Rhode Island’s Salute to Small Business

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Release Number: 
Ryan Brissette - (401) 528-4630

Providence, RI – On May 5, 2017, the Rhode Island District Office celebrated the annual Salute to Small Business. 18 winners over 13 distinct award categories were honored for their business excellence. The event was held at the Alpine Country Club in Cranston and is celebrated every year during National Small Business Week.

Since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

Please congratulate these well-deserved winners for 2017 Rhode Island Small Business Awards. They are outstanding examples of small business excellence in the Ocean State.

Gary Palardy, 2017 Small Business Person of the Year




Small Business Person of the Year
Gary Palardy, President/CEO
Blue Moon Industries



Kevin Redmond, 2017 Exporter of the Year (Not photographed Joan Redmond, Peter Kaczmarek)Small Business Exporter of the Year

Kevin Redmond, CEO

Joan Redmond, Controller

Peter Kaczmarek, President/COO

Mearthane Products Corporation






Ann Kaiser, 2017 Rhode Island & New England Microenterprise of the Year

Rhode Island & New England Microenterprise of the Year

Ann Kaiser, CEO

ProjectEngin, LLC






Armando Nieves, 2017 Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

Armando Nieves, President

Armando & Sons Meat Market Group

Providence & Pawtucket




Matthew Tortora, 2017 Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year


Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year

Matthew Tortora, CEO/Co-Founder

Crave Food Services Corporation

North Kingstown




Kelly Mendell, 2017 Woman-owned Small Business of the Year


Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Kelly Mendell, President






Rachyl Medina Travis


Home-Based Small Business of the Year

Rachyl Medina Travis, Co-Owner

Jaklyn Travis Randall, Co-Owner

Lillian Medina Travis, Co-Owner

The Travis Family Farm




Robin Degraide & Denise Armstrong-Florio

Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned

Small Business of the Year

Roberta A Degraide, President

Denise Armstrong-Florio, Vice President

Design Fabricators, Inc.



Laura A. Stack



Financial Services Champion

Laura A. Stack, Vice President/Sr. Commercial Lender

Freedom National Bank





Jeffrey Nelson


Entrepreneurial Success Award

Jeffrey Nelson, President/Owner

Brassworks Fine Home Details






Aaron Horowitz



Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Aaron Horowitz, President/CEO

Sproutel Inc.





Susan LatailleJoseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Susan Lataille, Owner

DiscoverYou Events

North Smithfield







Winners not photographed: Rhode Island District Director Award, Mark Cousineau, President of Community Investment Corporation.