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2006 SBA National Small Business Person of the Year
Eric Hoover was born and raised in Conneaut Lake, a small town in northwest Pennsylvania. At an early age, Eric was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and although doctors predicted he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, Eric was determined to prove them wrong and fulfill his dream of making a difference in the lives of those in need.
In 1988, after completing a 4 year Journeymen's Apprenticeship in the machining trade, Erie founded Excalibur Machine Company, which he is still the president and CEO of today. The last five years have seen a definite decline for most manufacturing in our area, but it was during this period that Excalibur experienced continual growth. Due to Eric's unique business philosophy and his 11 year experience, Excalibur was able to see sales growth of more than 350%. As well as, move from an individual facility of 6,000 square feet to three facilities with over 67,000 square feet. Eric has also founded a sale organization called Camelot Consolidated; a trucking firm, Blade Transport and a construction company by the name of Lancelot Construction.
Eric's growing businesses have let him devote more time to his real passion - trying to make a difference, starting with his local community. Eric, along with his family work with two area churches, Fallowfield United Methodist and Our Lady Queen of America's Catholic Church on various mission and charitable projects. He is the chairman of the Sadsbury Planning Commission and the Joint Planning Commission joining four municipalities. He belongs to the Masonic Lodge and Shrine and supports the local Shrine Hospital. He has aided local businesses by working with them at no cost, to help them turn their businesses around.
Eric has been working with the local school district to form a unique Job Shadowing Program, that will take students and place them in a working envionment, so that they will be better equipped to decide on their future plans.
Eric's most rewarding experience outside of his family, came about in 2005 with the establishment of Excalibur Charities. Although it will not be a legal entity until 2006, he felt that due to recent events that Excalibur Charities should do something to aid the Red Cross in it's efforts. Instead of just making a monetary donation, Eric planned and underwrote an event to bring the community together to raise much needed funds. Each year there will be a special event to raise money for local charities.
To be able to achieve the kind of support Eric wants to give the community, his businesses must continue to grow. In 2006 Excalibur will add another 30 to 40 employees to the existing 80. There are plans that should be complete by first quarter to salvage an abandoned building in the community, to be used as a steel warehouse, that will serve businesses throughout the area.