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Debra Dudley of Oscarware Named Kentucky Small Businesses Person of the Year

Release Date: 
Friday, March 24, 2017
Release Number: 

KENTUCKY – Debra Dudley, President and Co-Founder of Oscarware, Inc. in Bonnieville, Kentucky, has been named the 2017 Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year.

A letter from SBA Administrator Linda McMahon to Ms. Dudley states, “Your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened Kentucky’s economy.” 

SBA Kentucky District Director Ralph Ross added, “This is a small, woman owned manufacturing company located in rural Kentucky. They have defied the trends and become a great success.”

Oscarware is a family-owned manufacturing business, founded in 1989 by Debra and Reg Dudley. They pioneered the concept of manufacturing outdoor cooking with a disposable product, revolutionizing the outdoor cooking experience. The company has expanded its product mix to include porcelain coated steel toppers. All products are made in in Bonnieville, a city of less than 300 people in central Kentucky. Oscarware is the only manufacturer that makes all of its “grill topper” products in the U.S.

 Oscarware has grown to 32 employees and distributes product across the U.S. The company now exports products to Canada and Europe with assistance from the SBA STEP exporting program.

Ms. Dudley was nominated for the award by Miller Slaughter, director of the Western Kentucky University SBDC. He worked closely with Oscarware to enhance operations and obtain an SBA loan to finance the company’s rapid growth.  

State and territorial winners across the U.S. have been invited to Washington, DC April 30-May 1 to receive their awards during National Small Business Week. The National Small Business Person of the Year, along with runners-up, will be recognized at that event. Last year, Dave Dafoe with Flavorman from Louisville was named a national runner-up.

SBA will also honor the following Kentucky entrepreneurs and advocates during Small Business Week:

The SBA Kentucky District Office and Kentucky SBDC will have a celebration on May 3rd in Frankfort.