SBA Southeast Welcomes SBA's New Administrator

January 2020

u s small business administration
Ashley Bell


Ashley D. Bell

Region IV Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

White House Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship & Innovation



A Warm Welcome to SBA's Newest Cabinet Level Official- Jovita Carranza!

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza

Jovita Carranza now serves as the 26th Administrator of the SBA. Administrator Carranza will lead the only federal agency exclusively dedicated to assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting, growing, and expanding their businesses. Additionally, the SBA provides targeted recovery support in the event of a declared disaster.

This is Administrator Carranza’s second tenure at the SBA. She served in the George W. Bush Administration as Deputy Administrator, from 2006-2009. The President nominated Administrator Carranza to lead the SBA while she was serving as the 44th Treasurer of the United States. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a strong bipartisan vote of 88-5.

Administrator Carranza’s experience includes a remarkable 30-year career with United Parcel Service, where she began as an hourly dock worker, rose to oversee operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and ultimately retired as the highest-ranking Latina in the company’s history.

Administrator Carranza pledged to preside over an Agency focused on creating more opportunities for women and historically underrepresented entrepreneurs while ensuring the SBA remains prepared to assist displaced homeowners and small businesses impacted by disaster.

Administrator Carranza earned her MBA from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and received executive, governance, management and financial training at the INSEAD Business School in Paris, France; Michigan State University; and the University of Chicago.

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Local News From Your

SBA District Office

Thomas Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director

On Monday, January 6, The Alabama District Office welcomed it newest Business Opportunity Specialist, LaTonya Hayes. Latonya is no stranger to SBA, she has served the Agency for 12 years in the Disaster Loan Servicing Center (Birmingham, AL ) as a Loan Specialist in the Treasury Offset Department. She has served on various project teams within the Disaster Center, and she has also assisted the Agency mission through detail assignments in Loan Origination/Processing. She will be serving the Alabama District Office in dual capacity as a BOS with Administrative Officer duties.
We are delighted to have LaTonya as a part of our team, and with her knowledge and experience we are sure she will prove to be a valuable asset to the Alabama District Office.

Congratulations to LaTonya Hayes for joining the SBA Alabama District Office as a Business Opportunity Specialist! 

Alabama New BOS

Gil Colon

North Florida District Office

Gil Colon, Deputy District Director

The North Florida District Office (NFDO) in conjunction with the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), and the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV) hosted the 2020 Opportunity Zone Information Session, at the Tallahassee Community College Center for Innovation. An Opportunity Zone is a community investment tool established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. Participants at the summit learned from experts on best practices regarding Opportunity Zones, resources to start and grow a business, Federal HUBZone designations, and had the opportunity to meet with local area contacts. The summit was arranged by Thaddeus Hammond on behalf of the NFDO.

The event featured speakers and booths from the SBA, SBDC, TCC Center for Innovation, Opp Zone Capital, State of Florida Department of Management Service’s Office of Supplier Diversity (DMS OSD), U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, and the Capital City Chamber of Commerce.


Pictured: Richard Fetchick, Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality; Jay Choi, SBA Business Opportunity Specialist; Caroline Evans, USDA (Rural Development);Theresa Purnell, USDA (Rural Development); Thaddeus Hammond, SBA Economic Development Specialist; Nayana Sen, SBA Public Affairs Specialist; Gilbert Colón, SBA Deputy District Director; and James Van Horn, SBA Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist/Economic Development Specialist.

Pictured: Deputy District Director Gilbert Colón delivering opening remarks to the participants during the 2020 Opportunity Zone Information Session at the Tallahassee Community College Center for Innovation

OZ Summit Tallahassee

Victoria Guerrero

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director

The SBA South Florida District Office met with key community stakeholders on January 15, 2020,  to discuss best ways to increase small business participation in Opportunity Zones and maximize investment for businesses located in the Homestead, Florida. District Director Victoria Guerrero along with Lead EDS Althea Harris shared SBA success stories during discussions centered around building prosperous South Dade communities, utilizing Opportunity Zones as a catalyst for growth.
Homestead is also home to the SBA Opportunity Zone success Paul Morrow, the owner of SDAC and 2017 State of Florida SBA Small Business Person of the Year.

OZ Summit South FL

Opportunity Zone success discussed in Homestead, FL

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

On February 12, 2020 the Georgia District office will be holding an Access to Capital forum in Savannah, Georgia.
The forum will be hosted by Savannah Technical College who recently signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum with the SBA Georgia District Office.

Participating groups include the Small Business Development Center in Savannah, SCORE Savannah, Regions Bank, Truist Bank (formerly BB&T & SunTrust banks), Savannah Economic Development Authority, two Certified Development Companies, a micro-lender, NOW- Account and a venture capital firm. The event will run from 9am through 12 noon and will consist of panels and open discussions. Over three hundred small businesses will attend this event which helps to educate entrepreneurs in credit and select financing options for their businesses. To register, contact the SBA Georgia District Office at 404-331-0100.

Robert Coffey DDD

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, Acting District Director



KY Participates in Multiple Contracting Events in Early 2020

On January 29, the Society of American Military Engineers will host its annual Small Business Workshop in Louisville. The Kentucky District Office is an exhibitor at this event, which promotes the role and relevance of small businesses in SAME through outreach, training, opportunity and recognition. SAME presented multiple small business awards and highlights success stories.

