When the recession hit Advanced Metal Components (AMC) Inc. three years ago, the company and its 130 employees in Swainsboro had a backlog of work to carry them forward for another 12 months or better.
However, Doug Brown, who took over the family-owned business in 1999, realized he would soon need new financing for fresh working capital, and to take the business to a new level of production to handle orders after the economy started to improve.
Brown, a graduate of Georgia Tech with a passion for engineering, would turn to Spivey State Bank in Swainsboro for an SBA guaranteed loan of $3.2 million. This loan, under the SBA’s 7(a) program, closed in March, 2011. It allowed Brown’s company to cut its debt service on several existing bank loans by half, thereby freeing up vital cash flow while providing $250,000 in new working capital to help weather the recession. At the same time, the loan saved dozens of good-paying jobs in rural Emanuel County, Georgia.
The Spivey Bank loan was also used to purchase a $500,000 computer controlled hydraulic, punch press machine with an automatic loan and unload system. “This machine drops the time it takes to cut each job by about 30 percent with its automatic load and unload feature,” said Brown. “Last year, we didn’t have the punching capacity to stay up with demand.”
When his parents started the business with two employees in 1977, the late Richard Brown and his wife Regina had very little fabrication equipment, basically a couple of old mechanical punch presses, a metal shear and a surface grinder.
But by 1981, the Browns were embarking on a major expansion of the company, adding state-of-the-art fabricating equipment with additional investments in training skilled operators. The company moved into a new 60,000 square foot industrial building in 1989 after at least four separate production improvements during that decade.
The company’s path of expansion would continue under their son, Doug Brown, who became AMC president in 2003. By this time, the company had grown into a much larger 127,000 square foot facility.
After he joined the company, Doug Brown would serve as Vice President of Sales and Engineering, helping to diversify and increased company sales. Later he became Vice President of Operations, managing personnel and the entire plant. After proving his management abilities, Brown bought out his mother’s interest in the company. His father, a well-respected businessman and community leader, unfortunately died in 1995 as a result of a plane crash.
Brown directs the company’s operations with the help of Danny Palmer, Director of Manufacturing.
Brown says the year 2009 and the first half of 2010 were very difficult for the company. By March of 2009, AMC employment had dropped to only 83 workers. But following Brown’s SBA-backed loan, employment and business have started to pick up substantially.
“Our loan was critical,” says Brown now with 150 employees. “It allowed us to keep going and add employees to gain new business.”
“Since January of 2011, our sales have shown a steady increase,” he continued. “Last August was a 56 percent increase over January of 2011 which was our best year ever.”
Brown credits Ryan Waldrop, a staff person with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, with steering him to a 7(a) bank loan as the best way to refinance his business. And since the loan was approved under the American Recovery and Investment Act, Brown was able to save over $100,000 in loan fees that were waived under the act. The Small Business Assistance Corporation, an SBA Certified Development Company in Savannah, packaged the AMC loan for Spivey Bank.
As a precision sheet metal fabricator, AMC offers contract manufacturing services to businesses in the industrial equipment, medical, refrigeration, mass transit, and telecommunications industries.
Doug Brown, President
Advanced Metal Components Inc.
720 Empire Expressway
Swainsboro, GA 30401
Fuego Mundo Restaurant gets First SBA Guaranteed Loan In Georgia, following Enactment of new American Recovery Act
—Provision on Eliminated Fees Saves Borrower some $12,000—
The Fuego Mundo Restaurant became the first small business in Georgia to receive an SBA guaranteed loan under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a 90 percent guarantee and no fees. The federal law provides $730 million to SBA and makes changes to the agency’s lending and investment programs so the agency can reach more small businesses that need help.
“We were already excited at the prospect of starting our new business concept,”said Masha Hleap-Hershkovitz, owner. “But with the benefits of this new SBA program to strengthen our business, we are even more optimistic at the prospects of success.”
