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SBA Region VII Names 2011 Small Business Champion Award Winners

Release Date: 
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Release Number: 
RO 03-02
Advisory Date: 
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Advisory Number: 
June Teasley, (816)426-4845

Kansas City–Pat Brown-Dixon, the Administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII, announced 2011 winners of SBA’s Regional Champion Awards today.

“We’re proud to honor these owners and supporters of small business and will be submitting their nominations for the SBA national awards,” said Ms. Brown-Dixon.

Entrepreneur winners are selected on their staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales, financial condition, innovation, response to adversity, and community service. Champions are judged on their dedicated assistance to small businesses beyond their professional involvement in the field of their award. Involvement with SBA is not necessary to win an award, although many of the winners have received some type of assistance from the SBA or those partnering with it.

Small business supporters across the Region 7 states of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa, in conjunction with SBA’s District offices, will host upcoming special events to honor and present awards to these entrepreneurs and small business champions around National Small Business Week in May.

Ten regional award winners in each category compete for national titles. National winners will be honored at the upcoming SBA National Small Business Week celebration, May 16-20, 2011, in Washington, DC. The 2011 Region VII award winners are:

Region 7 SBA Entrepreneurial Success Award:
Karma Mason, President; and Gary Mason, CEO, ISI Environmental Services and Mason Enterprises, Wichita, Kansas

ISI provides full-service environmental and safety consulting and assists businesses with OSHA and EPA compliance and celebrated its 20th year in business in 2010. The Masons initially operated their fledgling small business from their dining room table in Wichita, and today employ more than 130 people, working in a number of states and bringing in nearly $10.5 million in revenue. Both are active in a number of state and local civic organizations. An SBA 504 Program loan was instrumental in providing them expansion space.

Region 7 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year:
Roger Lee Ward III, Marathon Moving & Delivery LLC, Overland Park,

Roger Lee Ward of Marathon Moving & Delivery, LLC was selected as an entrepreneur under 30 years of age who has most increased sales and staff since the inception of his business. Ward and his wife purchased the moving company in 2007 and with the help of the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College have developed the business from $60,000 in revenue to $550,000 in 2010. Ward grew the business from one to six trucks; increasing staff from a “mom and pop” operation to a crew of 18 in the last 3 1/2 years. Additionally, his company donates time, services and money to multiple community organizations.

Region 7 SBA Minority Small Business Champion:
Benny Lee, Chairman and CEO, DuraCom, North Kansas City, Missouri

The owner of several successful international companies based in Kansas City, Benny Lee shares his knowledge, expertise and experience in leadership roles through several local and national organizations. Lee currently serves as president of the Kansas City Asian American Chamber of Commerce, which supports more than 2,856 Asian American businesses in Kansas City (2002 Economic Census.) Lee also serves as first vice-president of the International Relations Council, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri; on the board of directors of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and as an advising board member of Futurallia KC 2011. Lee currently is an “Entrepreneur in Residence” at UMKC.

Region 7 SBA Home Based Business Champion:
Suzanne Lunneman, owner, Lunneman Accounting Services, LLC, Kirkwood, MO

Ms. Lunneman has operated her small business as an accountant from her home since 1997. As a volunteer, Lunneman shares her knowledge and helps many women gain the necessary financial skills to succeed in business. She is as a former instructor of the Women’s Entrepreneur Program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.

Region 7 Women in Business Champion:
Cindy K. Johnson, Grand Island, Nebraska

Johnson has increased opportunities as well as mentored and provided training for women entering the business and work world in Grand Island. She also serves on the Nebraska Educational Leadership Council, which examines ways to improve the state’s educational system.

Region 7 Financial Services Champion:
Mary L. Maule-Lott, credit report expert for the Johnson Co. Community College Small Business Development Center, Olathe, Kansas

Since 2007, Maule-Lott has dedicated her free time to working one-on-one with more than 50 aspiring or existing small business owners and more than 250 people through speeches and workshops in an effort to help them understand and improve their credit reports. She works for the Western & Southern Financial Group, and is active in the Kansas City, Kansas Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Black Chamber of Commerce.

Region 7 Veteran Services Champion:
Jeremy Amick, Asst. Director-Missouri, U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his regular duties, Mr. Amick has written more than 50 articles for newspapers and publications highlighting successful veteran small business owners. He serves as an advisor and speaker for various Missouri and national veterans’ organizations and support groups; and has helped SBA plan veterans’ entrepreneurship events.

Region 7 Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Award:
Wichita State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Helping more small businesses than any other SBDC in Missouri and Kansas resulted in WSU’s SBDC winning this award. Serving 23 counties, the center innovated an agri-tourism class widely copied nationwide, and in addition, exceeded their client goals with excellent client feedback in 2010. Over the last eight years, the WSU KSBDC services to clients generated an average of $34.05 in new tax revenue for every $1 invested in the WSU KSBDC program.

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