Friday, July 16, 2010

Florida SBDC Network Recognizes Performance Excellence

Release Date: July 16, 2010
Contact: Kelly McLeod,


Florida SBDC Network Recognizes Performance Excellence

Pensacola, FL: On June 16, one hundred and fifty Florida Small Business Development Center Network (Florida SBDC Network) staff members and conference attendees gathered to recognize staff, volunteers and resource partners for performance excellence in support of small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Performance Excellence Awards were presented by State Director Jerry Cartwright and the 11 SBDC Regional Directors at the Florida SBDC Network's Annual Professional Development Conference in Sanibel.

"I'm extremely pleased to recognize our 2010 outstanding performers," said Cartwright. "These professionals exemplify our SBDC program's guiding principles of providing customer driven excellence, focusing on value-added results, upholding societal responsibility, and valuing our workforce members and partners. We're very proud of these dedicated individuals who ensure that the state's entrepreneurs and small business owners receive the best information and assistance possible to help their businesses start, grow and succeed."

Florida Awards

The Florida Star of the Year, Jill Kaufman, nominated by the SBDC at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) in Orlando, was recognized as the Florida SBDC Network employee whose contributions to the SBDC program were exemplary with respect to new program development, innovative special projects, client impact and overall Network performance. In her 4 years of service to the Network, Kaufman, Program Manager of the SBDC at UCF's Advisory Board Council Program, has helped her clients create 207 jobs, retain 454 jobs, increase sales by $36,486,655, obtain $9,500,791 in capital formation and win $30,653,474 in contracts. Kaufman will also be recognized as the Association of SBDC’s State Star for Florida at a special event during the National Association of SBDCs 30th Anniversary Conference in September, in San Antonio, Texas.

The Florida Outstanding Resource Partner is Dr. Judith Bense, President of the University of West Florida in Pensacola. The award recognized the partner that provided the most outstanding contributions to the statewide Network with advocacy, financial support, partnership building and advising. President Bense's outstanding contributions include: prioritized the State Director's Office move to the UWF campus which has provided significant budgetary savings to the Florida SBDC Network; enabled the Florida SBDC Network to keep 13 Certified Business Analysts by hosting Miami-Dade and Broward SBDC Regions after Florida Atlantic University terminated its SBDC program in December 2008; prioritized Florida SBDC Network University system-wide federal earmarks for Congressional Delegation support; provided significant support toward the Florida SBDC Network's State of Florida Center designation by the Florida Board of Governors; and Dr. Bense has been the chief advocate in stating the value-added of the SBDC to the University system.

The Florida Volunteer of the Year, Gary Slavin, nominated by the SBDC at UCF in Orlando, was recognized as the regional volunteer that has made the greatest contribution to the Florida SBDC Network. Slavin began working with SBDC at UCF clients in November 1995—his first client still contacts him for business advice! Slavin jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the SBDC at UCF's Advisory Board Council and attended the program’s inaugural reception in 2003, where he signed up to become a volunteer advisor. Since that time, Slavin has served on five advisory boards for the SBDC at UCF/Orange County program. In 2009, he also became a volunteer for the SBDC at Seminole State College’s Advisory Board Council and currently serves on one board for that program.

Regional SBDC Awards

Regional Outstanding Resource Partners, recognized for outstanding contributions to a regional SBDC with advocacy, financial support, partnership building and advising, are the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners nominated by the SBDC at UNF, Jacksonville; Wayne Harris and Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce, SBDC at UWF, Pensacola; Susan Berger, SBDC at Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton; Fifth Third Bank, SBDC at FGCU, Ft. Myers; and South Florida Community College, SBDC at USF, Tampa.

Regional Volunteers of the Year, recognized for the greatest contribution to the regional SBDC with advocacy, counseling, training, program development and special projects, are Martha Cobb, SBDC at UWF, Pensacola; Jorge Arce, SBDC at UNF, Jacksonville; Gary Slavin, SBDC at UCF, Orlando; Francisco Palacio, SBDC at Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton; Terry Cerullo, SBDC at FGCU, Ft. Myers; and Roy DeCastro, SBDC at USF, Tampa.

Regional Certified Business Analysts (CBAs) of the Year, recognized for demonstrating the greatest enhancement of scope, quality and impact of counseling services, are Tom Hermanson, SBDC at UWF, Ft. Walton Beach; Valerie Simmons, SBDC at GCCC, Panama City; Paul Arrington, SBDC at UNF, Jacksonville; Doris Bernal, SBDC at DSC, Daytona Beach; Bill McKown, SBDC at USF, Tampa; Peter Keating, SBDC at FGCU, Port Charlotte; Nanyail Smoke, SBDC at IRSC, Ft. Pierce; Ted Kramer, SBDC at Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton; Camilo Lopez, SBDC Miami-Dade; and Chris Workman, SBDC at FAMU, Tallahassee.

Regional and State Director's Office Employees of the Year, recognized for the greatest contribution to the operations or special projects of the regional SBDC and the State Director’s Office, are Lewis Attardo, State Director's Office, Pensacola; Nancy Orozco, SBDC Miami-Dade; Kilty Spoke, SBDC at UWF, Pensacola; Robin Hill, SBDC at UNF, Jacksonville; Nilda Rivera, SBDC at UCF, Kissimmee; Teri Takahashi, SBDC in Broward, Ft. Lauderdale; Nelson Reyes, SBDC at USF, Tampa; Lorna Kibbey, SBDC at FGCU, Ft. Myers; and Carole Hart, PTAC at Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton.

View photos of all FSBDCN Performance Excellence awardees.

The Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network of 36 centers, is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted by the University of West Florida and accredited through the national Association of SBDCs. For over 30 years, the Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations and has been dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. To learn more about the Florida SBDC Network or to find an SBDC near you, visit or call 1.866.737.7232.

State Director's Office l University of West Florida l 11000 University Pkwy, Bldg 38 l Pensacola, FL 32514
866.737.7232 or 850.473.7800 l

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