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SBA Buffalo District Names 2012 Small Business Week Award Champions

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Advisory Number: 
Kelly LoTempio


Two National Winners and NYS Small Business Person Will be honored at National Small Business Week Event


BUFFALO, NY—Franklin J. Sciortino, the district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Buffalo district office announced today the names of 13 SBA Small Business Week award winners from the 14 westernmost counties of New York State.  Among the winners, two were selected for national honors, while one winner remains in the mix for a national title.

Judy Seil, executive director of the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency of Rochester, was selected as the national recipient of the SBA’s Small Certified Development Corporation (CDC) Lender of the Year award and Clint Campbell, partner of Cephas Capital of Pittsford, was selected as the national winner of SBA’s Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC) of the Year award.

“We are extremely proud of the national recognition that both the CDC and SBIC have received for   their outstanding achievements and the commitment they have made to America’s small businesses,” said Sciortino.  “As we celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and growth, it is important that we reaffirm our support for the entrepreneurs who are helping to drive the economy in a positive direction.”

New York State SBA Small Business Persons of the Year, Michael Mandina and Richard Plympton of Optimax Systems, Inc. in Ontario, New York will compete for the national title against winners from the other 49 states, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam in the State Small Business Person of the Year category.  The National SBA Small Business Person of the Year will be announced and honored in Washington, D.C. May 20-22 at National Small Business Week.

Local winners will receive their awards during a small business recognition ceremony, which will be held in Buffalo on May 7.  They will also be recognized on May 9, 2012 at the SBA Small Business Week Awards Luncheon.  The luncheon will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center from 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Tickets cost $40 per seat or $400 per table of 10.  Please contact Kelly LoTempio, Economic Development Specialist/Public Information Officer at (716) 551-4301 ext. 309 for reservations.  You may also register on-line at:  SBA Business Matchmaker, Awards Luncheon & Expo

The following is a list of the SBA’s 2012 Buffalo District Office Small Business Week award winners and their profiles:

National 2012 Small CDC of the Year: 
Judy Seil, Monroe County Industrial Development Agency, Rochester, NY

MCIDC was formed in 1962 to provide access to funding and incentives to qualified for-profit businesses and not-for-profits organizations to invest in projects which will lead to the retention and creation of jobs within Monroe County. The MCIDC administers the SBA 504 loan program that provides long-term financing for the purchase of land, buildings, and equipment at a fixed-rate of interest. Funding for SBA 504 loans is provided through a partnership between the SBA and a private sector lender such as a bank.

The Small Certified Development Company Award is chosen by the SBA Office of Financial Assistance and is based on portfolio quality, and growth in approval volume for the previous fiscal year.  The lender must demonstrate a steadfast commitment to supporting the growth and expansion of small businesses (creation and job retention, increased penetration in underserved markets).

National 2012 Small Business Investment  Company:
Clint Campbell, Cephas Capital, Pittsford, NY

Cephas Capital was founded in July of 1997 and was approved for a license to operate as a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) in March of 1998. Cephas was organized with $10 million of private capital contributed by six Upstate NY community banks and the general partners. The SBIC license also provides Cephas with access to up to another $30 million of funding from the SBA, generating a total capital pool of $40 million.
Recently, Cephas Capital announced the formation of Cephas Capital Partners II, LP and the approval by SBA of a new license to operate as a Small Business Investment Company. Cephas II was the first licensee approved under SBA’s new “fast track” approval process.  The investor group is comprised of limited partners Canandaigua National Bank, Tompkins Trust Company, and Five Star Bank, along with new limited partners NBT Bancorp based in Norwich, NY, Arrow Financial headquartered in Glens Falls, NY, Evans Bank based in Hamburg, NY, Genesee Regional Bank headquartered in Rochester, NY, and Tioga State Bank with its' main office located in Owego, NY.
This award is presented to the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) that has used the SBA Debenture program to enhance access to capital for America’s small business. 

New York State Small Business Persons of the Year                                                                                                

Michael Mandina and Richard Plympton, Optimax Systems, Inc., Ontario, NY

Established in August 1991, Optimax Systems, Inc. is a manufacturer of precision optics that has shown continued growth based on its leadership team, its capabilities for fast and reliable delivery of product and its proven record of superior quality and service. 

Optimax President Michael Mandina is a master optician and his partner, Richard Plympton, an extensive precision lens assembly expert joined forces a few short years after the start of the business.  Richard began in 1995 as manager sales and marketing and currently holds the positions of CEO and VP of Sales and Marketing.

The company manufacturers’ prototype custom optical components for a wide variety of applications and has the capacity to support production requirements.  Strongest market segments for prototype optics are aerospace, display technologies and solar applications; their strongest markets for OEM production optics are semiconductor, military and medical instruments.

Christina Alyse Yeates and Andrea Claire Veres, The Waxing Studio & Spa, Clarence, NY

Friends and graduates of Clarence High School, Christina Yeates and Andrea Veres, age 22 opened The Waxing  Studio & Spa in 2006.  The Waxing Studio & Spa started in a 200 square foot leased space and in their first year welcomed just over 3,000 clients.  As the business grew, Christina and Andrea moved into a new 2,200 square foot location.  The studio now employees 15 that are NYS Licensed aestheticians, waxing technicians, and/or cosmetologists. 

The Waxing Studio & Spa offers organic body skin care, eyebrow artistry, and full body waxing; massage therapy, organic facials and more.  They are a business that thinks green where they use a natural organic skin care line certified by highest standards.  All cleaning products are natural, earth friendly, bio-degradable and will not harm the environment.  The studio also helps collect garbage to UPcycle and donates the money to the S.P.C.A.

