Fort Walton Beach, FL --- Margarita Howard is the Founder and President/CEO of HX5, LLC, a U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) and HUBzone certified company. HX5 provides professional research and development, engineering, and information technology services to U.S. Defense agencies.
Ms. Howard launched HX5, LLC in 2004 after a 20-year career in executive management positions throughout various organizations that supported the Defense industry. She also used the experience she gained in the U.S. Air Force to develop critical skills such as leadership and discipline to grow her business. Ms. Howard established HX5 with the knowledge of the value of SBA business development programs and pursuing federal contracting opportunities.
In late 2007 and early 2008, HX5 was certified both as an 8(a) and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) firm. The 8(a) Business Development Program is an important resource for small businesses seeking business-development assistance. Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. For more information on 8(a) certification, please visit http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development-0. The HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. For more information on HUBZone certification, please visit http://www.sba.gov/hubzone/.
Shortly after obtaining its 8(a) certification, HX5 received its first 8(a) government contract award, a $3.5 million contract to provide research and development support services to the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, MS, the Army Corps of Engineers’ premier R&D organization. Within weeks of the 8(a) award, HX5 faced limited credit and lending options as a result of the economic recession happening at the time. The Company was in need of credit to sustain its operations. Despite the challenging environment, Ms. Howard was able to leverage an SBA guaranteed Patriot Express loan in the amount of $350,000 to ensure sufficient working capital was in place for HX5. The company has since repaid the loan. More information about SBA lending programs may be obtained through http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants.
Ms. Howard recently stated “SBA Staff at the Jacksonville District Office and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Offices in Pensacola, FL have provided immeasurable support in many ways. They helped us understand and successfully navigate the myriad small business laws and regulations, which minimized missteps and reduced our business costs. They clearly explained small business issues, so we understood the concepts behind the whole process. And they showed us how small business programs such as Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Woman Owned Business, Veteran-Owned Business, and HUBZone initiatives are administered, which helped us maximize our participation. In short, they helped us succeed.”
HX5 entered into the 8(a) business development program with 3 fulltime employees, 4 part time employees, and $400,000 in projected annual revenue. The Company currently employs 180+ employees across 35 states, and ended the 2012 Fiscal Year with $24 million in revenue.
Ms. Howard has been recognized for her job creation achievements by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the SBA 100 list, which lauds small business owners across the Country who have created over 100 jobs after receiving SBA assistance. Additionally, Ms. Howard was the 2012 North Florida District and Region IV Minority Small Business Person of the Year.
In addition to her time dedicated to growing her business, Ms. Howard is also committed to the community through associations such as the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Associations, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House, the Mobile Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, and to her local church. Ms. Howard has also served as a Board Member in the Business Leadership Network for Persons with Disabilities. Most recently, Ms. Howard supported the American Cancer Society (ACS) Rack Pack Relay for Life Program, with HX5 being the premiere corporate sponsor of the ACS Wall of Hope.
For more information about HX5, LLC, please visit www.hxfive.com or call (850) 362-6551.