WV Small Business Uses a Spectrum of SBA Services to Start and Grow


Allegheny Science & Technology (AST), a technology and energy consulting firm, was co-founded by President and CEO Arria Hines and COO Bob Wentz. The duo saw a need for specialized program technology management and energy services in the federal government.

They started the firm with three employees, one federal contract, and $135,000 in annual revenue. The company was looking to grow and turned to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for help.


In 2009 SBA certified AST as an 8(a), economically disadvantaged, woman-owned small business. This defining moment started a path of drastic growth for AST.

While in the 8(a) program AST benefited from numerous counseling sessions through the district office, which provided valuable feedback. Creating annual reviews, business planning, and systematic evaluations kept AST on a positive trajectory. During the 8(a) program, AST successfully competed for and won multiple federal 8(a) prime contracts due to small business set-asides that help small businesses compete for and win government contracts.

AST graduated 10 employees through the Federal Acquisition Management (FAM) Certification Course taught by a SBA Procurement Center representative. The FAM course allowed AST staff to learn specific industry requirements to help them better compete for contracts.

AST once again turned to SBA when they needed a line of credit to offset expenses that come along with winning government contracts. SBA and MVB Bank approved AST with a 75 percent SBA loan guarantee for a $2 million contract (CAPLine) loan. The guaranteed loan allowed AST to fund company operations such as payroll, employee benefits, equipment, and office space.


Due to the success AST has seen with programs and services offered by SBA, they now employ nearly 200 people across several states supporting a broad portfolio of federal clients. Hines is the recipient of many awards, including 2016 SBA WV Small Business Person of the Year, and 2018 SBA Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year. Hines is passionate about giving back to the community and has a particular interest in helping young women seeking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.