Success Stories

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

SBA Lender Relations Specialist, Rick Haney and WV Fitness 24 Owner, Clint Aragona

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps small businesses at any and all stages of their lifecycle, from start to finish. However, sometimes all they need is a little assistance to get going. That is exactly the case with WV Fitness 24.

Clint Aragona, a trainer by trade, is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Aragona’s parent’s owned and operated a restaurant for 35 years in Shinnston, WV. When he showed his own interest in starting a business, his family threw their full support – and finances – behind him.

Even with the help from his family, Aragona relied on the SBA to help carry some of the weight with a guaranteed loan to make his business successful. He received three separate loan guarantees from the agency to purchase and upgrade equipment.

WV Fitness 24 opened its doors in 2003 at its current location at Big Lots Plaza in Bridgeport, WV. Aragona is now diligently working to relocate the business to the former YMCA building in Bridgeport in early... Read More