Logical Innovations, Inc. is an SBA-certified 8(a)/Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Woman-Owned and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB, EDWOSB) providing technical and business support services to the federal government and energy industry, owned and operated by Denise Navarro. Growing up in Galveston County, Navarro, not surprisingly, had the goal of one day being a member of the NASA community. She has worked for several companies and has enjoyed supporting NASA and other federal agencies since 1984. In 1999, based on a recommendation from a commercial client (and friend) she supported as an independent consultant (and still supports today), Navarro decided to incorporate Logical Innovations, Inc., but continued to work full time.
Navarro spent seven years researching all the steps and requirements necessary to become a successful company before taking the company fully operational in 2006. To enhance her knowledge, she attended some training courses and forums at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a resource partner of the SBA. To further support her decision, she enlisted the support of family and friends, many of whom she relies on for continued motivation and strength. She was fortunate to call owners of other small businesses her friends, mentors and teaming partners as she began and continues this chapter of her life.
Logical Innovations started with one employee, Navarro. She began on day one with a subcontract from her former employer and mentor, Virginia-based INDUS Corporation, to support NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Eight months after working on her own, she expanded the subcontract and hired more employees to support the expanded effort. Logical Innovations quickly grew to 20+ employees and associates, and is proud to now include NASA at the Johnson Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center among her clients. Having worked with several companies who have been certified in the SBA 8(a) business development program, Navarro decided to certify her company also. The 8(a) program provides business development assistance to eligible firms in a structured developmental process over a nine-year program participation term. Upon completion of the application, she was contacted by the Houston District Office regarding the required orientation scheduled thirty days later. Anxious and ready to get started, she requested an earlier orientation. The business development specialist was able to accommodate her request and Navarro was ecstatic.
In September 2009, Logical Innovations received their first prime 8(a) contract from the US Census Bureau, to support the 2010 Census by working with the local governments to validate their Census data, and building and maintaining a management information system. This contract allowed Navarro to further expand by hiring an additional twenty employees and associates. Navarro considers her employees her greatest asset. “I have great employees, some who have been with me since the beginning. I really appreciate my “pioneers” who have been through the growing pains with me, and helped Logical Innovations to become a better company. They are the people in the field who are building a great reputation for my company,” said Navarro. As a small business owner, she expanded and hired cautiously because she wanted to be able to provide all her employees with full benefits, offering medical, dental, vision, and a 401K with matching funds. “I never want my employees to feel they are at a disadvantage for working with a small company,” said Navarro. Logical Innovations has been able to consistently improve their total compensation package for their employees, a “significant strength” cited by a current federal client. Logical Innovations continues to aggressively pursue opportunities throughout the federal government, as a prime and a teaming partner, expanding across multiple agencies. Just this year, Logical Innovations was awarded a prime 8(a) effort with NASA/Johnson Space Center, and the Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks (eFAST) Contract.
Logical Innovations is headquartered in Houston, Texas with satellite offices in Southern California and the Washington D.C. metro area. They’ve been fortunate and have not seen any repercussions from the economy. Logical Innovations’ ability to remain responsive and flexible for its clients, in addition to dedicated employees and Navarro’s passion and personal commitment to clients, which she considers her advantage in the competitive federal contracting environment, has helped her revenues grow every year.
For more information about Logical Innovations, Inc. visit their website at http://www.logical-i2.com call them at 281.990.8560.
Gwen and Billy Craig are the owners of Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring, Texas, near The Woodlands. With the help of a 504 program loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the RV Park opened in 2005 and is a beautiful 27 acre landscaped park offering 115 sites and fully furnished cottages.
Billy is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Prior to developing the RV resort, he was co-owner of a family A/C business for 29 years and a developer of a storage facility business. Both Gwen and Billy work at the resort and have eight employees. In 1998 they purchased an old timber site and while they researched and put together their business plans, they also waited for the construction of the Woodlands Waterway to be complete. Their location near The Woodlands allows them to offer their guests off-site attractions and activities at The Woodlands Mall, Market Street, which is lined with shops and diving venues, the Cynthia Mitchell Pavilion, a popular concert venue, and the Waterway providing water taxis service. Other nearby attractions include Old Town Spring, Splashtown Water Park and Lake Conroe.
Although the RV Park is conveniently located to many local attractions, guests never have to leave the resort to enjoy their stay. Rayford Crossing offers many on site amenities, including a heated swimming pool and spa, pet park and dog boardwalk, two playgrounds with shuffleboard courts and horseshoe pits, free wi-fi, walking trails, stocked ponds, clubhouse, exercise facilities, library, cable television and game room. The streets and RV sites are concrete for convenient access and all the sites have 30/50 amp service and full hookups. Rayford Crossing RV Resort has been awarded a perfect rating from Trailer Life (10/10/10) and Woodalls (5W/5W); organizations that rate private parks across the nation. In addition, they recently received the Texas Campground Medium Park of the Year Award.
