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January 2013

SBA Region IV Monthly Newsletter

Brought to you by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region IV Office

Cassius Butts

Cassius Butts

Regional Administrator

U.S. Small Business Administration

Are you busy preparing your 2012 taxes?  I can tell you that right now small business owners across the United States are working on their taxes. Since it is tax preparation season, I would like to use this time to reiterate a message that was brought to us by SBA Administrator, Karen Mills.  Many small business tax incentives were included in the fiscal cliff deal that was recently reached.  Incentives exist for nearly every small business owner.  To learn more detail, please visit the article linked below written by Administrator Mills. I feel you will find the article very helpful and you should be able to find financial relief for your small business.

> Read more


Recognizing Excellence Amongst SBA Staff in Region 4

Regional Employee of the Month

Jeffrey Campbell

SBA South Florida District Office

Jeffery Campbell, a 32-year federal service professional, is the Assistant District Director for 8(a) Business Development for the South Florida District.  He transferred from Washington DC, 17 years ago where he served as an accountant in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.   Here, Jeff’s first assignment was as a district loan officer.  Since then, Jeff has held a wide range of positions that expanded his business acumen including marketing and outreach specialist, marketing executive, liquidation loan specialist, and business development specialist.  Last May, he was selected to his most recent assignment.  He directs a staff of five business development specialists overseeing more than 230 8(a) firms in the district.  His innovative ideas in helping small business grow and develop through innovative approaches makes him a valued professional of the district management team and the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

What is Happening in YOUR Area?

Tom Todt

SBA Alabama District Office

Thomas Todt, District Director

The Alabama District Office is happy to welcome Laketa Batts as our newest staff member. Laketa was previously assigned to the Metro Washington DC District Office as a Business Opportunity Specialist, a role she continues in Alabama. Prior to her SBA experience, Laketa worked in communications, consulting, and manufacturing production management. Laketa, a Michigan native, holds a Bachelors of Public Affairs from Wayne State University in Detroit, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix in Atlanta, as well as Paralegal Certification from Emory University in Atlanta. Welcome Laketa!


Wilfredo J. Gonzalez

SBA (North) Florida District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, District Director

The V-WISE program was a Jacksonville success! The three day conference was held in January 2013 and was attended by 142 veterans, and family of military, as well as active duty women looking to gain valuable perspective on starting or growing a business. The conference was part of a three part training initiative funded in part by a cooperative agreement through the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and the SBA.

Participants attended classes, networked, and heard from business and community leaders. Training topics included finance, business law, government contracting, information technology, social media and marketing.  An “Ask the Experts” panel was hosted by local entrepreneurs including two North Florida 8(a) firms, Andy Harold of A. Harold and Associates, and Pegine Echevarria of Team Pegine. Natalie Hall, SBA North Florida Veteran’s Representative, SCORE, Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida, and the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center also held office hours for one-on-one counseling sessions. Please visit for future events.

Pancho Marrero

SBA (South) Florida District Office

Francisco "Pancho" Marrero, District Director

South Florida District joined organizers and more than 200 franchise representatives to motivate thousands of entrepreneurs exploring the possibilities of small business ownership at the Franchise Expo South held in the Miami Beach Convention Center, Jan. 11-13.  Sponsored by the International Franchise Association (IFA), approximately 10,000 people attended the expo which was estimated to be 3000 more attendees from last year.  SBA Deputy District Director, Jonel Hein, joined IFA Vice President Development and Member Services Scott Lehr in welcoming the first entrepreneurs at opening ceremonies.  Holding the oversize scissors in both hands, Hein cut the traditional ribbon to signal the start of the expo.  Women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs had the opportunity to learn about what SBA could do to turn their business dreams into a reality in a seminar co-hosted by the district’s outreach specialist, Althea Harris.  Harris was one of more than a dozen featured speakers who led seminar discussions on franchise and small business ownership.  SBA Public Affairs Officer, Jim Brooks, also spoke to a group of veteran entrepreneurs about SBA resources. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, SBA District Director Marrero traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla. to sign a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County.  A signing ceremony took place during their members luncheon.  Assistant District Director Marketing & Outreach, Vince LoPresti, played a big part in making this SAM signing possible. 

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season closed with the South Florida District Office raising $5,159.00.  In addition to annual pledges, the office staff was divided into two teams that competed against each other in FUN-raising events over lunch.  This success wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our Business Opportunity Specialist and CFC chairman Aimee Suarez and the office’s two team captains, Attorney Advisor Richard Braverman and 8a Business Opportunity Specialist Gwen Carrion.  The contribution represents 100% participation by district staff and surpassed our goal of $4,082.42 by 26.37 percent. 

Terri Denison

SBA Georgia District Office

Terri Denison, District Director

Terri Denison, District Director, will be among the keynote speakers for the 2nd Annual Business Owners Day at the Capitol on January 30.  Terri will discuss programs and resources that the SBA offers for starting and growing small businesses. 

