Success Stories

Did you ever wonder while sitting on an airliner at a boarding gate how the lights and air conditioning/heating system worked without those noisy jet engines running? Well, you can thank a small business located in Morgantown West Virginia that you have light to read your paper and are able to sit comfortably in a temperature-controlled environment.

FCX Systems, Inc. designs, manufactures and sells solid-state frequency converters for commercial and military aviation, shipping, utility, and electric train industries. What in the world is a frequency converter, you may wonder.

“It’s basically a unit that takes AC power, converts it to DC, then reconverts it back to AC power that is acceptable to equipment with unique power requirements,” said Don Gallion, Jr., president and CEO of FCX.

Gallion founded FCX Systems, Inc. in 1987 along with four other individuals, and has seen the company grow from seven employees then to over 90 now. But it wasn’t... Read More

Edward “Beau” Necco is making a significant difference in the lives of hundreds children in Kentucky and Ohio, and soon, in West Virginia. And it all began with a U.S. Small Business Administration loan packaged by the Marshall University Small Business Development Center.

Beau with longtime friend and business partner, Stephen Mullins, operate Necco, a therapeutic foster care company that provides alternatives to detention services for children who are troubled.

It’s not as though Beau jumped into the business cold. His parents have been involved in the treatment of children for several years. His father, Dr. Edward Necco, began working with mentally and emotionally disturbed youth thirty-eight years ago and served as the coordinator of the Behavioral Disorders Program at Marshall University from 1972 until his recent retirement. His mother, Dorothy Necco, was a schoolteacher and actually helped write the model upon which Beau patterns his business... Read More

Robin Hildebrand, president of Blue Smoke Inc. in Ansted, is in many ways a typical West Virginia small business entrepreneur but in other ways quite unique.

Born in rural West Virginia, the 12th of 14 children, Robin’s family supplemented their food supply by processing fresh fruits and vegetables grown in their garden out of necessity, not as a hobby.

“Being from a large family, we sometimes didn’t have enough food to go around,” said Robin. “Raising a vegetable garden was just a way of life with each and every family member spending time working the garden and canning.”

Robin took the qualities and skills that she learned from gardening; hard work, perseverance, creativity, and enthusiasm to create Blue Smoke, Inc., a woman-owned small business that has grown by leaps and bounds, receiving state and national recognition.

Robin started the company in 1993 as a sole proprietorship out of a need to find a job where she could work at home... Read More

8(a) Small Business Owner Receives 7(a) Loans, Government Contracts

For a little over a decade, Craig Hartzell has been looked to as a leader in the West Virginia technology movement. He’s extremely proud of his company’s accomplishments and successes, which he attributes to their involvement in the federal contracting arena.

Hartzell is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Azimuth Incorporated, an electronics engineering, software engineering and logistics company with offices in Morgantown, Fairmont and Frederick Maryland.

Hartzell and partner Adam Macias, who met while serving together in the U.S. Army Special Forces, founded Azimuth in 1989. What began with one employee and annual sales of $15,000 has grown to nearly 80 employees and annual sales exceeding $7 million.

“Through our military background, we knew there were not many West Virginia-based engineering firms whose focus was the Department of Defense,” said Hartzell. “We knew that with a little experience, and a lot of hard work, we could... Read More

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