The following day, the KDO will participate in the Metropolitan Sewer District’s 5th Annual “Can You Dig It” event at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville. This is an opportunity for M/WBEs to hear firsthand about upcoming MSD capital construction projects, various contract opportunities, learn about new MSD initiatives, and network with primes, M/WBE contractors, and contracting opportunities with other federal, state and local government agencies.

In the month of February, the KDO will be involved with the area PTAC on a series of webinars on government contracting. Topics include Research Methods to Find Government Contracts, Solicitation Review, Overview of the GSA Schedules and Understanding Small Business Size Standards.

On February 12, the KDO will also be participating in the City of Louisville’s “Breakfast with Small Business Champions” event. Hosted by Mayor Fischer and the Louisville Metro Council, this 5-hour event will highlight small business resources available, including the SBA and its resource partners, small business focused lenders, business development programs and other entrepreneurial programs.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Rural Strong Event – The SBA Mississippi District Office, USDA Rural Development and USDA Farm Service Agency will host “Rural Strong”-Central on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at Holmes Community College Attala Center in Kosciusko, MS. This event will target small businesses and entrepreneurs to learn about SBA and USDA programs and services available to start, grow and expand. Also, take advantage of on-site business counseling, meet with representatives of banks, lending institutions, and contracting officials.

Register For Rural Strong-Central Here




The SBA Mississippi District Office is proud to announce Ashlei N. Donerson as the new Deputy District Director.
Joining the SBA in 2018, Donerson worked in the Office of Government Contracting AREA III as a Procurement Center Representative providing contracting technical assistance to small businesses.
Donerson previously held progressive roles in federal government contracting ranging from Contract Specialist to Supervisory Contracting Officer at federal agencies such as the Department of Veteran Affairs, U. S. Army, Corps of Engineers, and the United States Property and Fiscal Office.
A Mississippi native, Donerson earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Business Administration from Belhaven University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College. Donerson also holds a Level-III Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Welcome to the SBA team, Ashlei!

SBA Surety Bond Education Event – The SBA Mississippi District Office will host a Surety Bond Education Event on Tuesday, March 3rd at the Clyde Muse Center on the campus of Hinds Community College in Pearl, MS. In addition to the SBA Underwriting Marketing Specialist in the Office of Surety Guarantees in Denver, CO, other participants will include SBA Mississippi District staff; representatives from the MS Development Authority’s Model Contractors Bonding Program and PTAC; Federal Buying Agencies with contract opportunities that require bonding; SBA-funded resource partners will be on hand for assistance; SBA 7(j) Contractor’s Federal Contracting Readiness Program; and a Panel highlighting an active SBA Surety Bond company along with a Mississippi small business recipient of SBA guaranteed bonding. More information forthcoming at as well as registration.

Thomas Stith

North Carolina District Office

Thomas A. Stith, III, District Director


North Carolina is ready for 2020

The North Carolina District Office is well-positioned to serve small businesses in the New Year. Through numerous lender visits, training sessions, and outreach events the staff’s commitment to small business success has already resulted in a positive start.

Most recently, DD Thomas Stith participated in a round table conversation to discuss North Carolina’s economic forecast. Stith was one of six panelists asked to discuss small business, access to capital, and the many variables tied to North Carolina’s economy. The event will be highlighted in the February edition of BusinessNC magazine and on

NC District Director Thomas A. Stith III, right, poses with Ben Kinney, publisher, Business North Carolina magazine during the BusinessNC: Economic Forecast 2020 Round Table.

Thomas Stith

Richard White

 South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

On January 15, 2020, the South Carolina District Office started off the new year strong by establishing a strategic alliance with Voorhees College. Voorhees College is a private, historically black college in Denmark, South Carolina that was founded in 1897. This partnership with Voorhees College will bring a collaboration of resources and events that will assist entrepreneurs in starting, growing, or expanding their small businesses in an underserved and rural area of our state. SBA kicked off that partnership by providing a workshop to students and entrepreneurs on SBA resources.


SBA and Voorhees College signing a Strategic Alliance Memorandum

Vorhees Team

Pictured: SBA District Director Gregg White with Voorhees College Administration.

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


Get Ready for 2020 in Tennessee!

The SBA Tennessee District Office (TNDO) hopes to see you at these upcoming events:

  • SBA and USDA Financing in Gallatin on January 30
  • SBIR/STTR Conference in Oak Ridge on Feb 18
  • Nashville Business Journal’s “Mentorship Monday” on Feb 24
  • SBA and USDA Financing along with training on the Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification program in Nashville at the Women’s Business Center on Feb 27
  • Opportunity Zone Statewide conference in Nashville at Tennessee State University (TSU) on March 3
  • US Army Corps of Engineers “Industry Day” in Nashville on March 5
  • Pathway Women’s Business Center annual “Be Bold” International Women’s Day celebration on March 6
  • “Get In The Game” on Surety Bonds, Funding, and Certifications in Knoxville on April 28; and the Music City Small Business Lenders Statewide Conference in Nashville on Aug 19 – 21.

We also hope to see you this summer at the “Tennessee Women’s Business Festivals” around the State; and the annual “Business Development Academy”.

For more information on these upcoming events for Tennessee entrepreneurs, please stay tuned with these communications, contact the SBA Tennessee District Office, and follow us on Twitter @SBA_Tennessee.