What's Next for SBA? Entrepreneurs, Find Out Here!

SBA Southeast Regional Update 


January 2022

u s small business administration

What Does SBA Look Like Post-Recovery??

Allen Thomas

Allen M. Thomas
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

The SBA is as strong as ever and stands by ready to assist small businesses across the country. Under SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman’s leadership, the SBA continues to offer an array of resources and programs to help small businesses reset, retool, and progress during these challenging times. The SBA is committed to a customer-centric approach across all our programs and we are focused on using innovation and collaboration to help strengthen the newly scaled SBA to ensure we can support making our entrepreneurs’ dreams a reality.

The SBA supports established small business owners and startups through our traditional lending portfolio: 7a Loan Program (working capital), 504 Loan Program (real estate, equipment, manufacturing, microloans (loans under $50,000 that are accompanied with technical assistance) – all of which had a historic year in Fiscal year 2021. In the innovation realm, SBIRs/STTRs continue to support small businesses in accessing new opportunities, such as climate focused manufacturing, presented in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The SBA offers a variety of assistance to all entrepreneurs regardless of where they fall in the business lifecycle. The SBA has an extensive outreach network: Community Navigators, Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE business mentoring, and more.

SBA is still working around the clock to support the COVID-19 Recovery Programs that operated through SBA. SBA is still providing relief to thousands of PPP recipients through its direct forgiveness portal. The SBA’s dedicated staff continues to work diligently to process applications that were received by Dec. 31 for COVID EIDL, Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance. The SBA is unable to process Supplemental Targeted Advance EIDL applications after Dec. 31, however those for the EIDL (loan) component or Targeted Advance will be processed after Dec. 31, until funds are exhausted.

Our SBA team stands by ready to assist you in whatever your entrepreneurial needs may be. Please work with your local SBA district office to identify the resources that will be most beneficial for you and your small business. Our goal is to help create entrepreneurial success to last many generations yet to come.

Hear from YOUR Local

SBA District Office

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director


Highlighting SBA Alabama's Outstanding Staff

Congratulations to SBA Alabama's Roderick Perkins!

Rod Perkins

The Ike Awards recognize distinguished employees who have made superior contributions toward SBA’s mission and goals. 

The Administrator’s Award is the highest honor an SBA employee, team or program office can receive for demonstrating outstanding services in the successful accomplishment of the Agency’s mission and strategic goals.

On December 9, 2021, our Lead Lender Relations Specialist Roderick Perkins was recognized for his commitment and dedication to serving Alabama’s small business community.

Congratulations to Roderick Perkins, of the Alabama District Office, recipient of the 2021 Administrator’s Award.

Welcome SBA Alabama's New Business Development Office & Administrative Officer!

Sandrieka Moore



The SBA Alabama District Office is excited to welcome Sandrieka Moore, the new Business Development Specialist/Administrative Officer to the team! Ms. Moore is no stranger to the federal sector, and we are confident that she will be a wonderful asset as we strive to provide services to the small business community.  


Welcome SBA Alabama's New Public Information Officer!

Megyn Rodriguez

Megyn Rodriguez is a California native and first-generation college student. She first earned her bachelor’s degree in multi-ethnic studies from Boise State University after receiving several scholarships and was an active participant in the “Ronald E. McNair Scholars” Program, which seeks to increase post-baccalaureate degrees among underrepresented students.

Megyn went on to receive a fellowship and a U.S. Peace Corps master’s international degree in Public Administration from the Evan’s School of Public Policy and Governance in Seattle, Washington which launched her federal service career in the U.S. Peace Corps. She served two years in the business development sector in Caribbean coast of Colombia, primarily working with micro businesses and other economic development projects by working with artisans, farmers, and other vendors.

After Peace Corps, she worked with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing permanent resident and naturalization applications. While it was a wonderful experience to be a part of an immigration journey, she missed working with small business owners and entrepreneurs and therefore, sought the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). She joined the Alabama District Office as an Outreach and Marketing Specialist in April of 2021 and has enjoyed many responsibilities since, such as managing the 2021 Birmingham Emerging Leaders program, connecting with the local SCORE chapter, creating several public events to promote the SBA brand, and recently she has excepted the market duty of Public Information Officer this year! She most recently was selected as a 2022 finalist for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s “Presidential Management Fellows” program. While it is currently undetermined if she will be become a fellow, it is still an honor to be a finalist in a highly competitive program.

As a dedicated public service, Megyn is excited to share SBA’s resources and truly hopes to assist Alabamians start, grow, expand, or recover their small business.

