Success Stories

National Exporters

Gainesville, FLA. -  David P. Bello, Sr., founder and CEO of Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc.  (ERPI) started the business in 1997. ERPI is a full-service precision manufacturing facility of 15 employees based in Newberry, Florida. Prior to opening his own business, he worked and eventually became a partner in his father’s manufacturing business in South Florida. The company served as a general machine shop for Motorola and several aerospace companies in South Florida. Bello was recently named the National Small Business Exporter of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He shared the title with John Hartnett, Vice President of Global Business Development and David Bello, Jr., General Manager.

Bello started ERPI after he learned of an opportunity to serve companies that needed a reliable supply of third party endoscope repair and replacement products.  ERPI manufactures aftermarket products for repairing rigid and flexible endoscopes. Traditionally, endoscope... Read More

Brunet Garcia accepting an Emmy award

Jacksonville, FLA.- Jorge Brunet-García, President of Brunet-García Advertising (BGA), along with his wife, Diane started the company in 2003 with a personal investment of $25,000. The company has since grown to a $3.7 million dollar operation, due in part to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development program. BGA set out to distinguish itself as a firm that serves the needs of government, non-profits, and private sector clients in reaching multilingual/multicultural markets. The company's core experience is in brand development and brand launches, marketing communications for social change, and public outreach in the areas of health, transportation, education, and the arts.

Brunet-García immigrated to the United States from Cuba when he was 10 years old. His family came to live in Miami, but quickly relocated to Puerto Rico, where he started his 40+ year career in advertising. He later moved on to the Atlanta market, and eventually made his way... Read More

Waymon Armstrong, CEO

Orlando, FLA.- Waymon Armstrong, CEO of Engineering & Computer Simulations, Inc. (ECS) won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Person of the Year in 2010. In the 5 years since Armstrong won this prestigious award, his company continues to grow rapidly. Armstrong started ECS in Orlando in 1997, after working in the engineering and technology field for 25 years. The company prepares military, government, and commercial clients for natural disasters, medical emergencies, and other scenarios through game-based simulation systems and interactive performance assessment tools.

At the time Armstrong won the award, he employed 45 people and many of them were contracted workers. Today, ECS employs 114 people, and many of the subcontractor positions have been converted to full-time permanent jobs.  The company has grown from servicing only Florida and the Washington D.C. area, to a total of 18 states and 4 other countries. Additionally, ECS has steadily... Read More

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