Small Business Owner is Named SBA Exporter of the Year

Donald Shepherd President of AR Worldwide (AR), manufactures electronics in Souderton, Pa., is the 2005 winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Exporter of the Year award. The award recognizes his expansion into international markets and the resulting increase in sales and employee growth.

The Exporter of the Year award is given to individuals who have increased sales, profits and/or growth of employment as a result of creative overseas marketing strategies, effective solutions to export-related problems, demonstrated encouragement of other small businesses to export, voluntary assistance to other small businesses entering the export market, cooperation with other firms in the creation of export trading companies and/or introduction of unique trading relationships, products or services.

AR Worldwide manufactures and distributes amplifiers, antennas, generators and test systems. As president of AR Worldwide, Shepherd plays a major role in the success of the automotive, medical, and aerospace and telecom industries. AR’s customer list includes many industry giants including Chrysler, Ford, Motorola, and General Electric. The U.S. military also uses AR’s products for electronic warfare and homeland security.

Shepherd’s career began in 1965, at a small manufacturing firm in northern New Jersey. He was part of the “Jammer Project” which manufactured an amplifier to jam enemy aircraft. Shepherd established his own amplifier business in 1969, with the intent of developing and marketing top quality broadband amplifiers. He realized the need for additional equipment to maintain the product quality and increase production.

Univest Bank provided the capital to purchase the equipment was through the SBA’s a 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program. “I would like to thank Univest for believing in us, and the SBA for giving us this award,” said Shepherd.

The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA's primary lending program. It provides loan guaranties for small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. The program operates through private-sector lenders who provide loans which are guaranteed by the SBA.

Under Shepherd’s leadership, AR has grown from (number) to 162 employees, and nearly $40 million in annual sales. AR is the leading brand in the markets they serve. AR’s success has come from their ongoing efforts to work with customers to ensure AR’s products meet their needs and testing requirements. Shepherd develops and maintains business by traveling at least 20 weeks a year to meet with customers.

“To run a successful business you have to be willing to take certain risks. AR’s exporting success epitomizes the true entrepreneurial spirit that exists throughout our county,” said Tom Tolan, Director of the SBA’s Philadelphia District Office.

The SBA is a federal agency chartered in 1953 to leverage capital access and to provide counseling and business assistance for America’s entrepreneurs. To obtain additional information on SBA’s programs and services, call (215) 580-2722 or visit the Philadelphia District Office’s local website here.