Gwen and Billy designed the resort with their guests in mind, creating a family atmosphere. “We wanted to create a place where families can come together and bond,” said Gwen. Once a month during the summer, they offer themed weekends for their guests that includes an endless array of activities, crafts, music and other organized activities. During the winter months, they cater to the Winter Texans and the park is bustling with daily on-site activities for adults of all ages as well as off-site planned activities such as cruises and casino trips.
In 2008, they opened another RV park in Magnolia, Texas, Timber Ridge RV Village, offering a more rustic environment. With their busy schedules of owning two RV parks, they still make time to assist with local charities such as CASA (Court Appointed Child Advocates), American Heart Association, and Interfaith food pantry. Gwen is also a sitting member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Campground Owners.
The Baker’s Dozen Kolaches and Donuts is owned and operated by Laura Auhing. With the help of her husband Rick, Laura opened the neighborhood donut shop at 23933 Nichols Sawmill Rd. Hockley, TX 77447, in February, 2008.
The stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur stumbled on the donut industry by accident. In 2001, while looking for a temporary part time job to make a little vacation spending money, Laura noticed an advertisement of a donut shop opening in her neighborhood. She stopped by and applied and when asked what type of experience she had in the food industry, Laura admitted to no food or retail experience. She didn’t know how to bake, cook, or work the register, but was eager and willing to learn. Laura was hired and worked for six weeks, the only amount of time she was able to commit. She learned a lot about the business in the short time she worked there and was asked to come back to work when she returned from vacation. Laura initially agreed to return for only six more weeks but ended up staying on longer. Shortly after returning to work, she met the owner who took her on a journey of a lifetime. The owner continued to expand the business and took Laura with her to open new stores. Laura shadowed her and learned everything about opening new stores including licenses, permits, production, inventory, and operations. The six week agreement turned into six years. It was during this time that Laura met her husband Rick and they married in 2002.
In 2007 when her boss sold most of the stores and retired, Laura decided to open her own donut shop. Around the same time Rick’s company was moving out of town and he opted to retire and invest his savings into their new family business. Understanding the importance of a good business plan, they immediately got started and sought assistance from the Fort Bend Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Missouri City. Laura & Rick attended a workshop at the Fort Bend SBDC presented by SBA Business Development Specialist Sonia Maldonado. SBDC consultant Jesus Gomez and program coordinator Christine Collins helped Laura fine tune her business plan. “The SBA and SBDC were extremely helpful. Jesus, Christine and Sonia were very helpful and provided me with a lot of useful information,” said Laura. Equipped with the knowledge, skills, and a good business plan, Laura and Rick were ready for their next step, getting a bank loan. They were approved for an SBA community express program loan for $50,000 through Borrego Springs Bank.
“Starting and running a business is hard work. Allow a lot of time to prepare a good business plan and invest in a business that you know really well,” advised Rick. Both Rick and Laura are hands on business owners and are involved in the daily operations. With that comes a sacrifice of family time. Although their daughters Briana & Jovanna come out to help sometimes on the weekends, they haven’t taken a family vacation together since they’ve been open. Laura already has her goals set on a new venture. She wants to eventually own a shopping center so that she doesn’t have to work the long hours at the donut shop and have more time for family.
Laura & Rick recall how hard they worked the first year. In addition to the grand opening, Hurricane Ike also made 2008 a very memorable year for them. In September when the media warned the locals of Hurricane Ike, Rick and Laura heeded all the warnings and prepared for the storm. They purchased a generator and double ordered everything for the store. On the day the hurricane came onto the Texas shore, they doubled their production and moved into the store. Many people in the area lost power overnight and the next morning people were knocking on their doors at 5am. They made donuts round the clock and stayed at the store for two weeks. They were tired and exhausted but continued to stay open to help their community. Their hard work paid off when their sales exceeded their projections in the first year. These two business savvy owners buy everything in cash and when the recession hit they were able to adjust without much difficulty.
In early 2011, Rick and Laura were ready to start a second location and once again sought the help of the Ft. Bend County SBDC. In August 2011, Rick and Laura opened their second location in Magnolia, Texas with another SBA loan through Members Choice Credit Union.
For more information on The Baker’s Dozen, visit one of their locations at 23933 Nichols Sawmill Rd. in Hockley, Texas or at 30326 Nicholls Sawmill Rd., Ste. 101 in Magnolia, Texas. You can also find them on Facebook under Baker’s Dozen. More information about the SBA and SBDC’s programs and service can be found at www.sba.gov and www.sbdc.uh.edu.