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Idaho Firm Named National Minority Small Business Person of the Year; GSA and Kansas Company Also Take Top Awards

SBA Launches New Online Training Series for Small Businesses
Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 
Tiffani Clements (202) 401-0035

WASHINGTON – Kaleo Nawahine, a native Hawaiian and president of Performance Systems, Inc., an 8(a)-certified general contractor from Fruitland, Idaho, was named National Minority Small Business Person of the Year today by the U.S. Small Business Administration during the National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking and Awards event at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C.

Curt Koutelas, president and founder of Arrowhead Contracting, Inc. of Lenexa, Kan. received the 8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year award which recognizes 8(a) companies that have benefited from and exited the 8(a) program as intended by Congress and best exemplify the spirit and intent of the 8(a) program.  The General Services Administration received the Administrator’s Leadership award, which recognizes the recipient’s tireless efforts and unwavering commitment on behalf of the nation’s minority small business community at the event co-hosted by the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc, the National 8(a) Association and J.P. Morgan Chase, N.A.  

“The 8(a) program is one of the most effective tools we have to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities grow and succeed,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns. “Kaleo and Curt are a testament to how effective the program can be in supporting small business growth. At the SBA, we continue to develop and improve our programs, so that more small businesses, in more communities, have the access and opportunity they need to build successful businesses that create good jobs.”

Johns also announced the launch of an online pre-8(a) Business Development training series to help more small disadvantaged businesses gain access to SBA’s 8(a) Program.  “This is another step in the right direction towards expanding outreach to underserved and minority business communities and helping them gain access to business development training and access to federal contracting opportunities,” she said. 

The first two parts of the new multi-part training series consists of four self-paced online courses introducing prospective small disadvantaged businesses to the 8(a) Business Development Program.  The first course is a 30 minute tutorial with audio titled: Setting Expectations, which provides an overview of the 8(a) program, including eligibility requirements, step-by-step application instructions and a downloadable workbook.  The second course, Introduction to Federal Contracting, is a 40-minute tutorial describing programs and initiatives that help small businesses win government contracts, including government-wide goals, size standards, set-asides and contracting methods used by the government.  It also includes a downloadable workbook. 

The two remaining courses in the training series are scheduled to be released by the end of the year.  They will discuss marketing effectively to the government, business development, proposal writing, business and strategic planning and operational aspects of managing an 8(a) firm.  The new comprehensive Pre-8(a) Business Development Program Training Series is featured in SBA’s Government Contracting Classroom at:

Winners’ Biographies

National Minority Small Business Person of the Year

Kaleo Nawahine, a native Hawaiian is president of Performance Systems, of Fruitland, Idaho, and is certified in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Programs.  Some of its major contracts include projects at the Boise airport and construction of the West Boise Waste Water Treatment Plant. The company maintains offices in Washington and Hawaii with 78 employees.  Performance Systems was chosen from a group of 10 regional winners representing Massachusetts, New York, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, Missouri, California and Montana.

8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year

Curt Koutelas, is founder and president of Arrowhead Contracting , Inc. of Lenexa, Kan., a diversified construction contractor headquartered in metropolitan Kansas City. Established in 1990, the company has an impressive track record of continuous growth, diversification and stability. Arrowhead’s services include general construction, civil construction, remedial construction, homeland security services and facility operation and maintenance.  Some of its major projects include Department of Homeland Security projects such as: mass communication systems, level-5 bullet resistant window systems and cctv cabling, cameras, monitors and multiplexing systems.

For more information about the National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking, and Awards Ceremony, visit: and for more information about the SBA, visit