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SBA Officials Visit Eastern Pa. 2017 Small Business Person of Year

Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Advisory Number: 
20170426-001
Contact: 
Robert Goza (610) 382-3084 | robert.goza@sba.gov
Lewisburg Pa. firm Pik Rite Inc. President Elvin Stoltzfus recognized May 2 at noon

EASTERN Pa.– U.S. Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania Director Antonio (Tony) Leta officially introduces eastern Pennsylvania’s Small Business Person of the Year, Pik Rite President Elvin Stoltzfus May 2 at noon. Media are invited to attend.

WHO:    Antonio (Tony) Leta, Director, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District

               Christian Conroy, State Director, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers

               Steven Stumbris, Bucknell University Small Business Development Center Director

               Deputy Secretary Sheri Collins, Technology & Innovation, Pennsylvania DCED

               Neil Fowler, Director of PREP, Pennsylvania DCED

               Hon. Fred Keller, State Representative, Pennsylvania District 85

               Hon. Gene Yaw, State Senator, Pennsylvania District 23

               Elvin Stoltzfus, Pik Rite Inc. President

               Invited: Local, state and federal officials

WHAT: Pik Rite President Elvin Stoltzfus is introduced as Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year; media tour of business with interview and photo opportunities

WHEN: May 2 at noon

WHERE: Pik Rite Inc., 60 Pik Rite Lane, Lewisburg, PA 17837

“It’s great to have the privilege to recognize the achievements of Pennsylvania small business leaders like Elvin Stoltzfus,” said Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director. “Small businesses like Pik Rite, Inc. are the engines that drive our nation’s economy. SBA and our resource partners, like Bucknell University Small Business Development Center and its director Steve Stumbris, are proud to play a role in helping them start and succeed.”

From childhood, Elvin Stoltzfus was expected to pitch in and help with farm duties, including planting and harvesting vegetables. Stoltzfus was asked by his Dad to stay home from school and work on the farm at age 13. He developed a strong work ethic and realized the value in working with others on the farm. Stoltzfus is married to Molly Mullen, who he says has been a key influence in the person he is today. In 1983, Stoltzfus and a friend built the first Pik Rite tomato harvester. This project was largely driven by the fact that he was involved in the hand-harvesting of tomatoes. After a few years of testing and modifying the original machine, three Pik Rite harvesters were built in 1986, and the company was incorporated. More important to Stoltzfus than profit is the culture of his company; Stoltzfus says it is greatly rewarding to see the people around him living out the firm’s vision, mission and culture and putting customer needs foremost.

“I believe strongly that if I can lead my team to be people of integrity then good things will happen, not just for the finances of the business but more importantly that it will have a positive impact in the lives of our employees, our customers, the community, and the families within it. Building a quality product is the number one goal and along with that comes the commitment to build long-lasting relationships with our customers. When offering products and services, the goal is to simplify life for our customers. The team listens to the end-user for ideas to incorporate into the product, which is what the customer is purchasing,” Stoltzfus said.

Pik Rite, Inc. designs and manufactures innovative, quality-built vegetable harvesters, agricultural manure spreaders, commercial waste handling and specialized vacuum tanks, dump bodies and debris collectors. Pik Rite equipment is customized to meet the needs of many industries including farming, commercial waste hauling, gas drilling, construction, and municipal waste, and is used domestically and exported to 26 countries. The firm's humble operation began in a small garage in 1986 and following three phases of development, it is currently utilizing 60,000 sq. ft. of space at its original manufacturing location in Lewisburg, PA. Dealerships throughout North America and representation abroad have contributed greatly to the firm’s growth in sales. In addition to numerous vegetable harvester dealers, there are 225 spreader dealers and 52 tank dealers representing the company.

“Bucknell's SBDC was honored to nominate Elvin for SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year Award; I'm thrilled to see this prestigious recognition for him and Pik Rite. Elvin's leadership of Pik Rite, as demonstrated both through his commitment to his employees and his dedication to exceeding the needs of his customers makes him an excellent candidate for this award. This important award brings attention to a remarkable small business leader, and to the high-quality products being manufactured by an industry-leading small business in Pennsylvania,” said Steven Stumbris, Bucknell University Small Business Development Center Director. “The SBDC’s relationship with Elvin and his company is a long one; dating back over 15 years, when Pik Rite worked with the SBDC and two mechanical engineering professors from Bucknell in a design and development project on a new vegetable harvester. In the years since then, Pik Rite has engaged our center's specialty Engineering Development Services, as well as the SBDC's Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) numerous times as they've continued to innovate and grow.”

Bucknell SBDC also helped with resources ranging from SBDC engineering staff and student consultants, to class-based projects featuring computer aided design (CAD) and structural finite-element analysis (FEA), including a year-long product design, prototyping, and testing engagement undertaken by a team of mechanical engineering students as their Capstone Senior Design Project.

“I’m honored to be named as the Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our experience with SBA’s resource partner, Bucknell University SBDC has certainly been a very positive and lasting relationship for at least a decade and a half,” said Stoltzfus.

The Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has helped businesses start, grow, and prosper for over 35 years in Union, Northumberland, Juniata, Montour, Perry and Snyder counties. In 2016, Bucknell's SBDC helped entrepreneurs start 30 new businesses and create 133 new jobs. Small businesses aided by the center secured $8.7 million in investments and increased their sales by over $7.9 million. Bucknell's center is part of the network of Pennsylvania SBDCs, the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training, and information resources to empower new and existing businesses. The SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth. www.Bucknell.edu/SBDC

SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director Antonio (Tony) Leta presents Small Business Week Awards at the annual “SBA Awards” event May 24. The event is open to the media. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. May 24 with the awards ceremony, followed by dinner and networking at the Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park, 205 West Skippack Pike (Rte. 73), Ambler, Pa. 19002. SBA’s Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year award winner is selected annually from among nominees located across Pennsylvania. These events are local observances of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy.

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To request interviews or photos, contact Robert Goza, SBA’s Public Information Officer in the Eastern Pennsylvania District Office, at 610-382-3084 or robert.goza@sba.gov.Cosponsorship Authorization #17-0303-67. SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact: Patricia Kratz, 610-382-3081 or patricia.kratz@sba.gov