Success Stories

Nominated by: Terry Cyfers, WV Small Business Development Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel is excited to announce Douglas Tate, President and CEO of Alpha Technologies, as the SBA West Virginia 2016 Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year.  Tate was nominated for the award by Terry Cyfers, Business Coach for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Alpha Technologies, established in 2000, is a complete Information Technology solution provider based in Putnam County. They specialize in the design and integration of data, voice, and video systems. Alpha competes for data-storage contracts with businesses and the federal government by utilizing its’ 80,000 sq. ft. data center.

Doug Tate started his success early, enlisting in the Unites States Army upon graduation from high school. He served with distinction for nine years and including time in a special infantry unit where he saw action on... Read More

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel is excited to announce Diane Lewis Jackson, President and CEO of Action Facilities Management (AFM), as the SBA National 2016 8(a) Graduate of the Year.  Jackson was nominated for the award by James Merrill, Chief Administrative Office for AFM.


Jackson, a native of Clarksburg, WV, is the Founder, President and CEO of AFM, located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Since founding AFM in 2001 in her basement, Ms. Lewis has successfully grown her company, a government and commercial contracting firm specializing in site management, security services, maintenance and janitorial, equipment operations, consulting, staffing solutions and project management.


Under her leadership and guidance, Action Facilities Management has grown from two individuals to more than 250 employees in nine states. Diane, through her methodologies and innovation with Action Facilities Management has... Read More

Karen Friel, WVDO District Director; Matt Kwasniewski, Big Timber Brewing Company Co-Owner;  Rick Haney, WVDO Lender Relations Specialist;  Frank Hinzman, Senior Vice President & Chief Lending Officer for Citizens Bank of West Virginia

Matt Kwasniewski knows beer…he also knows business. Kwasniewski is an alumnus of West Virginia University’s College of Business & Economics, graduating in 2008 with a degree in finance. The global financial crisis made it difficult for a new graduate to obtain a position in finance and Kwasniewski ended up traveling to Montana to start his post college career. 

Kwasniewski was always interested in the brewing process, and the craft brew atmosphere of Montana helped intrigue the idea of turning his passion for craft beer into a business.  

Kwasniewski returned to Elkins, West Virginia in 2011 to make his dream of starting his own craft brewery into a reality. He enlisted the help of his wife, Ashley Kwasniewski, his friend Samuel Mauzy, and his sister Amber Kwasniewski to open and operate Big Timber Brewing Company.

The team, like many other new small businesses, struggled in the beginning to secure financing. Once capital was obtained they were able to open... Read More

Jason Savage, Karen Friel, and Sharon Stratton

Hearts, flowers, jewelry, and chocolate are on the minds of many with the upcoming day of love celebration. While finding the perfect gift for that special someone the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel, reminds the community shop local to make their Valentine’s Day gift extra special.

This week, Friel traveled to Morgantown to visit two small romance-based businesses receiving SBA assistance through West Virginia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the SBA.

“It’s important for the community to support small businesses and the holidays are a good time to remind everyone to shop local,” states Friel. “More than 95% of all employers in the state are small and this is an opportunity to show them our support and keep more of our money in state.”

Masman Jewelers

The first stop landed Friel at Masman Jewelers in Sabraton. They say diamonds are... Read More