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Small Tech Business Named 2016 SBA Washington 8(a) Graduate Award of the Year

General Microsystems honored as top 8(a) graduate, Celebration Recognizing Winners May 4th at Museum of Flight, Boeing Field
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Release Number: 
SDOPR 16-15
Matthew Williams, 206-553-7315

BELLEVUE - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2016 8(a) Graduate Award winner is Earl Overstreet, owner of General Microsystems Inc. (GMI), a Bellevue based provider of information technology (IT) infrastructure products and services.

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. It offers access to government contracts and participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.

GMI started in 1983 primarily as a personal computer products reseller, but over the years it has evolved to keep pace with the dynamic technology world and the needs of the major clients it serves.

The business entered the 8(a) Program in 1991 to diversify into the Federal market and invest in new capabilities, which Overstreet said was a great example of how they have constantly re-invented themselves to add unique customer value.

“For the first seven years, GMI demonstrated agility and creativity by pioneering technologies such as optical laser disk storage, local area networks, and multi-user computers, but our growth had stalled,” Overstreet said.  “The SBA 8(a) Program was the ideal partnership to help us get more at-bats to prove that we were ready for the Major Leagues.  New customers helped sales increase by a factor of ten during the developmental stage, allowing us to triple staff and expand our expertise.”

Seattle District Director Nancy Porzio said Overstreet is a shining example of how the 8(a) program can help take a business to that next level.

“The 8(a) program is designed to help a small business grow through hands-on business development assistance,” said Porzio. “Seeing a business successfully take part in that program, and continue to grow and thrive is what the SBA is all about and we are so proud of Mr. Overstreet.”

General Microsystems has received multiple awards focused on both the business and technical side of what they do, including recognition from the University of Washington, King County, the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, and a local Fortune 500 business. 

“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact small businesses has on our country,” said Regional Administrator Calvin Goings. “It’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated, hard-working small business owners who are making a difference in their communities.”

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.