As president and CEO of T.E.M. Group, Inc., Tom Masterson has over 30 years of experience in all phases of the electrical industry. T.E.M. is an electric contracting company providing service in engineering, supply and electrical service maintenance of industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. Tom started T.E.M. in 1999 and worked out of his living room with operating capital from his personal savings. The company won its first major contract with UPS in Louisville for $300,000. Opportunities and revenue began to climb, and in two years, four employees grew to 30.
As the business grew, Tom took advantage of a number of U.S. Small Business Administration programs, including 8(a) and HUBZone certifications, and counseling from the Small Business Development Center, and he secured an SBA guaranteed loan. While SBA does not make direct loans to small businesses, the agency does offer a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses that have been specifically designed to meet key financing needs, including debt financing, surety bonds, and equity financing. SBA also works to ensure that federal government contracting opportunities are available to small businesses. The HUBZone and 8(a) certification programs are part of this effort.
T.E.M. was the first 8(a) certified and HUBZone certified business to serve as a subcontractor for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky. The company quickly earned the respect of the project construction management team by being capable and responsive. Tom and his company exceeded the expectations on the job site and set the standard for future opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses.
Tom took advantage of the management counseling offered by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center network and eventually became a guest speaker for some of their programs. The Kentucky SBDC program is partially funded by a cooperative with SBA. The SBDCs are focused on providing long-term counseling to clients to help them grow successful businesses.
Tom was named the SBA 2009 Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year. While addressing state Small Business Person of the Year award winners during Small Business Week, President Obama mentioned Tom by name in his speech. TEM has 50 employees now and recently moved to a larger location in Louisville. The company also has an office in Lexington, KY and is a graduate of the 8(a) program.
A native of Louisville, KY, Kena Samuels Stith is deeply rooted in her community. Kena obtained her accounting degree from the University of Louisville. In November 1999, with an accounting degree from the University of Louisville in hand, she opened SKS Accounting & Consulting Firm, Inc. Kena’s corporate office offers comprehensive accounting and consulting services, including loan packaging, payroll, management, bookkeeping, and tax services. She also has added several tax-focused locations in Louisville and in 2004 expanded with a payroll division called Payroll Network. The Pre-Loan Business Packaging Preparation Division has been expanded as well.
Kena’s vision was to offer more than the usual accounting business, especially in the form of service, including to underserved communities of Louisville. For example, while SKS was installing a POS terminal at a local restaurant, Kena realized the owner was short on help during a lunch rush. She helped wait on those hungry customers. While most accountants would not go to such lengths for their clients, Kena Samuels Stith’s business philosophy is based on going above and beyond. That is why she opened offices in underserved African-American and Low-to-Moderate income neighborhoods in Louisville. She also believes strongly in the team concept and supporting her employees.
SKS obtained a U. S. Small Business Administration loan through an SBA microlender. Kena now works with the SBA microlender in the region, volunteering her time and sharing her business knowledge with aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.
The SKS team has grown to 28 full and part time employees during tax season. Throughout this growth, the SBA has played an integral role. SKS expansions have been financed through four SBA guaranteed loans, and SKS has built a strong relationship with SBA and her bank, both of which continue to support SKS in its growth.
SKS has established itself as a company of excellence. A certified minority business enterprise (MBE), SKS was the recipient of the Kentucky Minority Business Council’s MBE Supplier of the Year Award, Class 1 for years 2005 and 2007. In June 2006, SKS Tax Service received the Preferred Tax Professional Award for the effort to provide the highest level of tax preparation along with e-filing and has ranked number 2 in the metro area’s top largest tax preparers in Business First for the past five years. In 2008, SKS was awarded an Inc.Credible Inc. Award by Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), the Louisville Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Kena has a solid commitment to the development and success of small, minority businesses. In October 2005, she was appointed as a member of the Gas System Restoration Project Review Board for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and holds dual positions: secretary and minority group consumer. Several years ago, she was a recipient of the Louisville Defender Newspaper’s Minority Business Achievement Award for outstanding commitment and excellence. Currently, she holds a position on the finance committee of GLI and is on the board of directors of the Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council, which serves Kentucky, Southern Indiana and West Virginia.
Being a visionary and having tremendous generosity, Kena is the founder of the Youth, Ethics and Skills Center, Inc. This non-profit organization is dedicated in helping disadvantaged youth recognize their potential as future leaders of Louisville.
She states “few people are given the opportunity to plant a seed and watch it grow.” Encouraging others to overcome business obstacles has proven to be extremely gratifying for her. Learn more about SKS on the web.
Mr. Donovan Wadsworth, founder of D&M Contracting, Inc., a military veteran, started the company in 2000, and, with his partner at the time, incorporated the business in 2004. Since then, the business has evolved into a full-service restoration company that provides fire, water and wind damage repair services for locally and nationally-owned insurance companies.
The innovativeness of their service and product offerings comes through both their unique specialty and their ability to provide excellent quality of work to many consumers. They employ state-of-the-art estimation software that not only produces accurate restoration estimates for customers but also contains the groundbreaking ability to produce 3-D aerial images of the anticipated finished work. Mr. Wadsworth built this business model as a way to not only offer this distinctive service but also to survive in such a challenging economy. They have received extremely positive feedback from clients.
D&M Contracting is accredited through the National Association of Home Builders, the Better Business Bureau and is certified with the Institute of Inspections, Cleaning, and Restoration. Mr. Wadsworth also was elected President of the Home Builders’ Association. Last year, the company received the award as “Small Business of the Year” from the Richmond, KY Chamber of Commerce, and this year Mr. Wadsworth was designated the 2012 SBA Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year.
Since its inception, D&M Contracting has enjoyed tremendous growth. In fact, they experienced a record-breaking year in 2009, increasing revenue by over 100% and have continued to grow at a rapid pace since then. D&M Contracting recently received a 7(a) SBA loan and is currently a client with the Eastern Kentucky University SBDC in Richmond.
D&M Contracting has also marked expansion through the hiring of more than 20 sub-contractors and five full-time employees. Including both contractors and employees, D&M Contracting has as many as 150 personnel on its payroll at any given time. Mr. Wadsworth has a vision to grow the business dramatically and is seeking additional guidance from the EKU SBDC for ways to manage that growth and maximize profit by using tools available through the SBDC and other small business resource partners, such as the Kentucky Procurement Assistance Program (KPAP), the Kentucky PTAC.
Management at D&M Contracting also believes in giving back, and the venture is heavily involved in the local community. The business is also Veteran-friendly. Aside from helping Military Veterans with all types of home modification needs through discounted contracting pricing, D&M supports a program that enables veterans to qualify for a $65,000 grant and a $6,800 grant to assist with Veterans’ home modification requirements.
Mr. and Mrs. Wadsworth have been involved in international mission work for many years and have been on mission trips to the Philippines, China, Romania, Nicaragua and Costa Rica as well as many locations across the U.S. You can find out more about D&M Contracting on the web.