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Success Stories

When L.J. Hughes came to West Virginia from Indiana, Pa. in 1942 to do an exploratory drilling project he probably never realized he was embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor that would extend through four generations of the Hughes family.

L.J., who started his diamond core drilling business in the 1920s, discovered a great demand for his expertise in the state and decided to relocate his family to the Summersville, Nicholas County area. In 1946 he was joined in the business by his two sons, Robert and Charles, and his daughter and son-in-law Evelyn and Fletcher Herold joined in 1952.

As the company progressed, a third generation entered the business; Charles’ twin sons David M. (Mike) and John M. (Mick) Hughes in 1973, Fletcher Herold, Jr. in 1975 and Fletcher’s sister, Rebecca Adkins, in 1990. In 2006, a fourth generation came on board, nephew Jeffrey Lilly.

This year the company named for its founder, L.J. Hughes & Sons Inc., is being... Read More

Although young in terms of age, 27-year-old Jalon “Jay” Petre is anything but when it comes to small business experience.

As president of Renick Millworks, LLC, an environmentally friendly company specializing in wood products that are 100 percent reclaimed, Petre has been involved in entrepreneurial endeavors since graduating from high school.

Petre’s experience and success as a business owner are the key reasons he is being honored as the Young Entrepreneur for 2010 by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office.

Petre happened upon his current profession by chance. Fresh out of high school, he was helping manage his dad’s machine and welding shop when work slowed. His dad said it was alright if Petre wanted to go out on his own and find something else.

“I received a contract with the railroad to take down several buildings in the Fort Spring area, which I probably got because of my age (18-years-old) and I... Read More

One West Virginia lender has taken the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) charge of “helping to unlock the small business lending market to get capital flowing” very seriously. Main Street Bank, headquartered in Wheeling, W.Va., is responsible for over 21 percent of the total ARRA loans made in West Virginia since the inception of the program.

With 40 SBA-backed loan approvals totaling $2,728,100 as of January 13, 2010, Main Street Bank has stepped to the forefront and made a huge difference for each and every one of those small businesses. In fact, the 40 loans are responsible for creating and/or retaining 237 jobs in the northern panhandle region of West Virginia.

The ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, is making a difference for West Virginia’s small businesses. Since its signing, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided loan guaranties to 186 West Virginia small businesses through lending... Read More

Service-disabled Veteran Small Business Owner Receives 7(a) Loan for Start-up Capital

In the late 1980’s, Craig Hartzell had a desire to create a company that could successfully compete for- and win- Department of Defense contracts. The U.S. Army Special Forces veteran was aware there were business opportunities with the military and that no West Virginia companies were doing so at the time. He also knew it would take an extraordinary effort because West Virginia’s economy was considered resource-based and not technology-based.

But through his persistence and leadership abilities, Azimuth, Incorporated was created which resulted in Hartzell, the company’s president and CEO, being named West Virginia’s 2010 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Hartzell will be honored at the annual West Virginia Small Business Awards luncheon on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at the Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley. He will also be recognized at the 47th annual National Small Business Week gala in Washington DC on Tuesday,... Read More