A Lawton-based wind turbine maintenance and oil field services company and Chickasha manufacturer of magnetically-activated electrical devices are regional, along with state, winners of this year's Small Business Administration awards.
The co-owners of Lawton's FairWind LLC — Brian Edwards and Brett Bain — are young entrepreneurs of the year, and HSI Sensing Inc., owned by the Posey family in Chickasha, is the family-owned business of the year. As region winners, they'll compete for national awards, which will be announced by the U.S. Small Business Administration during the 50th annual National Small Business Week June 17-21.
The local awards were presented at Oklahoma's SBA awards banquet Thursday at the Skirvin-Hilton Hotel, where Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb thanked guests “for being the backbone of Oklahoma's economy.”
Small businesses comprise 97.2 percent of Oklahoma employers, and those companies employ 53.4 percent of the state's private sector workers, according to presenters.
Lamb said Oklahoma boasts not only the lowest unemployment rate nationwide, but also leads the country in growth of manufacturing jobs — 4.6 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
Regional SBA Administrator Yolanda Olivarez said the SBA can help budding businesses with access to funding, counseling and contracting. The past two years, there has been $30 billion in SBA loans nationwide, and over the past three years, $286 billion in federal contracting, she said.
“That means jobs are being created in communities,“ Olivarez said.
Other Oklahoma SBA winners are:
Small business person of the year: Pam Fountain-Wilks, president of Oklahoma City-based Principal Technologies staffing firm.
Minority small business champion of the year: Armando Rubio, general manager for Tyler Media Group's Telemundo in Oklahoma City.
Veteran small business champion of the year: Morgan Gould, Oklahoma Small Business Development Center in Lawton.
Women in business champion of the year: Teri Aulph, Teri Aulph Consulting LLC in Tulsa.
Small business developmental center excellence and innovation award: University of Central Oklahoma Small Business Development Center.
Incubator of the year award: Moore Norman Technology Center Business Development Center.