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From Air Force Veteran to Small Business Owner
Kevin’s Plumbing and Heating Gets Boost with SBDC Assistance
Kevin Yaw’s story of going from a U.S. Air Force Veteran to founding Kevin’s Plumbing and Heating started in the late 2000’s.
Yaw, fresh out of the military and welcomed by several plumbing contractors in the Buffalo area, left his military career as a plumber and began working in the same field almost immediately.
“It hasn’t been easy,” says Yaw. “There are the long hours and the sharp learning curve.” “My transition from employee to business owner was gradual; I consulted with my bank manager, Kathy Eisenmenger several times before being introduced to Dhannayia Johnson, business advisor at the Buffalo State College’s Small Business Development Center.”
Small Business Development Centers are funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Offering free education and consulting to small businesses for marketing plans, business plans and technical support. There are 4 local SBDC’s within the SBA’s Buffalo District Office. Locations include: Buffalo State College, Niagara County Community College, College at Brockport and Jamestown Community College.
Working with Dhannayia over several months, Yaw was able to develop his business plan and obtain
not one, but two SBA guaranteed loans through M&T Bank. The loans allowed Yaw to purchase new equipment and provide his business with needed working capital. Since borrowing from M&T, Yaw as since paid one of his loans in full.
“Equipment costs in the plumbing and heating business can be a huge challenge,” said Kathy Eisenmenger, manager M&T Bank. “Everything usually costs more than expected, yet a business owner cannot do it all alone. I was happy to connect Mr. Yaw with the SBDC who helped him focus on determining his goals, refining his business vision and then assisting him with is business plan.”
Kevin’s Plumbing and Heating provides residential plumbing services to the WNY area. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Kevin’s P & H offers sewer replacement, water line repairs, hot water tank replacement, sewer cleanings, air conditioning installations and commercial and residential snow removal.
“I knew a lot about the plumbing and heating business, Yaw says, “I didn’t know about starting my own business. When you leave the military for civilian life, you attend an educational out processing class to help with the transition. I would have appreciated to have had the opportunity to learn more about SBA and their partners during this transition, I would have had a head start.”