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SBA Announces Eastern Missouri Small Business Week Winners

Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Release Number: 
St. Louis District Office Local Release 12-5
Advisory Date: 
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Advisory Number: 
Nicholson J. Massie

SBA Announces Eastern Missouri Small Business Week Winners

ST. LOUIS, MO – The SBA St. Louis District Office today announced the Eastern Missouri winners for Small Business Week 2012.  Small Business Week of Eastern Missouri will be celebrated May 7 – 12, 2012, with events throughout the metropolitan area celebrating small businesses. 

SMALL BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR - Vicki LaRose, President, Civil Design, Inc., 1552 South 7th Street, St. Louis, MO, 63104, Phone: 314-863-5570, Fax: 314-863-5578,,
Vicki LaRose founded Civil Design, Inc., (CDI) in 1996 to provide responsive, quality-driven civil engineering services.  She has grown CDI into a well-respected firm with offices in Missouri and Illinois. CDI has a reputation for delivering on-time, in-budget designs for construction management, environmental, transportation and site development projects. .  Her clients include Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri Department of Transportation, and Illinois Department of Transportation.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS AWARD - Bruce H. Williams, President, US Tool Group, 701 S. Desloge Drive, Desloge, MO, 63601, Phone: 573-431-3856, Fax: 573-431-6655,,
Bruce Williams took a 20 employee family business and turned it into the largest tool regrinding company in the world. He accomplished this through a combination of automation with machinery he designed and built and effective management.  He modified, innovated, or invented nearly every manufacturing process used at US Tool today.  He redefined US Tool by moving them into the integrated supply business.  His AutoGage, a machine to sort dull tools, put US Tool well ahead of the competition and is still the gold standard in the industry.

JEFFREY BUTLAND FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR - Christy Ford Schlafly, C.E.O. and Co-President; William H. Ford, Co-President, Ford Hotel Supply Company, 2204 N. Broadway, St. Louis, MO, 63102, Phone: 314-231-8400, Fax: 314-231-8436,,
Three generations of the Ford family have provided solutions to the commercial foodservice industry for over 100 years.  William S. Ford, Sr. began by going door to door and would make deliveries before going home.  Adele Ford expanded the business by selling to hospitals and charities.  Their sons, William S. Ford, Jr. and John H. Ford, began selling to hotels and clubs.  Both completed engineering degrees and expanded the company’s services to include design and
equipment.  Christy Ford Schlafly began as a purchasing clerk in 1978 after graduating from college. Her brother, William (Bill) H. Ford joined the business in 1981.  They now own and operate Ford Hotel Supply Company.

Jeff Computers and StudyX Software, 14366 Manchester Road , Manchester, MO, 63011, Phone: 636-256-7901, Fax: 636-825-3540,,
Jeff Minnis, 28, President and owner of Jeff Computers and StudyX Software began repairing computers in middle school.  He continued working on computers in high school and college, earning spending money and learning.  During high school, Minnis developed a learning software program to help him study which he named “StudyX.”  He began selling StudyX online in 2005.  Minnis opened his first computer repair shop in Manchester in 2006.  His first retail location opened in 2008, allowing him to sell new and reconditioned computers and provide a larger range of repair services. 

WOMEN IN BUSINESS CHAMPION OF THE YEAR - Marcia Conaghan, Program Manager, Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, 2125 Bissell Street, St. Louis, MO, 63107, Phone: 314-584-6841, Fax: 314-584-6907,,  Marcia Conaghan is Program Manager of Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, which focuses on women and minorities in underserved communities.  As a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Grace Hill Women's Business Center is a leader in providing business development services to start-ups and existing businesses.  The program includes a business plan preparation class and counseling services for class participants and business owners throughout the region.  She has a deep commitment to improving businesses and the lives of small business owners. 

VETERAN SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION OF THE YEAR - Roger Horn, Director of Community and Business Outreach, Veterans Business Resource Center, 4236 Lindell Boulevard, Suite 102, St. Louis, MO, 63108, Phone: 314-531-8387,  Fax: 877-825-4190,,
Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Roger Horn spent 33 years in military service in the Army and Air National Guard and on active duty with the Air Force.  He brought this experience to the Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC) when he joined as an administrative assistant and counselor in June 2006.  He later became Director of Community Outreach.  Horn also maintains the current web site and writes programs for use at the VBRC.

FINANCIAL SERVICES CHAMPION OF THE YEAR - Sandra L. Washington, Senior Vice President-Group Manager & Small Business Sales Manager, Commerce Bank, 8000 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton, MO, 63105, Phone: 314-746-5211, Fax: 746-5265,,
Sandra Washington is Senior Vice President - Group Manager & Small Business Sales Manager of Commerce Bank.  She joined Commerce Bank in 2003 and is responsible for a group of retail branches in the central area of St. Louis County.  Sandy also manages six Small Business Bankers, who offer financial solutions to small business owners throughout the St. Louis area.  Washington has 33 years in the banking industry in a variety of capacities. 

MINORITY SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION OF THE YEAR - Tracey L. Clark-Jeffries, President and Owner, Capital Consulting Services, 2125 Bissell Street, St. Louis, MO, 63107,  Phone: 314-456-3404, Fax: 314-584-6907,
Tracey Clark-Jeffries is President of Capital Consulting Services.  Clark-Jeffries oversees and manages a professional development firm that offers small business development services, management, and educational training.  She serves as a business mentor and advocate with Grace Hill Women’s Business Center.  To broaden her reach, Clark-Jeffries established a small business incubator (Direct Impact Business Education Center) that mentors small business in their start-up phase and prepares the companies to become viable businesses.

District Director Dennis Melton of SBA’s St. Louis District Office noted, “Eastern Missouri is home to some of the most diverse and innovative small businesses in the nation.  Many of these small firms, including current, past, and future Small Business Week winners, will grow into industry giants.  The assistance of SBA; SBA resource partners, including those being honored; and other small business champions, including current honorees; is integral to the success of the local small business community.  These businesses, with the assistance of small business champions, are providing new jobs in our area.  Please join SBA in congratulating our local winners of Small Business Week of Eastern Missouri and wish them success at the national level.” 

Further information about Eastern Missouri Small Business Week can be found at   For further information about any of the Eastern Missouri Small Business Week winners or events, please contact Patti Guttmann at (314) 539-6600 x255 or

National Small Business Week, hosted by the Small Business Administration, has been recognizing the special impact made by outstanding American entrepreneurs and small business owners since 1963.  National Small Business Week is May 20-26, 2012 in Washington, DC.  More information about National Small Business Week can be found at

For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA Web site at or for the St. Louis District Office. 

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