Exhibit Solutions of NM - Profile of a Business Leader
“It was the scariest decision I’ve ever made” said Gina Euell, describing the fateful moment that she left her employer of twelve years to open her own business, Exhibit Solutions of New Mexico, a Native American and woman-owned company that designs and manufactures unique trade show displays. Twenty years later, Gina is both business owner and leader, honored by several business organizations including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the 2012 New Mexico Small Business Person of the Year.
Like many who leave a company mid-career in order to start their own business, Gina found that it was hard to get noticed at the beginning. Despite her experience and talent she had to work hard at building her client-base one sale at a time. It was during this early phase that she contacted the SBA who assisted her in obtaining HUBZone certification for her firm. The SBA HUBZone certification opened the door to competing in the federal marketplace. Her first government contract was for $15,000 with the New Mexico National Guard for recruitment displays. The contract enabled her to gain past performance and increase her firm’s financial capacity which positioned Exhibit Solutions for further government contracts. Past performance in government contracting also gave the fledgling company credibility and a competitive edge in the private sector. A few years later, she enrolled her company in the SBA 8(a) Business Development program. When asked about the certification, Gina said it “opened doors for great projects that never would have happened had it not been for that program.”
Gina credits a third SBA program - Emerging Leaders – with accelerating her company’s growth. By participating in the executive training course, Gina says she learned to think about her business in a different way and sharpened her business acumen in the areas of finance and marketing. Participants in Emerging Leaders finish the program with a Strategic Growth Action Plan (SGAP) they’ve designed to take their business to the next level within three years. By following her SGAP, Gina invested in key equipment for her business and completed other long-term goals that have led to business growth.
Gina is a business leader, active in several small business organizations in order to help others find success. Gina served as a board member for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce from July 2001 to 2009 and on the Small Business Development Center Advisory Board. She has served as Vice Chair for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Small Business and Entrepreneurism Division and on the Executive Board of Directors. She is the former Chair Person for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the Central New Mexico Community College Foundation Board of Directors.
The dedication she has for serving her community matches the level of care she brings to every single client and her team of employees. When asked for advice for new business owners Gina shared, “When you take care of people, they’re going to follow you. Build your company on good ethics and good morals - that’s the foundation of your business that will carry you through anything and any place.”