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SBA St. Louis Graduates Largest Emerging Leaders Class Second Year in a Row

Small Business Owners Learn New Skills to Grow Their Businesses
Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Release Number: 
Local Release 14-24
Trish Freeland (314) 539-6606

ST. LOUIS – The Small Business Administration’s St. Louis District Office graduates its fourth Emerging Leaders class next week. SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training program that is aimed specifically at helping business owners poised for growth in historically challenged communities. The training provides them with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote economic development. The seven-month class began back in April.

The graduation dinner takes place on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership located at 7733 Forsyth, Suite 2200 in Clayton.

This Emerging Leaders class will be the district’s largest to date with a roster of 17 graduating students, one more than last year.

Instructor Dan Ramacciotti describes this class as the most driven group he’s worked with in this program. He praised the group for arriving to class well-prepared and hungry for more information.

“Each business owner realized being accepted into the class was a special gift that they were offered and the benefits are almost priceless,” said Ramacciotti.

Program Manager, Angela Wells has overseen the program for two years and was impressed by the group’s growth.

“It was fun watching them grow from where they were when class first started. They’ve progressed through the steps and learned how to grow their businesses,” said Wells.

This year’s graduating class includes:

Mark Bockerstett, Modern Screw Products Co., Inc.
Rao Boppana, iBrainTechnologies, Inc.
Yie-Hwa Chang, Mediomics, LLC
Dionne Forland, Missouri Home Therapy LLC
Sherry Gibson, Gibson Printing
Kevin Heun, 4 Site Digital
Rita Leitensdorfer, Communitronics Corporation
Charlie McCarty, Innovet, Inc.
Ricki McGuire, Optitek, Inc.
Paul McKnight, EFS Energy
Carlos Milo, Ardor Fire Protection
Leon O’Hara, Paradigm Builders, LLC
Charleen Presley, Presley’s Glass Inc.
Beth Ruppel, Wolfgang’s Pet Stop
Cindy Thorne, Midwest Construction Services & Products
Annetta Vickers-Bentil, T.A.B. Company. Inc.
Laurie Wall, Advanced Ergonomic Concepts, Inc.

Small business owners who are interested in participating in the next session can visit or contact Angie Wells at or 314-539-6613.

The St. Louis district's 2014 Emerging Leaders program is cosponsored by:

Grace Hill Women’s Business Center
Veterans Business Resource Center
SCORE Chapter 21
Small Business & Technology Development Center
Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center  
Midwest Regional Bank
Commerce Bank
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership