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SBA Names 2018 Houston Small Business Person of the Year

Winners will be honored during May 2, 2018 luncheon
Release Date: 
Friday, March 23, 2018
Release Number: 
Charles Abell (713)773-6512

HOUSTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Dr. Srini Neralla the 2018 Houston District Small Business Person of the Year. Dr. Neralla is Founder and CEO of SIA Solutions, LLC with headquarters in Houston, Texas. They are 8(a) certified by the SBA and are a professional services, engineering, and consulting firm. They specialize in program and project solutions in Infrastructure Asset Management, Energy, Environmental Compliance and Remediation, Radiological Services, and Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste (HTRW) Management Services.

“We are proud to recognize Dr. Neralla of SIA Solutions on his selection as the Houston Small Business Person of the Year. As this year’s top entrepreneur in Houston, Dr. Neralla characterizes a strong and creative leader who helps build our communities and create jobs,” said South Central Acting Regional Administrator Dottie Overal, who leads the delivery of SBA programs in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“Dr. Srini Neralla is not only a very successful entrepreneur but he is an exemplary mentor, coach, and leader in his community.  His dedication to giving back to the community is very apparent and contributed significantly to his selection. I look forward to honoring his achievement publicly during the Small Business Awards Luncheon on May 2, 2018,” said SBA District Director Timothy Jeffcoat.

This year there were 34 nominees in 9 categories and the District winners in Small Business Person of the Year and Exporter of the Year went on to the SBA Region 6 level to compete for all state.  The Champion awards are judged and selected only at the District level.  SBA Region 6 includes six districts in Texas along with Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of a National Small Business Week. “My goal is to help more of our nation’s small business owners be aware of the resources available to them through the SBA. We want more entrepreneurs to think of the SBA as the go-to resource for access to capital, valuable resources, business know-how, and the right expertise for each stage of their business lifecycle. That’s how we can continue to help power the engine of our economy,” said Administrator Linda McMahon, head of the SBA. 

National Small Business Week is set for the first week in May, and this year the dates are April 29 – May 5, 2018.  The Houston Small Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by SCORE Houston, will be held at the Westin Galleria on May 2, 2018.  The event will kick off at 9 a.m. with a workshop before the luncheon.  For more information about the event, visit or call SCORE at (713) 487-6565.

The complete list of the 2018 Houston District Small Business Award winners:

Small Business Person of the Year
Dr. Srini Neralla
SIA Solutions

Small Business Exporter of the Year
Rakesh K. Jain
RJ Engineering Systems, Inc.

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year
Kirk Michaelis
El Bolillo Bakery

Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Joshua Anthony Zapalac
EcoZapp Efficiency

Entrepreneurial Success Award
Jesus Angel Gonzalez Lopez
Tostada Regia Restaurants

Women in Business Champion of the Year
Sandra Janak
Aspire Sales & Electrical Services, LLC

Financial Services Champion of the Year
Aziz Rahim
Wallis State Bank

Veterans Champion of the Year
Gary Henderson Jr.
Allegiance Bank

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Johnny Whaley

For more information regarding National Small Business Week, please visit:



About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality.  We empower entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses.  The SBA is the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses that are backed by the strength of the federal government. 

The SBA delivers its services to people through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more about SBA, visit