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Team O’Neil Rally School of Dalton honored as the SBA 2013 New Hampshire Veteran Owned Business of the Year
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced they honored Team O’Neil Rally School of Dalton with the SBA 2013 New Hampshire Veteran Owned Business Award. Owner Tim O’Neil, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and five-time US and North American Rally Racing Champion was one of America’s brightest rally stars. At the height of his career with Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, O’Neil withdrew from the competition to follow his passion to teach.
He opened Team O’Neil Rally School in Dalton, New Hampshire, a car control and rally training facility. For the past 18 years business owner Tim O’Neil has trained thousands of everyday drivers, plus professional rally drivers, US government and private security personnel, in advanced car control, rally and winter driving techniques.
O’Neil got his hands dirty early in life at his family’s logging business in Whitefield, New Hampshire. In1977, he joined the United States Air Force and became a Fuel Systems Technician, maintaining F-111s at Canon Air Force Base in New Mexico. It was this experience that laid the groundwork for future success. According to O’Neil, "Working in the Air Force taught me a great deal about work ethic, discipline and pride in one’s work. It made me believe that I could achieve anything I set my mind to." In 1982, he returned to New Hampshire and worked at several car dealerships where he received factory training for a variety of makes. Soon he decided to go into business for himself and opened Franconia Service Center, a foreign car repair shop with 5 full-time employees.
At the same time he followed his passion for competitive driving and began a 15 year motorsports career in stock cars. He won rookie of the year honors in 1982, and was crowned Canada’s Novice of the Year in 1986. After winning the New England Division Championship in 1987, Tim was recruited to drive for Volkswagen and later Mitsubishi. O’Neil went on to win many individual and manufacturer championship events in the US and internationally.
O’Neil’s professional success in rallying led to another passion, driving instruction and coaching. He worked with a number of major automotive manufacturers to teach other drivers advanced driving techniques and introduce new products. He instructed more than 3,000 students at driving schools in the United States, England, Scotland, and Wales, developed the nationally recognized O’Neil Winter Driving Techniques, and coached many drivers to National Championships. His specialties included sport utility vehicle safety and survival programs.
In 1997 O’Neil and his wife Holly opened their driving school, Team O’Neil Rally School and Car Control Center, to teach rally and winter driving techniques. They started small with only a few cars and a small but dedicated staff of three. Within a few short years he was looking for more space. The location was a foregone conclusion: it had to be a place where the weather was as challenging as it was inspiring, the demands on the driver unrelenting, and the rewards of mastering the "art" of driving unmatched. A place where four season training was possible. The site for the school, the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, was a foregone conclusion.
So O’Neil sold his hugely successful auto maintenance business and purchased a 300 acre tract of land in Dalton. Along the way he consulted with SBA’s Small Business Development Center and took advantage of SBA’s Patriot Express loan program, which is designed to streamline financing for military veterans who are entrepreneurs. His business continued to grow by serving the needs of individuals, private security firms, and military for tactical driving techniques in various terrains. Plus he continued to train new generations of rally drivers.
By the summer of 2007, classes were so overbooked that he was turning away customers. O’Neil decided to develop another training area. With the support of TD Bank and NCIC he expanded the "North End" of his operation, hired more instructors, set up more cars for training and hired more mechanics. Today the company has grown into what many consider the premier all-season rally school in the US, employing some 26 people, including instructors, mechanics, operations, and administrative staff.
O’Neil said, "I’m proud to represent all the veterans who followed their dreams to start up their own business and I’m honored to be able to build a business on training security professionals and as times are changing to be able to offer the same type of training to people who are unable to get these skills elsewhere. We have steadily seen the trends change over the past 4 years and we have been working towards re-branding the company to appeal to the mainstream motorist."
SBA salutes Tim O’Neil for his service to our country, his storied driving career, and his success in transforming a passion for competitive driving into a successful business venture. Congratulations to Team O’Neil Rally School and Car Control Center, the SBA 2013 New Hampshire Veteran Owned Business of the Year.
Restaurateur Constantine Stavropoulos would be a good candidate to be the poster boy of SBA. Before starting Tryst in Adams Morgan in 1998, he did his homework at the small business development center at SBA’s old headquarters on Vermont Avenue. There he picked out materials on entrepreneurship, financing and how to write a business plan. Using a 7(a) loan he opened a coffeehouse/bar/lounge/restaurant. The business was so successfully, he launched The Diner (24/7 diner/bar) in Adams Morgan in 2001, Open City in 2005, Tryst at The Phillips in the spring of 2012 and The Coupe in the fall. For his latest venture, he made sure that his SBA loans included the air rights to the ground floor space in the building that houses his restaurant. The Coupe in Columbia Heights is open 'round the clock, every day.
