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Gulfport Branch Office
Hancock Bank Plaza 2510 14th Street, Suite 103
Gulfport, MS 39501
United States
Phone: 228-863-4449
Fax: 228-864-0179

Restaurateur Uses SBA/ARRA to Enhance Business

Restaurateur Uses SBA/ARRA to Enhance Business

Ever wonder how often Americans eat out as a family?  According to surveys conducted by the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, three quarters of American's eat out at least once a week.

It’s not a statistic most people give much attention to, but it’s vital information for those working in the restaurant sector like Arellano Mariano, owner of La Fiesta Brava located in Hattiesburg, MS. 

Mariano desperately needed to make a change that would enable him to meet that demand.  “I was in the last year of my lease when I found this great property nearby that provided more square footage,” he said.  “Even better, the asking price on the building would have provided me a lower debt to service the loan than the leased property.”

On July 30, 2009, Mariano received a $1,666,600 7(a) loan from Community Bank of Ellisville guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).  The American’s Recovery Act signed by president Obama on February 17, 2009 enabled SBA to increase the guaranty from 75% to 90% and eliminate the guaranty fee.  “Those provisions were significant in incentivizing more lenders to participate in the program,” said SBA Director Janita Stewart.

In addition, the elimination of fees saved Mariano approximately $53,000 in guaranty loan fees on his project.  “This worked out wonderfully for us,” said Mariano.  His restaurant is now conveniently located across from the University of Southern Mississippi where he can tap into the thousands of attending students.  He also can take on special accommodations for larger groups and parties unlike before due to the new facility's increased seating capacity.

La Fiesta features authentic Mexican food, great service and a fun dining experience.  “Our accent is in the taste,” said Mariano.  “Our time-honored traditions and recipes have been passed down through generations and can be savored in every dish.”  Mariano also holds a Cinco De Mayo festival outside his facility each year.

“We have done a lot of improvements to the restaurant and business is growing daily,” said Mariano.

La Fiesta is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information on SBA’s loan programs, go to the Mississippi SBA website at

Arellano Mariano, Owner

La Fiesta Brava Mexican Restaurant of Hattiesburg, Inc.

6168 Hwy 49 N.

Hattiesburg, MS  39402

Ph.: (601) 584-9484

John D, Calhoun, CEO of IMS Engineering

CEO's Efforts Integral in the Success of his Firm and Community

How does one go from meager beginnings to being CEO of a multi-million dollar firm and named as a Champion for Change by the White House?

The story of John Calhoun, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Management Services (IMS) located in Jackson, Mississippi, is that of the classic entrepreneur overcoming hardship through intellect and a strong work ethic.  His entrepreneurial drive began early when he, at the age of 12, mowed lawns with his older brothers for their business.

In February 1996, he and Rod Hill founded IMS, a full-service consulting, engineering, emergency response, management and operations firm helping public and private clients improve the environment and infrastructure.  However, he was no overnight success story.  Prior to starting IMS, he and Rod had two businesses that – in their words – “failed miserably”. They learned from the obstacles and stumbling blocks and successfully started IMS Engineers.

Since its inception, the firm has grown from a two person staff to more than three hundred and the multi-million dollar operation is one of the largest minority-owned engineering firms in the nation.  “Our number one goal is to provide the best services possible - every opportunity we get,” said Calhoun.

In 2006, IMS was named to the prestigious Inc. 500 list as one of America’s fastest growing companies for the fourth straight year.  That year, IMS ranked 449th in the nation with a 3-year sales growth of 330.1%.  IMS was also named to the 2007 Inc. 5000, the first ever list of the 5,000 fastest-growing businesses in the country with a rank of 833rd and a three-year sales growth of 414.1%.  IMS was also ranked 30th on the 2008 Inner City 100 Award for the fastest growing inner-city businesses in the U.S. for the fourth straight year.

IMS Engineers is a Small Business Program 8(a) graduate and holds multiple MBE certifications with state and local municipalities; and has acquired and executed contracts throughout the United States.  While participating in the 8(a) program, IMS garnered several contracts to include an 8(a) Set-Aside IDIQ Construction Contract worth $281,000 to a $20 million small business set-aside contract for debris monitoring and quality assurance aervices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

SBA’s 8(a) Program is an essential instrument that helps firms that are majority owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain access to government contracting and premier business development tools.  Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.

