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Seattle District Office Names Washington state's 2013 Small Business Person of the Year

Advisory Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Advisory Number: SDOPR 13-09
Release Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Related State:
Washington
Contact: Lorin Smith, (206) 553-7060, lorin.smith@sba.gov

SEATTLE – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2013 Washington state Small Business Person of the Year is Jill Blankenship, chief executive officer of Frontline Call Center in Eastsound, Washington. Her business is located on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Founded in 2005, the rural outsourcing call center provides a full array of telecommunications solutions and has grown to a multimillion dollar company employing more than 60 people across 12 states. 

Frontline has helped evolve the rural telecommunications/call center industry for rural island communities with limited access to the mainland thanks in part to several U.S. Small Business Administration 7 (a) loans. Nearly 10 percent of her sales are from export clients, allowing Blankenship the opportunity to branch out to new markets and hire more employees, making Frontline Call Center one of the three largest employers on Orcas Island with 14 full-time employees. “I am honored to be named the recipient of the 2013 SBA Washington state Small Business Person of the Year,” Blankenship said. “The support I have received from the SBA in loan and resources assistance has been vital to my business being a success.” 

From amongst her peers, the Seattle District Office has chosen Blankenship as an exemplary representative of the small business community in Washington state. “Jill Blankenship’s strong sense for innovation and ability to find the strategic competitive advantage in a rural community is a true testament to her being selected as the SBA Washington state Small Business Person of the Year,” said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings. “She has demonstrated an outstanding ability to respond to adversity while maintaining an active role in helping others within her community.” 

Blankenship devotes many hours each month supporting nonprofits in the San Juan Islands. She is the president of Orcas Angels, a local nonprofit that provides assistance for Islanders in crisis. This crisis relief support has delivered dinner to those in need, provided clothing and shelter to those fallen victim to house fires and built ramps for those who could not get into their own homes. “These angels are dedicated to the well-being and success of the residents and business owners of Orcas Island,” Blankenship said. 

“The SBA knows small business is America's most powerful engine of opportunity and economic growth and, through our annual awards program, we recognize outstanding small business leaders.  Jill Blankenship is an outstanding example of a smart, innovative and caring business leader,” said SBA Seattle District Director Nancy Porzio. 

When she’s not overseeing operations at the call center or working with non-profits, Blankenship mentors and advocates for startup organizations in the San Juan Islands. “I try to bring to light the challenges of residing in a rural location and overcoming the lack of access to resources and networking needed for success,” she said.  

Pulling on her professional background in company acquisitions focused on marketing, design, strategy and entrepreneurial spirit, she models the tenacity to complete projects within a managed budget. One such example is Tech for Success, a program that provides college-bound graduates with laptops and computer programs tailored to their area of study. 

Blankenship recently took home another prestigious award from the inContact User Conference (ICUC), where she was named their first Customer Excellence Award recipient. A repeat keynote speaker on the various inContact conferences, she provides education on the Remote Agents Model and Call Center Management as well. For more information about Blankenship and Frontline Call Center, call her at (888) 537-6685, email her at jill.blankenship@frontlinecallcenter.com or visit www.frontlinecallcenter.com

Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam will converge on Washington, D.C. in June, when one of them will be selected as the National Small Business Person of the Year during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s celebration of National Small Business Week, June 17-21.

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