These young entrepreneurs are currently looking to franchise and hope to open locations in the city of Buffalo and village of Orchard Park.

Frank Anthony DiChristina, Buffalo State College, School of Professions, Business Development, Buffalo, NY

In his role as a lecturer and student advisor, Frank DiChristina reached out and joined forces in launching the Commercial Club for Veterans on the Buffalo State College campus.  The club focus’ on regular meetings to discuss commercial questions the students have; site visits to commercial organizations in the community (Citi Bank); career development workshop; and arranging commercial internships for veterans out in the WNY commercial community.  

Fayyaz Hussain, United Biochemical (UBI), Sanborn, NY

Farmis, Inc. was founded in 1996.  Now known as United Biochemicals, it has carved out a market niche as bulk producer of high quality biological buffer salts, amino acid derivatives and manufacturer of liquid sterile filtered cell culture media and reagents.  Their products are primarily used as components in cell culture media and molecular biology. 

United Biochemical currently exports certain products to the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.  They continue exploring additional opportunities to sell products internationally including China. 

Irish Family (Laurie Irish Jones, Pamela Irish, Victoria Wasson, Katherine Irish, Holly Irish, Marcia Irish), Irish Welding, Irish Propane and Irish Carbonic, Buffalo, NY

The R.N. Irish Coal Company was founded Ralph N. Irish.  Now known as Irish Companies and has been in business for over 75 years.  The anthracite coal company is what provided a basis for the present day companies under the Irish Companies Flag.

The first Irish company, known as Irish Welding Supply began in 1953 and soon after Irish Propane and Irish Carbonic were formed, followed by Red Diamond Dry Ice and CO2.  The family and women-owned companies distribute residential and commercial propane, beverage equipment, post mix syrups and beverage gases to retail and wholesale customers. 
With difficult times for small business, the Irish family continues to work hard to keep their business’ going.  The 4th generation is now following on the same path.

Kham Hosmer, Hosmer Services Group, LLC, Webster, NY

Hosmer Services Group, LLC provides regional and national snow removal services and ice melt products and services.  They also provide trucking, sweeping, landscaping, and dumpster rentals.  Hosmer has received many certifications in their field and as a result, has contracts with well-known local and national organizations.

Kham started Hosmer Services Group LLC in 2006 with no clients and no employees.  Today, Kham supervises more than 100 workers.

Peter G. Humphrey, President & CEO, Five Star Bank, Warsaw, NY

Financial Institutions, Inc. (FII) President and CEO, Peter G. Humphrey is being honored as the SBA Buffalo District Financial Services Champion of the Year.  Mr. Humphrey’s support, leadership and advocacy of the small business community can be measured not only by the success of Five Star Bank, but also by Five Star’s consistent growth in SBA lending.  For the last several years, Five Star Bank has been a leader in loans backed by SBA guarantees.  The current SBA fiscal year-end resulted in significant increases in lending with a 13 percent increase in units and a sizeable 103 percent increase in dollars. 

Pauline Soeffing and Maureen Henderson, Business Advisors, NCCC Small Business Development Center, Lockport, NY

Pauline and Maureen have been business advisors for the Niagara County Community College (NCCC) Small Business Development Center for several years.  Their extensive counseling provides assistance and enhances business ownership for women.  They both enjoy working with the Center’s women clients and jumped at the opportunity to take on the counseling duties at the Canisius College Women’s Business Center which they each do one day per month. 

Their assistance has advance women’s business ownership by improving the environment for women entrepreneurs and by helping these owners see the many opportunities available to them.

William G. Clark, President and CEO, Urban League of Rochester, NY, Rochester, NY

William Clark has long been in the forefront of helping to develop minority-owned businesses and advocating for the inclusion of these businesses in large construction projects in the Rochester community.  Mr. Clark’s knowledge of the business start-up and development process and the importance of small businesses in Rochester have continued to inspire him to help small businesses grow and contribute to the Rochester community.  His focus on minority and women-owned businesses gives these entrepreneurs the training, knowledge and support they need to be successful.

2012 District Director’s Small Business Week Special Recognition Award
Paul Leone, Industrial Development Agency Consultant

Paul Leone is the Industrial Development Agency consultant for all Western New York IDA’s.  A long-time advocate for small business in our community, he has also shown consistent support for SBA’s programs and services and is an active member of SBA’s Buffalo District Advisory Council.    His eager support, advice and opinions regarding the effectiveness of and need for SBA programs, particularly the Buffalo district throughout the years have become a foundation from which we have generated many SBA Buffalo successes.  This year, he will be given the 2012 District Director’s Small Business Week Special Recognition Award for her years of service and dedication to area small businesses, SCORE Buffalo Niagara and his ongoing support of Buffalo SBA.

2012 District Director’s Small Business Week Special Award for Distinction & Achievement.
Paul Murphy, Facility Director and Susan Kimmins, Sales & Catering Manager, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Paul Murphy and Susan Kimmins have been serving the SBA Buffalo District office’s event accommodations for over 15 years.  SBA and SCORE have relied upon the consistent professionalism of the Buffalo Convention Center staff.  Paul and Sue have built a strong, reliable team that is available to us at any time to answer questions about lighting, seating, carpeting, audio/visual and other logistical accommodations that we do not have time to investigate.   And, they are always just a phone call away if we need something out of the ordinary.  This year, SBA honors Paul and Sue as the District Director’s Small Business Week winners of the Special Award for Distinction & Achievement for their devotion and service to the SBA’s Buffalo District office.

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