Ms. Hershkovitz used a $550,000 SBA 7(a) loan from Signature Bank of Georgia to help finance her new, South American style wood-fire grill. It opened on June 5 at The Prado, a retail complex in Sandy Springs. She said the elimination of the loan fees totaled about $12,000, money she can now put back into her new venture.
“With the higher SBA guarantee, the lender risk was reduced,” added Terri Denison, SBA Georgia District Director. “The bank loan and SBA guarantee were approved in a matter of hours.”
Others who joined Denison at a special check presentation to Fuego Mundo included Burton Blackmar, Vice President of Signature Bank, and Eva Galambos, the Mayor of Sandy Springs. A native of Colombia, Hershkovitz closed on her loan from Signature Bank on April 2.
As of August 21, SBA has supported over $9 billion in small business lending, with the approval of $6.6 billion in loans since Feb. 17. Since the signing of the American Recovery Act, weekly loan dollar volume has risen more than 50 percent in the 7(a) and 504 programs, compared to the weekly average before passage of the act.
Fuego Mundo Restaurant
612 Perimeter Walk/The Prado
Atlanta, GA 30338
—Firm has Received six 8(a) Contracts for $9.8 Million—
Like many entrepreneurs, Sanquinetta Dover paid some dues before she returned to Atlanta in 1996 to start DoverStaffing Inc., a professional placement and project management firm that has grown to over 200 employees.
After graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta with a degree in Economics, she spent six years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in its bank liquidation division in Chicago and Midland, Texas. She later held several corporate sales positions in Chicago and spent over two years running her first small business, a wood pallet manufacturing firm in the Windy City.
Dover says she first learned about the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program in Chicago during the operation of her first small business. Her knowledge of the program would pay large dividends after DoverStaffing was certified as an 8(a) and Small Disadvantaged Business in 2003.
Since it was certified, DoverStaffing has received six contracts through the 8(a) program for a total of $9.8 million. The first of these contracts came in 2006 when the company was named the prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cotton Division to provide administrative staff and light industrial machine operators. Another 8(a) award calls for the company to be the prime contractor for the U.S. Army Reserve’s Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) program. This contract provides support and financial counselors nationwide to families of fallen soldiers.
The company’s latest contract was an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) award for the U.S. Department of Navy’s “SeaPort-e” program. SeaPort-e is the Navy’s electronic platform for acquiring support services in 22 functional areas including Engineering, financial Management and Program Management.
“These contracts have been very important in assisting the development of our company,” says Dover. “They have allowed us to gain valuable management performance that will position us to compete further in the private and public sector.”
There are other benefits to the 8(a) program besides having the opportunity to bid on sole-source and limited competition federal contracts. The nine-year program, limited to firms owned by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals, also offers management and technical assistance as well as counseling and monitoring services by staff located in SBA district offices.
When her company joined the 8(a) program, its employment level was about 75 people, according to Dover, a native of Greenwood, S.C. Besides its headquarters staff, the company now has employees based nationwide to handle additional contracts that include work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Looking to its graduation from 8(a) in 2012, Dover says her company is continually marketing its business to help sustain growth past its current portfolio of contracts.
Its marketing efforts recently paid off when DoverStaffing was one of one of six firms that were awarded contracts by the State of Georgia’s Department of Administrative Services to provide 1,000 temporary jobs to state agencies with federal stimulus funds.
To help with its development, Dover moved the company’s main office this year to a HUBZone located on Cleveland Avenue in Fulton County. The HUBZone program establishes preferences for federal contracts to small businesses located in “historically underutilized business zones.”
Dover says the positive influence of her parents, both educators, helped her reach many of her career goals. Her father earned a PhD degree before he became superintendent of schools in Greenwood County, S.C. “Managing money and living within my means are lessons are learned from my father,” she said.
DoverStaffing received the Atlanta Business League’s “Success Against the Odds” Award in 2005 and the Regional Director’s Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency in 2006.
Sanquinetta Dover, President/CEO
777 Cleveland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30315
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