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Bothell Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Named 2017 SBA Seattle District Small Business Advocate of the Year

Jennifer Warmke Takes Top Honors, Celebration to Recognize All Local SBA Award Winners May 2
Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Contact: 
Lisa White lisa.white@sba.gov (206) 553-7050

SEATTLE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2017 Seattle District Small Business Advocate of the Year is Jennifer Warmke, an emergency preparedness coordinator at the City of Bothell.

The SBA Small Business Advocate Award is awarded to those who advocate and promote small business above and beyond the call of their professional duties and responsibilities.

On July 22 of last year, a structure fire broke out in downtown Bothell. The Bothell Mall, a small retail mall which housed approximately 22 businesses, was destroyed in the fire and several more adjacent businesses were affected by the water damage during the firefighting efforts.

Just two days after the fire response, Warmke was in touch with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s office, Governor Jay Inslee’s office, King County, Snohomish County and others to ensure the area was officially declared a disaster so the business owners could qualify for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

“SBA disaster recovery loans are a powerful tool to help small businesses and communities recover in the wake of a disaster,” SBA Seattle District Director Kerrie Hurd said. “Jennifer has gone above and beyond in her role as emergency preparedness coordinator to help these business owners gain access to the SBA disaster recovery loans, and our office is proud to honor her selfless contributions as the SBA Seattle District Small Business Advocate of the year.”

Less than a week after the fire, Warmke coordinated with the local chamber of commerce to organize a block party to support the employees and owners of the affected businesses. This event was a huge success in raising funds to help those affected, and to help the community rally around the people who suffered significant losses.

Warmke was asked to lead the city’s Business Assistance and Recovery Team to assist downtown merchants with the post-fire issues. In this role she personally worked with the businesses to help them complete the physical and economic loss paperwork, which was well beyond the scope of her normal duties.

“It’s quite the honor to be awarded,” Warmke said. “I think it’s important that you go the extra mile and help people, even if it’s just being a shoulder to cry on. I am incredibly proud of the community and how they came together to rally around the businesses affected. It’s what makes Bothell a great place to live in and do business in.”

Throughout this still on-going recovery, Warmke has been an important contact to these small businesses as both a public official and a sympathetic ear and resource. She is currently planning a one-year remembrance memorial.

As a result of her outstanding efforts to go above and beyond to assist these business owners in recovering, Warmke was recently nominated for an SBA Phoenix Award for outstanding contributions to disaster recovery by Acting City Manager Peter Troedsson.

“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact small business has on our country,” Hurd said. “It’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated, hard-working small business owners and advocates who are making a difference in our local communities.”

A celebration honoring local SBA winners from Washington and the SBA Seattle District – which serves Washington and northern Idaho – will be May 2. Other SBA local awards that will be recognized at the celebration include Small Business Person of the Year, 8(a) Graduate of the Year, Exporter of the Year, Encore Entrepreneur, Family-Owned Small Business of the Year and Financial Services Advocate of the Year.

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.

This year, National Small Business Week is April 30-May 6. For more information about National Small Business Week, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.          

About the SBA Seattle District Office:

The SBA Seattle District serves the state of Washington and northern Idaho with locations in Seattle and Spokane, Washington. SBA Seattle District staff provide resources and services in three areas referred to as “the three C’s” – counseling, capital and contracting. Visit www.sba.gov/wa for more information including resource partners, lenders, workshops, success stories and other resources to help business start, grow and succeed.

 

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