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North Florida District Office
7825 Baymeadows Way Suite 100B
Jacksonville, FL 32256
United States
Phone: (904)443-1900
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
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Retired Navy Captain is a Trailblazing Woman Encore Entrepreneur

Success Story: Barbara Stankowski

Orlando, FL – Barbara Stankowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMTIS, Inc. served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years before she decided to pursue her passion as an entrepreneur.  Captain Stankowski was the leader of a major command based out of Pensacola, FL and specialized in technology, education, and training. The same core competencies would later become the basis of a business model for AMTIS, Inc. The company provides services in four areas including Leadership and Development/Executive Coaching, Training and Evaluation, Professional Services, and Business Process Services.

After she retired from the U.S. Navy in 1998, Captain Stankowski worked for several small businesses; in 2007, she felt inspired to embrace a new challenge in her life, and launched her own company at the age of 58. “I felt I could do more. I wanted to set up a business model that engaged the whole team. As a lifelong student of leadership, I was enthusiastic about trying something different. I enjoy the autonomy of being self-employed,” stated Captain Stankowski.

Captain Stankowski is an “Encore Entrepreneur”, meaning she started a business after she was 50 years old. The SBA offers training and support to encore entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. For more information about SBA’s encore entrepreneurship programs, visit SBA’s Encore Entrepreneur Website.

Two years after AMTIS, Inc. was started, the company was certified as an 8(a) business serviced by the SBA North Florida District Office. 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. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets. For more information on 8(a) certification, visit SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Website.

Captain Stankowski’s acceptance in the 8(a) program changed the trajectory of the business from small to a rapidly growing enterprise. In 2012 she entered into a formal Mentor-Protégé partnership with HeiTech Services, Inc. based out of Landover, MD. Heidi Gerding, President/CEO of HeiTech Services, Inc. is also a U.S. Navy Veteran, a SBA 8(a) graduate and has become a trusted advisor for Captain Stankowski.  AMTIS, Inc. has benefited from this relationship because the mentoring entity has taken an active approach at helping the company grow, and introduced AMTIS, Inc. to new business concepts, worked with AMTIS to establish an SBA 8(a) approved Joint Venture and a new line of business, Business Process Services, the fourth component of their business model.

The goal of the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program is to enhance the capability of 8(a) Program Participants to be competitive, achieve entrepreneurial success, and contribute to the strength and vigor of the economy. 8(a) firms should consult with their SBA District Office Business Opportunity Specialist before applying for the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé program.

In September of 2013, the AMTIS-HeiTech Joint Venture was awarded its first contract a 5-year, $18.5 million 8(a) competitive contract through the Department of Health and Human Services supporting the Office of Minority Health. This was the largest contract award for AMTIS to date. AMTIS currently has over 80 employees located in 14 locations throughout the U.S., and is expecting to double the number of employees within the year. The company also has increased revenue each year since its inception, with a three year growth of 377%.

Captain Stankowski credits her entire staff, and in particular, Linda Albright, Chief Financial Officer, and Theresa Farmer, Vice President of Operations, in helping her grow the company to its current level. She offers a benefits package for her employees including health, dental, long and short-term disability and life insurance; a 401(k) program with at least a 2% match; and educational benefits.

When not working, Captain Stankowski volunteers her time informally mentoring other small businesses in the 8(a) program. She also supports the Wounded Warrior Project and other veteran-based organizations. The company sponsors several run/walk efforts throughout the year to raise money and awareness for veterans.

Captain Stankowski was most recently recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as one of 2014 Women Who Mean Business Award. She is one of eight Women Business Owners recognized this year. She was also recognized by the CEO Nexus, in collaboration with the Rollins Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship, Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Grow FL, for her fast growth and business development successes. The company was acknowledged in INC 500/5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2013, and as one of Florida’s Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2012.

Barbara Stankowski, Captain (US Navy, Ret.), President/CEO of AMTIS, Inc. may be contacted at 12124 High Tech Avenue, Suite 150, Orlando, FL 32817 or at (407) 513-9490. The company website is www.amtisinc.com.

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Fires, Industrial and Construction Pumps, and Small Business Success

Myers-Seth Pump Success Story

JACKSONVILLE, FL. – Teresa Myers, CEO of Myers-Seth Pump (MSP) has become highly successful in the male dominated world of industrial and construction pump manufacturing. Ms. Myers emigrated from Vietnam many years ago, and credits her current success to her entrepreneurial spirit.

Husband and wife team, Douglas and Teresa Myers jointly own and operate MSP. Mr. Myers started the company in 1991, and Ms. Myers joined the Company in 1997 as CEO. MSP both manufactures and is involved with the distribution of pumps and dewatering equipment throughout the United States and abroad. MSP increased its revenue by almost 20% when it started exporting pumps overseas. Prior to her experience at MSP, Ms. Myers worked as a Chief Financial Officer for another manufacturing based firm in Jacksonville, FL. Ms. Myers also owned a clothing design firm in Philadelphia, PA prior to her career in Jacksonville.

Ms. Myers is an “Encore Entrepreneur”, meaning she became involved with the business after she was 50 years old. The SBA offers training and support to encore entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. For more information about SBA’s encore entrepreneurship programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/50-entrepreneurs.

