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Success Stories

photo of Susan Tusick

Unlike Kermit the Frog, for Susan Tusick it’s easy being green. And she wants everyone to share her green state of mind.

Tusick, architect and owner of Tusick and Associates, specializes in helping businesses, non-profit organizations and home owners become environmentally friendly and healthier too. And, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is enabling Tusick to not only add federal agencies to her client roster, but is saving her greenbacks via free, customized training under their 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program.

According to SBA Pittsburgh District Director Dr. Kelly Hunt, Tusick received a green light for her continuing education as a member of the agency’s 8(a) Business Development Program. The nine-year program assists assist eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to develop and grow their business through one-on-one counseling, training workshops and match-making opportunities with federal buyers.

“I knew... Read More

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, second from left, accepts her award

Instead of tossing, turning and reliving the same nightmare – the inability to fall back asleep after fielding emergency room phone calls -- Dr. Wei-Shin Lai and her husband, Jason, spent those sleepless nights at their kitchen table.

He soldered, while she used a hotel sewing kit to stitch the perfect, non-addictive aid for the sleep deprived who were tired of counting sheep.  SleepPhones® are a unique combination of flat speakers and wires, all housed in a soft, comfortable fleece headband. These simple yet innovative headphones allow those experiencing difficulties sleeping to get some much needed sleep by listening to meditative sounds or music. 

SleepPhones® and its’ complementary exercise headphones, RunPhones®, have Lai, 39, traveling to Washington, D.C. where she will compete for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year. That honor will be announced during the 53rd annual celebration of National Small Business Week.... Read More

Fireman Purchases Shuttered Engine House

SBA Loan Provides Funds Restoring Neighborhood Landmark

PITTSBURGH – There’s a new chief at Engine House No. 16 in the city’s Point Breeze section.

Instead of extinguishing fires, Paul Fireman, president of Fireman Creative and Engine House #16 LLC, ignites sales and awareness for businesses, non-profits and campaigns via multi media advertising strategies.

The three-year acquisition and rehabilitation project comes to fruition this summer, when his nine-member creative crew begins operating out of the historic Penn Avenue structure. Fireman, noticed the RFP [Request for Proposal] for the engine house bordering his neighborhood and visited, along with lots of other interested buyers. He placed the winning bid; finally realizing his dream to house Fireman Creative in an old firehouse.

“I’ve had a lot of support from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the City of Pittsburgh.”

Pittsburgh SBA District Director... Read More

SBA Assistance Helps her Decorate Region with One-of-a Kind Murals

Beverly Niccolai always strives to make a lasting impression.

As owner of Beyond the Garden Gate, Perry Floral and Gift Ship II, she does just that -- creating live and silk floral arrangements. Her flower power not only beautifies homes, but, her postcard-pretty displays also serve as the backdrop for all-important family celebrations and memorials

While the posies are pretty, it’s Niccolai’s works of art commanding both top dollar and top billing in houses, libraries and churches throughout Western Pennsylvania with a roster of clients including Wynonna Judd and the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

“I’ve been drawing since I was four years old,” she said. “I paint about six days a week creating portraits or landscapes from photographs people give me.”

Niccolai has stood on scaffolding painting cherubs and the Virgin Mary on church ceilings and walls. She’s... Read More