 The event is designed to bring business owners from across the state to network with key state policy makers and each other. Attendees will also learn about what state and federal agencies are doing to support small businesses, followed by a tour of the state’s House and Senate galleries.  Other speakers for this event include representatives from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center and the Secretary of State’s office.  The event, hosted by State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick, ends with a hearing hosted by the small business caucus.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend this event.  More information may be found by clicking here.

Ralph Ross

SBA Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross, District Director

The relatively new Small Lender/Rural Lender Advantage programs were developed by SBA to provide access to capital for smaller communities with rural-based lenders.  The Small Lender Advantage (SLA) and a Rural Lender Advantage (RLA) programs offer a simplified, streamlined loan application process and promote economic development, particularly for more rural areas that are facing the challenges of population loss, economic dislocation, and high unemployment.

Both the SLA and RLA programs can be used for term loans up to $350,000, with standard SBA Guaranty percentages of up to 85% for lending institutions.  These loans can often be processed in a matter of days using abridged forms, making the SLA and RLA programs an easier, faster SBA loan application process for both the borrower and the lender.

  The SBA Kentucky District Office is increasing the focus on the SLA and RLA application processes in its regional lender training programs this year.   Since the average 7(a) loan in Kentucky last year was $278,500, well within the SLA and RLA loan program limits, these loan products fill a capital access gap for borrowers and are an attractive option for SBA lenders.  For more information on these SBA Loan programs, please click here. 

Janita Stewart

SBA Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director

On Friday, January 25th, the Mississippi District will participate in a Kickoff Event sponsored by the US Department of Transportation’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization, for its small business Bonding Initiative in the Jackson metro area.  The Kickoff and training series is being conducted in an effort to create an environment for maximum participation in contracting by Small, 8(a), DBE, Service-Disabled Veterans, Women-Owned and HUBZone certified firms.  In addition to US DOT and SBA, other organizations participating in this event and training series include the Surety & Fidelity Association of America, MS State Senate, Office of the Mayor of Jackson, MS Development Authority, MS Department of Transportation and DBE Supportive Services, Delta Regional Authority, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, Winning Strategies, Inc., and local Bond Producers. For more information, please visit   

Lynn Douthett

SBA North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett, District Director

Attention Veterans! Don’t miss the 2013 Veteran’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp (EBC), February 11 – 15, 2013 at the SBA Veteran’s Business Outreach Center at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC. 

The EBC exposes participants to the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership through workshops and lessons from faculty, guest entrepreneurs, and business experts. The program is free to eligible veterans.

 The VBOC provides training, counseling, and technical assistance for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reservists, National Guard Members, Active Duty business owners and start-ups in the Southeast. The VBOC serves North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

 For more information on the Entrepreneur Boot Camp visit: or contact Sarah Espinosa - (910) 672–2683, e-mail

Elliott Cooper

SBA South Carolina District Office

Elliott Cooper, District Director

Just in time for the New Year, the SBA South Carolina District Office announces two additions to our staff. First, we are pleased to welcome Frank Anderson, Lender Relations Specialist, to our team, where he joins Gail Newton in the lender relations division. Previously, Mr. Anderson was Assistant Vice President, SBA Express Loan Specialist at Bank of America. We are also pleased to announce that R. Gregg White has been named Deputy District Director. Mr. White joined the South Carolina District Office last August as the Lead Lender Relations Specialist.

Finally, the South Carolina District Office bids farewell to Paul Thomas, Senior Area Manager for the SBA’s Alternate Worksite in Charleston. Mr. Thomas retired on January 11 after 34 years with the SBA.

Walter Perry

SBA Tennessee District Director

Walter Perry, District Director

The Tennessee District recently announced Brightbridge Inc., a Chattanooga-based Certified Development Company (CDC) in Tennessee,  as the FY 2012 leader in both volume and dollar lending, with 22 loans totalling $21 million. The CDC has worked to facilitate SBA 504 loans across Tennessee and has funded many hotels, restaurants, physicians, car dealers and car washes this past year and also serves as the host for SBA’s Women’s Business Center in Tennessee.  

In Government Contracting, the District presented workshops on January 9 in conjunction with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Nashville and Selmer in west Tennessee on federal contracting opportunities and a special workshop on Women Owned Small Business Certification in Oak Ridge where there was high interest given contracting opportunities with the Department of Energy facilities in that community. 

In Veterans outreach, the District will be participating on January 28-29 in the 3rd Annual Tennessee Veterans Business Association Veterans Business and Education Showcase in Knoxville, which has consistently drawn close to one thousand attendees.  SBA will present at breakout sessions on how to start a small business and upcoming government regulations and programs of interest to the veteran small business owner.


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