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February 2013

SBA Region IV Office 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

I am very pleased to introduce to you an initiative we have kicked off in the Southeastern Region of the SBA that is very important and it is very dear to my heart. The SBA district offices located in the 8 Southeastern States are working with my office to reach a goal of signing agreements with each of the 59 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) located in our region.  The Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) agreements are representative of the level of commitment of the SBA and the higher education institutions. The purpose is to educate today's youth and minority students of the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist today and to connect these students with resources that can help to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.  This initiative is not meant only for business school students, but to all of the students within the college or university.  As we all know, an entrepreneur can come from any department and from any background.  I am honored to be a part of history taking place and to assist the SBA in in reaching the agency's ambitious goals of supporting America's underserved markets.  Please look for an event near you where SBA is partnering with an HBCU.  We encourage your involvement. 

SAM Signing at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach

Bethine Cookman Signing
Miles and Lawson State Signing

SAM Signing with Miles College and Lawson State University in Alabama

What Can SBA Do for YOUR Small Business? Please Visit the State-by-State Listing Below:

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Tom Todt, District Director

Alabama's District Director recently addressed the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors during their meeting in Tuskegee. The Alabama Conference of Black Mayors is part of the World Conference of Mayors, which was founded in 1984 by Johnny Ford, current Mayor of Tuskegee. The attendees, many of whom were newly elected, heard about “The ABCs of SBA”, an overview of SBA programs and services, and what impact the SBA could have on their communities.  The two-day conference also addressed broadband challenges in Alabama’s Black Belt, and culminated with a tour of the new Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site at Moton Field.

Willie G

Florida (North) District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, District Director

Cassius Butts, SBA Regional Administrator, and Director Willie Gonzalez,  signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) with Bethune-Cookman University on February 14, 2013.

Bethune-Cookman University is a Historically Black University that has been committed to academic excellence and civic engagement in the Daytona Beach community for over 100 years. Interim University President Dr. Edison O. Jackson signed the SAM on behalf of the University. Dr. Weldon Blake, Business Department Chair and Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, North Florida District Director were both instrumental in coordinating the SAM. The event was attended by students, faculty members, and members of the media.

The SAM signifies a joint effort by the University and SBA to promote small business through education and community outreach. The signed SAM will allow both entities to work closer together to ensure small minority business interests are adequately addressed in the area.

Pancho Marerrero

Florida (South) District Office

Francisco "Pancho" Marrero, District Director

The South Florida District office partnered with the U.S. Commerce Dept. in hosting an Export Outreach Team workshop on Feb. 5.  The workshop was designed to increase understanding of the Export Outreach Team’s international trade resources; develop referral protocols and understanding of respective metrics; recognize client trade readiness/ export potential and ongoing discussion of shared clients; and share best practices for client service.  The district’s International Trade Officer Charles Long and SBA Regional Manager to Miami’s U.S. Export Assistance Center Mary Hernandez did outstanding work in organizing the half-day workshop.  Our ability to renew and strengthen working relationships among our federal, state and local export officials will greatly contribute to attaining the goal of the National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The district office was privileged to host international leaders from Kazakhstan on Feb. 14, who asked to learn more about SBA. The group was visiting Miami as part of an official visit by the Dept. of State and Miami Council for International Visitors.  Deputy District Director Jonel Hein; Assistant District Director for Lender Relations Miguel E. González; Assistant District Director 8(a) Business Development Division Jeffery Campbell; and SBA Regional Manager to Miami’s U.S. Export Assistance Center Mary Hernandez shared their areas of expertise with the visitors who will return home with new ideas and insights to improve small business there.  

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri Denison, District Director

 The Georgia District Office will be hosting Eggs over Business,  an Emerging Leaders (formally e200) and Beyond  Alumni Breakfast, on Wednesday, February 27.  The event is designed to encourage continued collaboration of past e200 graduates/community business leaders and to generate interest among alumni to help identify prospective candidates for the class of 2013.  The featured guest speaker Dr. Thomas “Danny” Boston, Professor in the School of Economics at Georgia Tech. 

On Thursday, February 28, the district will host an orientation briefing for those interested in the 2013 class of Emerging Leaders and Beyond at 6:00 pm in the Georgia District Office conference room. Please contact SBA's Dorothy Atkins for more information,

Ralph Ross

Kentucky District Office

Ralp Ross, District Director

Sandi Preston, Paralegal Specialist with the SBA Kentucky District Office, recently received the prestigious 2012 Kentucky Paralegal Association's Founder's Award.  In 1997, the KPA implemented the Founder's Award to recognize outstanding paralegals who have contributed to the enhancement and development of the paralegal field.  Recipients of the award have demonstrated major contributions to the profession above and beyond the normal job requirements and/or been significantly involved in projects, activities or organizations in the paralegal field.