Malcolm Richards

North & South Florida District Offices

Jon Malcolm Richards, District Director


Malcolm Richards is currently the District Director for the SBA North Florida District Office and the Acting District Director for the SBA South Florida District Office.


SBA North Florida Event:

Unlocking the Tools to Mentorship, Credit and Access to Capital

Join the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as we celebrate 2022 African American/Black History Month.  This year virtual event is geared toward unlocking tools, for those that are in the planning stages, aspiring entrepreneurs, and small business owners, and will run for 3 weeks in February.  We have presenters lined up for each session, that will bring key information and valuable resources, that will make attending worth your time!

Session Time 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Each Date)

  • (Session 1) SBA and Resource Partners - February 1, 2022
  • (Session 2) Understanding Credit - February 8, 2022
  • (Session 3) Access to Capital - February 15, 2022

The virtual sessions are free to attend, but remember mark your calendar and register to save your virtual spot by clicking here!  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact natalie.hall@sba.gov or rosalind.bryant@sba.gov.

Photos of four people with the following text, Black History Month. The SBA logo is at the bottom.

The virtual sessions are free to attend, but remember mark your calendar and register to save your virtual spot by clicking here!  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact natalie.hall@sba.gov or rosalind.bryant@sba.gov.

SBA South Florida Event & News:

On February 10th, join the SBA South Florida team virtually as they present during the Miami Dade 2022 Supplier Diversity Exchange!

To register: MiamiDadeExchange.Eventbrite.com

Please help us welcome Hernan M. Mayol to the SBA team as the SBA's Office of International Trade Export Finance Manager located in Miami. Hernan brings a wealth of experience including over 25 years experience in Banking, Sales and Business Development.

Hernan is an expert in trade and export finance products, supply chain and transaction banking serving. He has been as a trusted advisor to companies (small business / middle market / large corporate / financial institutions) requiring credit solutions to optimize their working capital, better manage foreign risks and reduce operating costs.

We look forward to working with Hernan and we are excited to work alongside him in the area of International Trade. Welcome aboard, Hernan!

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

New Year Resolutions for Small Businesses

By Terri Denison

SBA Georgia District Director

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for entrepreneurs to start thinking about resolutions for their small business.

Consider these four resolutions to help you stay on track and prepare for a more successful 2022:

Resolution #1 - Re-evaluate your business plan

It’s not the most exciting part of owning a small business, but proper planning allows you to consider every aspect of your operation. It helps you identify potential pitfalls and even opportunities so that you’re better prepared for a variety of situations.

Revisit and update your plan’s goals, financials, competitor research, marketing ideas, and more. Also make it a goal to review and modify your plan, as needed, throughout the year to get and keep your business on point.

Resolution #2 - Keep your business “house” in order

Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company, the ongoing success of your enterprise depends on creating and maintaining an effective record system.

Keep organized records on your employees, payroll, tax forms, bank statements, financial transactions, insurance, business licenses and registrations to name a few.  

Are your current systems still sufficient for where your business is now?  If they aren’t, this is the time to start upgrading.

Resolution #3 - Harness technology to your advantage

Consider using e-commerce to widen your customer base and increase revenues. Start or revamp your social media presence to boost your brand exposure. Use or upgrade software to optimize your record keeping and project management.

Deploying technology in key parts of your business operations will help you work more efficiently and effectively and put your company in a better competitive position.

Resolution #4 - Leverage the SBA’s offerings

The SBA has programs and services to help you at any stage  in the life of your business. You can take advantage of our free, online learning platform with dozens of small business courses, or you can get free mentorship and counseling from our SBA partner network.

There are programs for non-COVID related business financing as well as to help you start new business activities, such as exporting or government contracting.

For more New Year resolution ideas and information on SBA programs and services, visit www.sba.gov.

Robert Coffey

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, District Director

   Kentucky’s Tommie Causey Retires After 29-Year Career with SBA

After 29 years of service, Tommie Causey, Lead Economic Development Specialist for the SBA Kentucky District Office retired. His last day was December 30, 2021.

Tommie worked initially in the SBA South Carolina District Office. In the mid-1990’s, when his wife took a position with the IRS in Louisville, he transferred to Kentucky District Office. In addition to his EDS duties, Tommie was also the Veterans Business Development Officer as well as the Liaison for the two SCORE Chapters and the Women’s Business Center of Kentucky for many years.

Tommy Causey

Additionally, for over eight years Tommie was involved in the SBA Boots to Business (B2B) and Boots to Business Reboot programs at both Ft. Knox and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He helped identify subject matter experts for the curriculum, organized the logistics, assisted in recruiting participants and promoted the 3-day program each month on both Army bases, in conjunction with the Kentucky SBDC network.

