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North Florida District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Sebastian Russo

Jacksonville, Fla. – Sebastian Russo, Owner of Brooklyn Pizza in Jacksonville, Florida started his business in December of 2005 with a guaranteed loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Brooklyn Pizza has become a staple in the Bartram Community, with a loyal following and sales to match.

Russo worked as an Independent Programmer for 27 years, meaning he would work for different employers on a contract basis. In 2004, he was in between contracts when his life changed dramatically. His wife filed for divorce, and Russo needed a way to continue to contribute to the family. Unable to find a programming job immediately, Russo accepted a position at Brooklyn Pizza in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville.

It was there that Russo discovered that he was no longer interested programming for a living. He decided that he wanted to be a small business owner and have more control over his future. Russo worked at the store for a year as he learned the business and the... Read More

Printella Bankhead, President EBS Security, Inc.

Jacksonville, Fla. – Printella Bankhead, President of EBS Security (EBS), was recently selected as the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration State of Florida Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year. Bankhead started EBS in 2002 with limited resources and 1 client, and has since grown the business to include a portfolio of public and private sector clients. EBS provides armed/unarmed security services, as well as bodyguard, and private investigator services in the Jacksonville area and beyond.

Bankhead worked 2 jobs and was raising her 2 young children in the mid 1990’s on her own after a divorce. Determined to find a better way to support her family, Bankhead took a position as a security guard. She immediately felt connected to the industry, and decided to quit the other positions to work security full-time. Bankhead, a life-long believer in personal development and growth, decided that she should also learn as much as she can about the field she felt so... Read More

Douglas Worswick

Orlando, FL – Douglas Worswick, CEO of Certified Slings, Inc. (CSI), was recently selected as the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration Region IV Small Business Exporter of the Year. Worswick has increased revenue and grown his company by expanding his business globally. The company currently employs over 100 people, has 7 locations in Florida and sells its products throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Worswick joined his father’s company as a management trainee in 1992. He learned the business from the ground up, and implemented using more technology for inventory control and customer communications. The younger Worswick became Chief Executive Officer for CSI after his father passed away in 2006.

Although Worswick inherited a company that was reaching record sales, the recession of 2009 would force the company to reevaluate its business model. The company manufactures and sells slings, rigging, overhead lifting, load securement, safety and... Read More

Sandra Saft, President of Window Interiors

Orlando, FL – Sandra Saft, President of S. Saft and Company dba Window Interiors was recently selected as the 2015 North Florida District Small Business Person of the Year. Window Interiors not only provides shades and window coverings for projects across the country, but also manufactures solar shades out of its Altamonte Springs, Florida headquarters. Saft founded the company in 1989 with $10,000 in savings, and has steadily grown the company to a multi-million dollar business.


In the mid 1980’s Saft worked for a retail blinds fabricator in a sales capacity. While driving around Orlando, Florida, she noticed many new commercial buildings being built, and thought that this would be a good market to sell blinds to. When she approached her manager with the idea, he was not interested in pursuing it. Saft believed in the opportunity so strongly that she decided to ultimately quit her job, take a course on blueprints and construction to learn about the industry, and... Read More