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SBA Honors Small Business Champions

Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 
Dennis E. Byrne (202) 205-6567

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U. S. Small Business Administration today honored nine champions of small business, including a service disabled veteran who is passionate about helping fellow vet entrepreneurs; an African American couple who used their entrepreneurial success in insurance and bonding to advance an underserved entrepreneur community in north Omaha; and the remarkable and ambitious Turkish immigrant who, with financial assistance from SBA, added yogurt to his product line and today is expanding and producing jobs and dominating the U.S. Greek yogurt market.

These small business owners and leaders of small business support organizations were recognized today for their business accomplishments and outstanding support of other entrepreneurs.  The Champion Awards were presented in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week, May 20-26.

“The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as champions of small business. Their tireless efforts have supported small businesses, local communities, and America’s economic recovery efforts,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.  “They provide the counseling, advocacy, advice and support that small business owners need, and foster an environment where the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish, resulting in economic growth and job creation.”

This year’s Champion Awards recognize winners from California, Idaho, two from Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota and Oklahoma. For more detailed information on all the winners, please go to and click on 2012 Winners.

The Champion Awards were presented at the Champion Award Winners Gala in Washington D.C., sponsored by VISA and T-Mobile. Small Business Week events can be seen virtually via  streaming video on the Web at

The 2012 National Champions and Special Award Winners are:

2012 National Financial Services Champion
David Adams, CEO
Michigan Credit Union League
Lansing, Mich.

2012 National Home-Based Business Champion
Wendy Navarro, Owner
Saige Nicole’s Specialty Baby and Toddler Boutique
Costa Mesa, Calif.

2012 National Minority Small Business Champion
Dick Davis, CEO and Sharon Davis, president
Davis Companies
Omaha, Neb.

2012 National Women in Business Champion
Sarah Calhoun, Owner
Red Ants Pants, LLC
White Sulphur Springs, Mont.

2012 National Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business
Brian Jay Hayer, president & CEO
Warner and Company Insurance
Fargo, N.D.

2012 National Veteran Champion
Keith King, president & CEO
Keith King and Associates
Detroit, Mich.

2012 National SBA Young Entrepreneur
Mark Masters, CEO                                                                   
Choleta Fire, LLC
Oklahoma City, Okla.

2012 National Exporter of the Year
Albert Youngwerth, president; Joe DeGano, sales & marketing manager;
and Alison Kelsey, International Distribution Development
Rekluse Motor Sports, Inc.
Boise, Idaho

2012 Entrepreneurial Success
Hamdi Ulukaya, president & CEO                                                
Chobani, Inc.
Norwich, N.Y.

Small Business Week 2012 sponsors and co-sponsors include: AARP, Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, Dun & Bradstreet, InterContinental Hotels Group, International Franchise Association, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders,  National Association for the Self-Employed, National Small Business Association, Neustar, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Paychex, Inc., Prudential, Raytheon, Sage North America, Salesgenie, SCORE, Small Business Investor Alliance,
T- Mobile, VISA, Wall Street Journal and Women Impacting Public Policy.


The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this co-sponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any co-sponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and co-sponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made,

 if requested at least two weeks in advance, by contacting  Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2012.


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