBA financing, the business employs 63, operates out of their state of the art facility in San Luis Obispo and is a leader in the control of high precision electric motors and rugged power electronics. The high technology company offers a full array of services from base components for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM's) to designing and building entire sub-systems or machines from the ground up. Trust Automation has changed the overall functioning operation of many companies by designing state of the art electronics and software and providing next generation robotic platforms for industries worldwide including sales throughout the Northern Hemisphere, Europe and Asia.
“It is with great honor that the Board of Directors of the Economic Vitality Corporation congratulates Trust Automation on its 2013 Small Business of the Year award presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Its founders, Ty and Trudie Safreno, have worked hard to build a family-owned, small business that is the envy of many communities throughout the nation, while simultaneously raising a family, giving back to the community through non-profits, and growing a technology company. The company continues to thrive with its growing team of professionals and has become a model organization. On behalf of many in the community, we are grateful for the hard work and sacrifices that Ty and Trudie Safreno continue to make to help our local economy and their team,” said Mike Manchak President of the Economic Vitality Corporation.
“In 1990 we never would have imagined our business being this successful. We are blessed with an amazing, dedicated, creative, and fun team of people to work side by side with. We are very grateful for everyone’s hard work, and consequently Trust Automation has an envious set of customers, who continue to ask us to expand, because they have experienced the kind of Service, Support and Long Term Partnership we provide,” said Ty and Trudie Safreno.
For additional information:
Ty and Trudie Safreno, Owners
Trust Automation, Inc.
143 Suburban Road, Building 100
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Mike Manchak, President
Economic Vitality Corporation
735 Tank Farm Road, Suite 264
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Award presentation will begin at 3:00 on June 17th with tours of the company immediately following.