Those who know Tommie will agree that this was his passion – assisting active-duty military and veterans who were interested in exploring entrepreneurship for the next stage of their careers. He also collaborated with community leaders, particularly those focused on minority and veterans’ issues, to identify and assist those early stage and growing small businesses across the state.

With over 20 years of experience in federal contracting, lending, and economic development, Tommie frequently accessed, researched and identified national and local market trends and opportunities for small businesses. In particular, these efforts could uncover government contracting opportunities for those small businesses.  

Tommie was a proud veteran of both the U.S. Army and Air Force and a family man. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement, Tommie.    

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Ocean Springs, MS Small Business Highlighted in Honor of National Mentoring Month

Tim and Barbara Alamsha were veterans of the music business when they decide to open Rock U2 in May 2011. They had performed together as working musicians and Tim previously worked as an entertainment director for both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida.

Barbara has over 20 years of performance and entertainment experience in a wide range of musical styles while Tim has decades of experience in the entertainment industry as well. He is a music producer with knowledge in engineering, arranging, co-writing and composing all styles of music and video production.

Once settled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the couple turned their attention to what they wanted to do professionally. They knew they wanted to work together again and do something involving children and music.

Rock U 2

Drawing on Tim's experience working with the legendary Gladys Knight in developing a curriculum for Knight's Talent Camp for Children, as well as a list of things they wished they would have had available to them as young musicians inspired the opening of Rock U2.

"We wanted to be more than just private lessons," Barbara said. "We wanted to be a place where there could be a lot of interactive programs that uses the band program as a primary focus area. The band program takes it to another level when they have the opportunity to be able to work as a team, to learn discipline, and commit to goal-setting.”

ROCK U 2 believes that performing is an important component to the creative zeal found in musically inclined individuals and there is no substitute for the time spent on stage. Quarterly concert and recital opportunities are provided for all their students. These performances assist with goal setting, learning to work as a team, and building a student's confidence and self-esteem.  Private music lessons are offered for ages 5 through adult on various instruments most notably the piano, drums, signing, and stringed instruments. In addition to specialized instruction involving horned instruments the students also able to register to be part of a band or vocal performance group complete with professional recording studio assets. This makes ROCK U 2 a haven of sorts for both current and aspiring songwriters. Lastly, the studio is equipped with video production capabilities that allow artists to promote their talents using audio visual provisions.    

Both revenues and the number of employees who support ROCK U 2 have been steady. From 2014 to 2017, ROCK U 2 sales grew by 140 percent leading increases in employee capacity of 150 percent. This is attributable to the substantial gains in equity value for the firm since its opening. Making this possible is the diversified business model employed by ROCK U 2 that involved the purchase of a 9,000 sq. ft. facility that allows the company to diversify its product offerings such as dance/ballet classes and theatrical training.  

Time and Barbara received counseling from SCORE to develop a business plan that would later be used to initiate this venture. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) proved pivotal in the assistance conveyed when they decided to expanded their operation.   

With funding for music and theatre arts programs being cut in public schools across the country, the Alamshas’ responded by created a non-profit organization that helps provide scholarships to students involved in the performing arts. This charity formed in 2011, targets under-served students residing in Harrison and Jackson counties. Tim and Barbara Alamsha with Rock U 2 were the winners of the 2018 Mississippi Small Business Persons of the Year.

In 2020 during the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Tim and Barbara were able to obtain funding for their business under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP Loan) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to sustain the business due to the loss of revenue.

Michael Arriola

North Carolina District Office

Michael Arriola, District Director

Happy New Year from the SBA North Carolina district office to all our small business owners! The start of a new year is a great time to take a fresh look at your business by evaluating where you are now and where you want to be.  It’s an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the many SBA resources that are available for small businesses.

Here in North Carolina, there are nine SCORE chapters, five Women's Business Centers, sixteen Small Business and Technology Development Centers, and one Veterans Business Outreach Center. These SBA-sponsored resource partners can help with individualized counseling and in-depth training geared toward financing and other aspects of starting and growing your business.  Connect with a local SBA resource partner today.

Apex NC

Our 2020 Small Business Person of the Year perfectly captures how SBA assistance works in real life.

Bill Howe started Apex Instruments in 1988 in his home in Apex, North Carolina.  Initially, Apex Instruments provided emission measurement equipment, training, consulting, and testing services for the manufacturers of residential wood heaters.

