Washougal Construction Company Owner Named 2019 SBA Pacific Northwest 8(a) Graduate of the Year

LKE Corporation to Be Honored at Celebration to Recognize All Local SBA Award Winners May 2
Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Contact: 
sean.wilson@sba.gov

PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2019 Pacific Northwest 8(a) Graduate of the Year is LKE Corporation in Washougal, Washington. The regional winner – selected from winners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska – was one of 10 finalists for the SBA National 8(a) Graduate of the Year award.

The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is a nine-year government contracting certification to provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities.

Founded in 1993, LKE Corporation is a full-service construction company specializing in environmental reclamation, wildlife habitat enhancement, wetland development, watershed restoration, in-stream fish enhancement, vegetation management, planting, soil preparation and naturalized landscaping.

The company has completed more than a thousand miles of watershed restoration; and, several major instream restorations including the Toutle River, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge box, miles of channels and hundreds of acres of wetlands.  LKE has been awarded more than 200 federal contracts of which 160 were for environmental restoration.   

“The spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in our small business community is part of what makes life in the Pacific Northwest so special,” SBA Portland District Director Martin Golden said. “Kim Erion represents the thousands of small business owners who dedicate themselves to building a better life for their families, employees and communities.”

The SBA 8(a) Graduate of the Year award – part of National Small Business Week May 5-11, 2019 – recognizes outstanding graduates from the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program who have grown their business through contracts with the federal government.

“LKE is truly ‘Havin’ Fun Habitat’n’ which is when we are in the field doing what we love for the environment,” LKE Corporation President and Lead Ecologist Kim Erion said.  “That success is only because of the great support and guidance from the SBA, our amazing crew and staff, and my dearest husband who believes in my vision and mission.”

Erion knew starting a new business in the highly competitive construction industry would pose some difficult challenges on the road to building LKE.  She turned to Portland SCORE to get the counseling and training to help her start her business with confidence.  In 2007, Erion enrolled in the Portland Community College Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Level 3 Business Management course to continue to strengthen her management skills. 

Erion then enrolled in the SBA Emerging Leaders program in 2012 to prepare for the firm’s expanding opportunities.  And in 2017, LKE graduated from the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, which had greatly expanded the company’s access to federal contracts.

Today, LKE continues to be a well-respected partner in restoring and preserving the natural habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Erion is active speaking at events for women-owned businesses, the SBA Emerging Leaders Program and the Women’s Business Center. She also teaches project management with the Environmental Professional Program at Portland State University.

According to Erion, the company continues to live its values every day: “The legacy that we leave is that you will never know we were there.”

"National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact of small businesses, which make up 99 percent of all businesses in the Pacific Northwest and create two out of every three net new jobs,” SBA Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “Small business owners represent our country’s best. They are innovators, job creators and community leaders. Shining a spotlight on their inspirational stories and journeys is an honor.”

A celebration honoring local SBA winners from Oregon and the SBA Portland District – which serves Oregon and southwest Washington – will be May 2. Other SBA local awards that will be recognized at the celebration include Small Business Person of the Year, Family-Owned Small Business of the Year, Nano Business of the Year, Small Business Champion, SBDC Excellence Award and the Small Business Lending All-Star awards.

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.

For more information about National Small Business Week, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov. The Portland District Office serves Oregon and southwest Washington with an office located in Portland.