Ms. Preston is active in the Kentucky Paralegal Association, the Louisville Association of Paralegals and the Sullivan University Legal Studies Advisory Board.  She is currently an officer in the Federal Alternative Dispute Resolution Council, Inc. and mediates workplace conflict with that group. 

Sandi grew up in Belfry, KY and moved to Louisville in 1977.  She started her career with SBA in 1982.  Sandi is married to David Preston, and they have two dogs, Bailey and Beep. 

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director

In an effort to expand interest and participation in the 8(a) and HUBZone Programs, SBA Mississippi will host a Statewide 8(a) Application Conference and HUBZone Program Conference on Thursday, March 28 in Gulfport, MS at the Lyman Community Center 13472 Hwy. 49.  The 8(a) Application Conference is from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  and the HUBZone Conference is from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Pre-registration is required-please see below.

If you are interested in SBA’s 8(a) and/or HUBZone Program being a key to your success, then these free events are for you. These conferences are designed to target Mississippi firms interested in either of these programs and should meet basic eligibility criteria.  More information on eligibility may be found at, look under “Most Popular” and click on How to Apply for 8(a) and Apply for HUBZone Status.  


8(a) -

HUBZone -

For more information on SBA programs and services, contact the Mississippi District at (601) 965-4378, the Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit the Mississippi SBA Web site at

Lynn Douthett

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett, District Director

The President’s National Export Initiative, has the goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014. The SBA North Carolina District and our partners are reaching out to showcase export events that help small businesses.

 On February 27, 2013, there will be a FREE webinar on Exporting to Korea. This webinar will show small business owners how they can capitalize on Korea’s $1 trillion marketplace and its 49 million consumers.

Learn from international trade and finance experts from the Office of the U.S Trade Representative, the Embassy of Korea, and the SBA in this interactive 60-minute webinar.

To learn more and register visit:

 North Carolina small businesses can also take advantage of Export University. This program is offered several times a year at various locations in the state. The eight-week, export-training seminar designed to provide companies with the basic tools to initiate or expand into international markets. For more information, visit:  

Elliott Cooper

South Carolina District Office

Elliott Cooper, District Director

SBA Administrator Karen Mills visited South Carolina on January 24 to highlight small business contributions to job creation and the economy.  Administrator Mills toured UEC Electronics, a Charleston-area manufacturing and engineering business in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. Owned by Rebecca Ufkes, UEC currently employs 194 people, a 49 percent increase since August 2011. Ms. Ufkes was the 2010 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year and runner-up National Small Business Person of the Year.

Administrator Mills also visited the South Carolina Women's Business Center in Charleston, where she heard from four women business owners about how the Center had helped them start and grow their business. Opened in January 2012, the Women’s Business Center recently expanded into the Upstate.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills Tours UEC Electronics of Charleston, SC with owner, Rebecca Ufkes

Karen Mills on Tour UEC

Walter Perry

Tennessee District Office

Walter Perry, District Director

SBA Administrator Karen Mills toured West Tennessee Ornamental Door Company, a thriving metal manufacturer in Memphis on Wednesday February 13th .  While there, Administrator Mills discussed President Obama’s plan from the State of the Union address to create jobs by investing in manufacturing. With the help of two SBA-guaranteed loans to support working capital needs of the business, the company employs 15 people and had over $2.8 million in revenues last year through its manufacture of steel security doors, fences and gatesIt’s owner, Jim Hoffa, is a 2012 graduate of SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program in Memphis (formerly e200). As covered in the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Administrator Mills called Hoffa the ‘Poster child for the SBA’ and called his business a perfect example of effective entrepreneurship that’s benefiting the middle class.’

Sandro Murtas, SBA Region IV International Trade Officer, conducted a lenders seminars and luncheon for lenders in Chattanooga on February 13th at the Small Business Development Center. Almost fifty lenders and their associates participated in the event which included highlighting SBA’s Export Express and Export Working Capital Loan programs.  The district office has been reaching out to federal agencies in Tennessee to advocate government contracting opportunities for small businesses, including visits to the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Memphis.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills visits Region IV during a trip to Memphis manufacturer West Tennessee Ornamental Door Company.  The company employees 15 people who manufacture steel security doors, fences and gates which are available nationwide at home improvement retailers Lowes and Menards.

Admin Mills in TN


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