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Service-Disabled Veteran Finds Success with Help of Patriot Express
SBA, Small Business Development Center, and Urban League of Rochester help Jamestown engineer grow his business
BUFFALO, NY – For Tolman Engineering, PLLC owner Rex Tolman, success comes with doing things right and doing them right the first time. “We have over a decade of municipal experience but given the Veterans Administration “Veterans First” program have experienced significant growth over the last few years by designing infrastructure improvements at VA Medical Centers,” said Tolman.
Tolman, a service-disabled veteran who started his company in 2002 took an in-depth look into his engineering company and knew he needed help. Although he was receiving a number of Veterans Administration engineering contracts, he needed additional support to build on his collateral and service his clients.
“I attended a seminar hosted by the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College where they spoke about loan opportunities and particularly the Patriot Express loan program for veterans,” he said. “I looked into it and ended up with a no fee $100,000 line of credit with SBA and Five Star Bank.”
Tolman admits the seminar forced him to seek advice and gather additional information from the free resources of the SBA. “The SBA and SBDC at JCC helped me to assess my approach and look closer into the future,” he says. “Knowing where you can turn for help, can really make a difference!”
As his engineering business expanded, Tolman’s need for loan capacity grew. In 2011, Tolman Engineering hired three full-time and one part-time employee with anticipated growth over the next year. Space and additional projects also became an issue and his company began looking to re-locate to a new building or expand the current office.
Tolman secured a second Patriot Express loan through SBA and Five Star that allowed him to fund his new payroll and construction of a 2,000 square foot addition to their Jamestown office in 2012. The additional funding gave Tolman Engineering the ability to acquire additional projects winning 14 in the last three years. Company growth continues to grow from 30% in 2011 to 50% in 2012.
“Strong relationships with SBA and their resource partners are essential in providing small business owners, like Rex, with increased access to capital that they need to create and retain jobs,” said Steve Swanson, Vice President and Commercial Lender, Five Star Bank. “From my initial meeting with Rex, it was evident that he had the passion, knowledge, and support to bring his company to the next level.”
With bigger opportunities on the horizon, Rex decided to participate in the “Small Business Teaming Program” with the Urban League of Rochester. The SBTP provides assistance and guidance to small business owners seeking to compete for larger federal contracts through workshops and one-on-one technical assistance. Participants receive assistance with the formation and execution of teaming arrangements, aid in identifying contracting opportunities, assistance with the preparation and submission of bids, and much more.
Currently in its second program year, the Small Business Teaming Program collaborates with the U.S. Small Business Administration, resource partners, and other federal, state and local government small business development programs to make the Program a great success.
Rex learned to take advantage of the many opportunities SBA and its resource partners had to offer. ”We have grown into a successful business by doing it right the first time,” “You just have to stick to it, nothing is easy!”
“America’s veterans have the leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners,” SBA Buffalo District Director Franklin J. Sciortino said. “As we celebrate Independence Day, we renew our commitment to the millions of veterans and service members across the country. The Patriot Express program puts more capital and more tools in the hands of veterans as they grow their business and create jobs America needs.”
The Patriot Express loans are offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan approvals. PX loans can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases. For more information, contact your local Buffalo District office at (716) 551-4301 or Rochester Branch office at (716) 263-6700. Details on the PX program are available at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.