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SBA’s Corpus Christi Branch Office announces 2014 Small Business Week winners

Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Advisory Number: 
Elizabeth Soliz (361) 879-0017 Ext. 301


Awardees to be honored at Luncheon

CORPUS CHRISTI – Today the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Corpus Christi Branch Office announced the winners of the 2014 Small Business Week Awards.  This year marks the 51st annual proclamation of National Small Business Week, May 12-16, 2014. 


To recognize and salute the achievements of the awardees a Small Business Awards Luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Del Mar College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  The event will be held at the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, 402 Harbor Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas.  The ceremony will honor the importance of small business ownership and recognize the model entrepreneurs whose enterprises contribute to the commercial prosperity of the Coastal Bend.


“For more than 20 years the SBA and SBDC have partnered to create an environment of small business growth in the Coastal Bend area,” Debbie Fernandez, Corpus Christi Branch Manager stated.  “Many of our winners started with nothing more than a dream and a strong desire to succeed.  Some received guidance and technical assistance from the SBDC and with or without an SBA loan guarantee to launch their business, are now seeing the rewards of their investment of hard work.  We are very proud of all our winners and champions,” Fernandez said.

This year’s award winners include:  


The Small Business Person of the Year award is presented to a pair of businessmen, Angelo Papakostas and Louis Sissamis, owners of the Texas Flame Steakhouse.  Founded in 1989, a full service restaurant serving the finest cuts of Texas Angus Beef steaks, Gulf Seafood, burgers, sandwiches, gourmet salads, homemade soups, Mexican and Greek specialties.  Papakostas and Sissamis believe their guide to success is in a great team of managers, wait and kitchen staff.  The longevity of their staff is a testament to their managerial skills and willingness to promote from within.  Their success is shared with local non-profit organizations to include Corpus Christi Metro Ministries which provides shelter, meals and other assistance to the homeless.


The Financial Services Champion of the Year is presented to Armando Arnulfo Martinez.  Mr. Martinez is President of Kingsville Federal Community Credit Union and is an active advocate for small credit unions.  He values collaboration for the greater good of the credit union movement and passionately believes that growth can be achieved with vision and a strategic plan.   In 2012, Mr. Martinez lead the team that applied for and was awarded a grant from the CDFI Fund from the U.S. Department of Treasury to establish Joint Opportunities for Business and Job Creation (JOB), the only small and micro-business lending program in Kleberg County.  Mr. Martinez serves his community through various civic and local government appointments.


The 8(a) Graduate of the Year award is presented to Russell & Thelma Canales of Advantage Electrical Contracting & Maintenance, Inc.  Advantage Electrical Contracting & Maintenance, Inc. was founded by co-owners Russell & Thelma Canales in 1994 and certified as a Historically Underutilized Business in August of the same year.   Their services include residential repair and commercial clients specializing in mobile home hook ups and electrical repair.  In May 1998, the business expanded from a home-based office to its present location.  In March 2002, Advantage Electrical Contracting & Maintenance, Inc. became an 8(a) certified firm.  During their 8(a) certification the company was awarded 10 contracts and grew from 4 employees to 27 employees.  On March 15, 2011, Advantage Electrical Contracting & Maintenance, Inc. completed the SBA’s 8(a) certification program. 


James “Jamey” Jones, Certified Business Advisor has been chosen as the Del Mar College Small Business Development Center Advisor of the Year.  Mr. Jones has been the ultimate “team player” in addition to producing outstanding impact and representing the SBDC throughout the community.  He stepped up into the role of Mentor/Trainer this past year as a staff shortage affected the center.  He garners a high rate of client/community referrals and assisted 157 clients in FY 2013 vs. the DMC Center counselor average of 111 clients per year.  The value of his assistance is also reflected in his high rate of return on the National Impact Survey.


Paul Prychodnik, SCORE Counselor will be presented the SCORE Corpus Christi Counselor of the Year Award. Paul Prychodnik joined SCORE Corpus Christi in March of 2011 and has since dedicated his free time to assisting and mentoring small business owners throughout the Coastal Bend area even on the weekends, after 5 p.m. or even on a major holiday.  His experience includes mechanical, electronic, chemical and optical products (mostly for Department of Defense customers) U.S and foreign. He also has worked on manufacturing design, cost controls and inventory management. He assists SCORE clients with new business start-up, government contracting and industrial engineering. Last year, Paul volunteered for a leadership role in SCORE Corpus Christi and is now the chapter’s treasurer. This new role is a tremendous time commitment, yet Paul still mentors new clients, assists with seminars and is overall asset to SCORE Corpus Christi and the entire community. 


For additional information about the local Small Business Week luncheon, please visit www.sbawards.com.  The general public is invited to attend.  Individual seats are $30 per person. Seating is limited so to reserve individual seats or table sponsorships, please call Ann Fierova at (361) 698-1964.


Events for National Small Business Week celebration in Washington, D.C., are scheduled for May 12-16, 2014.  For more information and to register, go to www.sba.gov/nsbw.


To find out more information on SBA’s programs and services, visit www.sba.gov or call the Corpus Christi Branch Office at (361) 879-0017.

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