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SBA Administrator Honors Nation’s Top Small Businesses; Homestead Business Wins for the State of Florida

Winners to be formally recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 30 – May 1
Release Date: 
Friday, March 17, 2017
Release Number: 
S. FL 17-04
Heather Hines (305) 536-5521 x104
WASHINGTON – Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced yesterday this year’s Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All of the winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on April 30 – May 1 where they will be honored with their individual award along with recognition of the three runners-up and the naming of the 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year. 
“It is my honor and distinct pleasure to announce the 54 winners from across the U.S. and its territories,” McMahon said. “These small business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine for today’s economy. I look forward to welcoming the winners to Washington next month when they are officially honored for their achievements.”
Paul Murrow, president of South Dade Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (SDAC) with offices in both Homestead, Florida and Selma, Alabama, was named the 2017 Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida and the South Florida District.
“I’m pleased to join the Administrator recognizing South Dade Air’s President as this year’s Small Business Person of the Year for the sunshine state,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “Paul is an accomplished small business owner who has capitalized on numerous SBA programs and capital-access services.”
As an aspiring entrepreneur, Morrow began his career in air conditioning and refrigeration repair and service following an unexpected return home due to injuries sustained while serving in the U.S. Army.  After launching SDAC-Homestead in June 1985 and experiencing a steady growth in South Florida, he decided to follow his heart and return to his hometown and open a second office in Selma, Alabama.
SDAC is 8(a) and Veteran Health Administration-certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB); with both Florida and Alabama offices certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and the Alabama office operates in a certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone location.
Under the agency’s 8(a) Program; small, disadvantaged businesses are provided a broad scope of business development assistance ranging from specialized business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development provided by the SBA and authorized resource partners.
Much of the company’s early-on expansion and capital access was obtained following an SBA loan obtained for $250,000; and over the past few years, SDAC growth came following excellent performance assessments on new federal government contracts totaling more than $7.3M in sales. To fuel his entrepreneurial spirit, Paul continuously strived to grow SDAC as a government contractor of excellence. In 2015, he added 23 new positions and an additional six in 2016 bring his total staff to 45.
“Selection under the agency’s SBPOY is challenging every year due to the number of nominations received and the expansive body of work by our nation’s entrepreneurs,” said Marrero. “Presenting this award is one of many ways the SBA recognizes the success and determination of small business owners who are, for all intents, an integral thread in the fabric of America!” 
Morrow was instrumental in growing SDAC from a small A/C repair shop in Homestead to a multi-state federal government contractor with a strong performance history and high bonding capacity.  SDAC specializes in general and mechanical construction, facility management, preventive maintenance, manufacturing and distribution, providing personnel cleared to work in secure government facilities across the United States. 
The company holds more than 30 active federal contracts including at Maxwell Air Force Base, the USDA APHIS Plant Inspection Center at Miami International Airport, the Army Corps of Engineers’ ERDC supercomputer research facility in Vicksburg, the U.S. Army Garrison in Miami, the Department of Defense Narcotics and Transnational Crime Support Center and the National Credit Union Administration Headquarters in Virginia, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, and in other locations throughout the Eastern United States.
When asked about the win, Morrow replied: “I feel as if I’ve become a celebrity overnight. For the past 15 years, [South Dade Air] experienced some setbacks, followed by many years of success while completing various multiple billion dollar contracts. It has truly been an honor and blessing to see this company grow. We are also currently engaging opportunities in both Baltimore and Mississippi.”
Replicating the passion he exhibits in business, Morrow selflessly mentors at-risk youth in two nationally-ranked social and economically disadvantaged areas of South Florida and Alabama’s Black Belt. He also gives back by mentoring and equipping aspiring entrepreneurs and returning military warriors with small business ownership and HVAC trade skills, which thus far has resulted in a protégé obtaining a multi-million dollar level business.
As a community steward, Paul dedicated time with Troops to Trade; Job Corps’ School-to-Work Program; the Association of U.S. Army and Veterans; the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association and various other civic organizations.
Considering how far he and his company SDAC already have come, Morrow is optimistic about his chances of winning the national award.  “It means so much to me to do this for my family, my brothers and sisters, my three kids and all the neighborhood kids I talk to every day,” Morrow said. “They see me coming from where they know I come from, picking beans back in Alabama that I could do all this and they start to believe they can do something too.  I see that little spark of success light up in their eyes and I know it’s my job just to keep pushing, pushing them, myself and my company, and keep growing and going in the right direction.”
Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are April 30 – May 6 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, Calif.
For a complete list national winners, please visit the South Florida District Office website at
About the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program
The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage. The program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.
South Dade Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
SDAC ( is a full-service federal contractor for general and mechanical construction, facility management, preventive maintenance and manufacturing/distribution. We specialize in management, installation, replacement, maintenance and repair of HVAC, boilers, plumbing, pipefitting, elevators, electrical, janitorial, pest control, grounds keeping, landscaping, waste management and recycling. SDAC’s Manufacturing Division holds multiple IDIQ manufacturing and distribution contracts for the Department of Defense and federal government agencies.
SDAC’s mission to be the premier federal government contractor in the United States is being achieved as we continue to provide best-value solutions to our satisfied customers.
Our outstanding staff, extensive background, customer-first approach and excellent bonding capacity empower us to win large-scale projects at military and government installations.


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