Ms. Myers credits much of her overall success to being a lifelong student of internal development. She attributes her current success with hard-work, customer focus, and also to the training she received as part of the e200 (now Emerging Leaders) program from the SBA.

The Emerging Leaders program is an intense series of courses provided by the SBA to help executives further develop their company through the execution of a strategic plan. Small business owners must apply to be part of the competitive program, and must also meet strict requirements to qualify. The Emerging Leaders program is available in select cities throughout the United States. For more information about the Emerging Leaders program, such as qualification requirements, visit www.sba.gov/emergingleaders.

Ms. Myers stated that “participating in the Emerging Leaders program gave me the most in-depth knowledge on how to effectively run a small business. I learned about structuring the business, profitability, planning, creating exit strategies, and scaling my business.”

Although the company is currently experiencing a great deal of growth, MSP has faced it share of challenges. As a manufacturer of industrial and construction pumps for mining and construction industries, MSP was also impacted by the economic crisis of 2009. Ms. Myers navigated through the recession by adding a pump rental division, providing training opportunities for her employees, and expanding the company’s outreach to other industries, such as the oil and gas industry, and International markets.  

Another challenge MSP faced was a set of fires that occurred both in the manufacturing building and to a company-owned truck in 2012. The fires occurred during MSP’s busiest production season. Ms. Myers’ leadership combined with the support of her devoted team of employees, allowed MSP to continue with very little interruption with their manufacturing business. In fact, most of MSP’s customers were not even aware that they had a major fire onsite at their facility.

Ms. Myers also participated in other SBA resource partner training and development programs through the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida. For more information about programs and services available through these resource partners, visit the JWBC website at www.jaxwbc.com or the SBDC at UNF’s website at www.sbdc.unf.edu.

For more information on MSP, please visit www.myersseth.com.

For more information on SBA’s Programs and Services, please visit www.sba.gov.

 

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Harold Biyett

From Mid-Level Manager to Highly Successful Business Owner

JACKSONVILLE, FL. - Harold Boyett, owner of Blue Streak Couriers, began his career in the delivery business at UPS when he was 18 years old. He worked his way up through many positions to a mid-level management position. While employed at UPS, he learned of Blue Streak Couriers, a same-day courier service that was an agent for UPS Sonic Air in Jacksonville, Florida. After much consideration and evaluation, Mr. Boyett took ownership of Blue Streak in 2005. Since his acquisition of the company, he has steadily created jobs and grown revenue approximately 500% over 8 years.

When Mr. Boyett purchased the business, he knew he would have some challenges ahead in terms of changing the business model. In October 2004, regulation was passed that allowed banks and credit unions to electronically process checks, whereas prior to that, courier services were heavily used to transport paper checks. Mr. Boyett quickly diversified the business to focus on transporting tangible products, including clinical lab work and supply distribution in the office products and healthcare industries. He also rapidly expanded the business from northeast Florida to all major markets in Florida by 2007.

In addition to rapidly growing the geographic territory of the business, Mr. Boyett also aggressively increased the number of jobs created in the community. Mr. Boyett has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as an “SBA 100” business. This distinction was given to 100 business owners across the country that created over 100 jobs in their industries. Blue Streak Couriers currently employs 43 full-time employees and contracts with over 200 microbusinesses to provide courier services.

Mr. Boyett began his transition from mid-level manager to successful business owner by working with SBA resource partner, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), in 2004, when he was first considering the purchase of Blue Streak. Since that time, he continues to work with Cathy Hagan, a Business Analyst at the SBDC, to evaluate opportunities for growth of the company and to manage this growth. The Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida provides management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. For more information, visit the SBDC at UNF’s website at www.sbdc.unf.edu.

Mr. Boyett initially received a 7(a) loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to fund the acquisition of Blue Streak and a subsequent SBA 504 loan to help finance the acquisition of two business condominiums to house the administrative operations of the company. The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses to obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. For more information on 7(a) loans, visit http://www.sba.gov/financialassistance, and for a list of SBA lenders in North Florida, please visit www.sba.gov/fl/north.

The SBA 504 loan program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire fixed assets (such as real estate or equipment) for expansion or modernization. It is designed for small businesses requiring “brick and mortar” financing, and is delivered by Certified Development Companies (CDCs, private, non-profit corporations set up to contribute to the economic development of their communities). For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/financialassistance.

Blue Streak Couriers has been recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal as one of the 50 fastest growing businesses in the area for three of the past four years. Mr. Boyett has also received recognition from industry-specific publications such as Courier Magazine.

In his spare time, Mr. Boyett supports the courier industry through his active participation in several organizations including the Florida State Messenger’s Association, the Customized Delivery and Logistics Association, and the Express Carriers Association. He also informally mentors other small business owners that have started their own local courier service. Lastly, he donates his time and expertise by speaking to the entrepreneurship class each semester at the University of North Florida where he shares his knowledge regarding his experience as an entrepreneur.

While his company’s growth is often attributed to the use of innovative technology to produce results for customers, Mr. Boyett insists that the key to his success is his focus on customer service and a sense of loyalty from those customers in return.

In addition to contributing his time to help other small business owners, Mr. Boyett also actively contributes to several local charities including Dreams Come True of Jacksonville and the Pulse Youth Center.

For more information on Blue Streak Couriers, please visit www.bluestreakcouriers.com.

For more information on SBA’s Programs and Services, please visit www.sba.gov.

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