“From the very start we were under-capitalized,” said Howe. “The first few years we had to conduct stack tests and certify wood stoves to generate revenue. I would buy surplus equipment from EPA auctions and recondition the equipment for resell.”

In April of 1989, Apex Instruments earned its Certificate of Accreditation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  However, by the end of 1994, Howe sold the wood heater testing division and moved to a new manufacturing facility to focus on designing, manufacturing, and distributing emission measurement sampling equipment.  This realignment put Apex Instruments in the market for products that measured the emissions of boilers, furnaces, power plants, and steel mills.

“We’ve had three downturns in the market over the history of the company,” said Howe. “During these downturns we’ve had two distributors go bankrupt while owing us over $200,000. We reduced staff through attrition during these difficult times and manufactured items that had low material cost to keep staff employed.”

It was during the first of these downturns that Apex Instruments reached out to the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) for counseling and training.

“Over the years Apex has grown due to our relationship with the SBTDC,” said Howe. “We have used their resources for counseling and training in the areas of global strategy, global marketing, supply chain, and trade finance.”

Apex has also used student engagement programs through the SBTDC to assist with international market research, distribution strategies, and human resource management.

Today, Apex Instruments is based in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, has 38 employees, and consists of five buildings with over 40,000 sq. ft. of office, manufacturing, and warehouse space. Additionally, Apex Instruments now has distributors in over 40 countries and foreign customers in approximately 100 countries.  “It goes without saying that we owe our success in large part to the support we receive from the SBA and the NC SBTDC International Business Development team,” said Howe.

Richard White

South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director


Join SBA’s South Carolina District Office for 46 Counties in 46 Days— an initiative to increase awareness of resources available to small businesses across the state. At least one outreach event will be held in each county between February and March, including information on:

  • Business start-up
  • Lending
  • Contracting
  • Disaster Preparedness

To register for an event in your county, visit www.sba.gov/sc.

Use the calendar feature to search 46 Counties in 46 Days and click the registration link.

46 counties 46 days

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


SBA Tennessee staff are preparing to see you at these upcoming VIRTUAL events focused on government contracting for small businesses, minority businesses, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, veteran owned businesses, and woman owned businesses. 

Best Practices to Get Into the Transportation Industry

If your firm is DBE, 8(a) certified, WOSB/woman owned, Veteran owned, or in the Transportation and Construction industry:

Don’t forget to register for the US Department of Transportation’s Women In Transportation Initiative (WITI) Round Table Webinar, to hear best practices from several firms in the transportation industry, including an SBA Tennessee 8(a) Firm.   The VIRTUAL event is January 27, 2022, at 2p Central. Register here: USDOT MSA SBTRC/Access 2022 - WITI Tennessee CEOs Round Table Talk Webinar Tickets, Thu, Jan 27, 2022 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite

Come prepared to share information about your company’s capabilities for these opportunities and to promote your business at these events:

VIRTUAL Contracting Expo focused on LOCAL Government contracting opportunities in EAST TENNESSEE

On Thursday, March 3rd, SBA Tennessee will be taking part in the 4th Annual Knoxville Diversity Business Expo. This year’s expo will be VIRTUAL and provides businesses the opportunity to meet procurement staff to discuss opportunities in both Knox County and the City of Knoxville.  Local agency decision makers with purchase authority will be present; and general contractors will also be on hand to provide an opportunity for networking (which could lead to teaming, joint ventures, etc.). 

In addition, The Knoxville Area Urban League (thekaul.org) will provide an update on the construction project for the Multi-use Stadium. Sessions will include the timeline for construction drawings and bid package information, along with capacity building training dates and times. There will also be break out rooms for the 30 Contractors who have been awarded bid packages and are looking to connect with subcontractors.

Information about this project is available www.thekaul.org/baseball/.

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Pre-registration by February 24, 2022 is required!

Register Here

VIRTUAL SMALL BUSINESS INDUSTRY DAY –– Annual Contracting Training & Expo focused on FEDERAL Government contracting opportunities - Nashville

This is your opportunity to network with other small businesses and with larger prime contractors to meet, greet, and potentially partner on federal contracting opportunities.  You will also get face to face time with procurement officials and decision makers within the US Army Corp of Engineers- Nashville District and multiple other federal agencies – as well as access to training and technical assistance.

TN Small Business Industry Day

Please NOTE that this event was scheduled to be IN PERSON but will now be VIRTUAL and a new date is forthcoming.  Contact the District Office for any questions at TN@sba.gov  or the Tennessee State University Nashville SBDC at Nashville Center | TSU - TSBDC | Tennessee Small Business Development Centers.