Administrator Karen Mills Tours Orlando Business Aero-Tel Wire Harness Corporation
SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, Aero-Tel Wire Harness Corp President, Tony Donatto, and Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer view Aero-Tel's product line.
Karen Mills, Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, toured Aero-Tel Wire Harness Corp (Aero-Tel), a small business government contractor located in an Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) section of Orlando. Administrator Mills highlighted the Obama Administration efforts to help small businesses grow and create jobs, including a recently announced initiative to accelerate Federal payments to government contractors and small business subcontractors like Aero-Tel.
Aero-Tel has secured over $10 million in HUBZone government contracts since 2005, creating more than 20 jobs for the community. The HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain access to federal procurement opportunities. These opportunities are given to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a designated HUBZone.
Aero-Tel provides wire-harnesses and other products for the Defense Logistics Agency for it to retrofit military vehicles such as HMMWVs (humvees) and other equipment. Tony Donatto, owner of Aero-Tel, is a Veteran of the United States Army. His company manufactures and assembles all components on-site.
Administrator Mills was accompanied by Orange County Commissioner, Fred Brummer and Marcia Davis, Aide to Commissioner Daisy Lynum.
Welcome to New Deputy District Director, Debbie Brown
The Small Business Administration is proud to welcome Debbie Brown as Deputy District Director. Ms. Brown previously worked for SBA from 1998-2003 as the Deputy District Director for the North Florida District Office, and from 2003-2005 as the founding Director for the Disney/SBA National Entrepreneur Center (now called the National Entrepreneur Center) in Orlando. She replaces Ralph Ross, who is now the District Director in Kentucky. Ms. Brown has over 22 years of experience with the government and has worked to build public and private partnerships throughout her career.
Shaneice Byrom is a Summer Student Intern with the North Florida District Office. She is currently a student at the University of North Florida and has a double major in Building Construction Management and International Business.
When asked about her experience with the SBA she replied "College has prepared me for taking on challenges, but working at the SBA has given me real world experience that I can use in the future. If I want to start a business then I know which resources are available to me. I also feel confident that I can work in a professional environment once I graduate." When asked what her most challenging assignment was she replied, "learning the systems and procedures took some effort initially, however once I figured it out it became second nature."
Shaneice works in the 8(a) Business Development Section and has helped the department process contracts for 8(a) firms. Her last day in the office will be on September 28, 2012. The North Florida District Office would like to wish Shaneice good luck with all her future endeavors.
The North Florida District Office participated in the first annual Florida Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (FLAGGL) conference in Orlando, FL from September 12-14, 2012. The SBA recently entered into a Strategic Alliance Memorandum with FLAGGL. The partnership is intended to strengthen the lines of communication between SBA and its lenders. FLAGGL was created to provide training and networking opportunities to lenders who originate and service SBA backed loans.
Veronica Wallace, Lead Lender Relations Specialist provided updates to conference participants on district lending volume and statistics. Other SBA speakers and participants included Cassius Butts, Region IV Administrator, Mary Hernandez, Regional Manager (Exports), and Patrick Kelley, Senior Advisor to the Associate Administrator. Topics discussed at the training revolved around 7a and 504 loans, as well as industry specific topics such as eligibility and appraisals. The North Florida District and its lenders remain committed to helping small businesses succeed.
North Florida and the Veteran Entrepreneur
The North Florida District Office has been focused on providing Veteran Entrepreneurs with the support they need to be successful. Natalie Hall, the Veteran’s Representative for the office has been participating in a series of events called the “Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program”, which provides programs and services to Veteran’s returning from deployment as well as their spouses. Ms. Hall also participated in a pilot for the revised TAP curriculum at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS). Starting next year the SBA will be delivering an entrepreneurial track for the TAP program.