Calhoun is a product of the Jackson Public Schools and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Memphis State University. He received an MBA from Jackson State University - and a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.

Through his 8(a) certification, SBA sponsored his completion of post-doctoral executive education studies at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the Center for Closely Held Firms of the Sellinger School of Loyola University, and the University of Texas.

Prior to founding IMS Engineers, Calhoun taught Strategic Management and Human Resources classes full-time at Jackson State University.  For the past several years, he has taught graduate students in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Professional Development - in the College of Business. He has also served on multiple business and community Boards and Commissions including that of Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Jackson where he was the chief architect of the Metro Jackson Housing Partnership and the Jackson Hinds MINCAP fund, an institution that lends millions of dollars to minority businesses in the Jackson Metro Area.

Calhoun received his award as the Mississippi SBA’s 2011 Small Business Person during a ceremony in Jackson, MS on June 14, 2011.  He was judged on his company's staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, current and past financial reports, innovations of product or service, response to adversity and contributions to aid the community.

For more information about SBA’s procurement related programs and services, contact the Mississippi District Office in Jackson at (601) 965-4378, the Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit the Mississippi SBA website at

Small Business Person
IMS Engineers
John D. Calhoun, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer
126 East Amite Street
Jackson, MS 39201

Anderson’s Secret to Success is Managing Her Firm like Family

Anderson’s Secret to Success is Managing Her Firm like Family

Those who know Meredith Smith Anderson are probably not surprised at her selection as the U. S. Small Business Administration's Prime Contractor of the Year for Region IV. As Managing Member of Can’t Be Beat Fence & Construction, LLC, Anderson has led the limited liability company to stability and multi-state growth.  Established in 1982, the company provides wood, vinyl, chain link, and cable barrier fencing to residential, commercial, and governmental entities.

Anderson sort of backed into the fencing business. She married Lloyd Anderson who for years managed Pit Grills on the Coast while working in his uncle's residential fencing business on weekends. Meredith started helping him and they picked up jobs while her grandmother helped with the couple's four children, Olen, Davy, Vicky and Dusty.  "That was in the 1970s and those were tough times”, she said.   “We grew the business from residential to commercial fencing when the casinos came to the Gulf Coast.”  The next phase was government subcontracting work through the Roy Anderson Corporation.

Led by Meredith Anderson, Managing Member, Can’t Be Beat has grown exponentially. The firm is certified as HUBZone, 8(a) and a Small Disadvantaged Business. It holds certifications with the Department of Transportation and Women’s Business Enterprise; is accredited with the Better Business Bureau; and has garnered contracts throughout the nation. Since October 2010, Anderson has successfully bid contracts ranging from $3.5 million for a demolition project at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fl to $12.1 million for a construction project in Great Lakes, Illinois.

The firm’s main office is located in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi with other office locations in Perkinston, Mississippi; Orange Park, Florida; and Odon, Indiana.

The SBA’s Prime Contractor of the Year regional award is given to a small business that provides outstanding goods and services as a prime contractor to the government and private sector.  Anderson competed against other prime contracting firms in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee to acquire the Southeast region’s prime contractor of the year award.  In May 2011, she traveled to SBA’s National Small Business Week Award celebration in Washington, D.C. to accept the regional award and compete against other regional winners from around the country for the National Prime Contractor award. She was also recognized and received an award during the Mississippi SBA’s 2011 Small Business Award Reception in Jackson, MS on June 14, 2011. 

Anderson was nominated for the regional award by Marcia McDowell, Director of the South Mississippi Contract Procurement Center in Biloxi, MS and Delores Butler, Acquisitions Branch Manager of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast in Jacksonville, FL.

For information regarding SBA’s 8(a), HUBZone and other certification programs or small business awards, contact the Mississippi District Office at (601) 965-4378, Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit our website at

SBA Region IV Prime Contractor
Meredith Anderson, Owner
Can’t Be Beat Construction, LLC
1020 Old Spanish Trail
Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520
(228) 467-3300

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