“I am the No. 1 fan of the SBA 504 loan, which provides financing for major fixed assets such as equipment or real estate," he said. “I didn’t have to tie my personal assets to this loan.” In addition, he got a 7(a) loan for additional inventory and equipment.
“People love great food and adore coffee," he explained. "My goal is to be the best coffeehouse. Starbucks may have introduced people to the terms espressos and cappuccinos but we show them what they should really taste like."
"I would like to educate people about coffee and encourage others to open their own coffeehouses. The market for people who appreciated good coffee was small 15 years ago. As more people become coffee connoisseurs, the better the local coffee gets,” he said. The coffee, often made by award-winning baristas, is served with signature animal crackers.
Each of his restaurants has a unique name corresponding to the location. "The Coupe is a fun coffeehouse, bar and restaurant," he said. “It’s a play on words. For example, a chicken coop is something that holds everyone together. Coupe is also the name of the flat champagne glass and a French dessert plate. The Coupe is that third place where people can come relax and enjoy the place. You can use it as your own space to meet others or be by yourself. When we opened Tryst, people poured in. The Internet changed everyone’s working patterns and stretched the day to 24/7.”
What’s next for him? He employs more than 400 workers at his restaurants but is always looking for good workers. Because he can’t find the skilled labor he needs for his restaurants, he’s thinking of creating a training school to teach workers how to be line cooks and servers.
The Coupe’s Executive Chef Rob Theriot and restaurant owner Constantine Stavropoulos at the Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C., restaurant.
SBA’s 2013 National Small Business Exporter Of Year for Eastern Penn., Mid-Atlantic Region and Nation
Zeigler Bros., Inc.: SBA Programs Lead To Innovation, Exports
U.S. Small Business Administration Philadelphia District Director David Dickson, Matthew P. Zeigler and Timothy M. Zeigler with Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho.
Recognized as SBA’s Eastern Pa., Mid-Atlantic Region and National 2013 Small Business Exporter of the Year, Zeigler Bros., Inc. knows the importance of exporting to its bottom line and the usefulness of SBA programs and
resource partners in reaching those markets.
Now in its third generation of family-owned leadership with Dr. Thomas R., Timothy M. and Matthew P. Zeigler, the company, founded in 1935, continues to develop new and innovative technologies for specialty feed, focusing on aquaculture, pet, zoo and laboratory animal feed for bio-medical research.
“Zeigler Bros., Inc. has worked with the SBA and Kutztown SBDC for more than 16 years for assistance in areas as diverse as trade barrier issues to export finance resources, market analysis and even translation of some of our literature into Turkish,” said Timothy Zeigler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We have enjoyed and benefitted from our partnership with them and hope to continue many years into the future.”
The firm’s East Berlin, Pa. facility manufactures more than 300 products and exports to over 40 countries around the world. Funding through SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research grant helped the company study the nutritional requirements of newly hatched marine finfish while exploring creative manufacturing methods for live feeds.
“Ziegler Bros. has skillfully utilized public services to support its export effort and research efforts, relying on US Export Import Bank insurance to cover cross border risks, SBIR grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Center For Trade Development grants and the Market Access Grant program of Food Export USA,” said Martin Brill, Kutztown University Small Business Development Center’s Program Manager for International Trade. “Based on more than 16 years of working with them, I am honored to have nominated them and proud to see them recognized as Exporter of the Year.”
SBA plays an important role as the coordinating agency for the SBIR program. It directs the 11 agencies' implementation of SBIR, reviews their progress, and reports annually to Congress on its operation. SBA is also the information link to SBIR. SBA collects solicitation information from all participating agencies and publishes it quarterly in a single source for the topics and anticipated release and closing dates for each agency's solicitations. For more information on the SBIR Program, please visit http://www.sbir.gov
SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania small business awards, including “Small Business Exporter of the Year,” are awarded to a nominee in Pennsylvania’s eastern 40 counties, while regional winners are selected from the seven districts across the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. National award winners are selected from the regional winners from across the country. These events are local observances of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy.
"This has been a great year for the region for exporting and it’s an honor to recognize the accomplishments of our small business communities,” said Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho at SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania “SBA Day at the Ballpark” Small Business Week awards event on June 5, 2013. “Zeigler Bros. is an excellent example, having also won on the national level, of a small business that succeeds and remains competitive in a global market.”