Winners chosen by U.S. Small Business Administration
HOUSTON ─ On the popular television series “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs seek valued advice and guidance from a “Shark” and seek funding to grow their businesses. The stories of how they started their businesses and their journey along the entrepreneurial path are always inspiring. The stories of our area entrepreneurs that will be honored on May 7 are even more compelling since their businesses are here. You may know of their business or the owner might be a neighbor.
SCORE Houston will host the Small Business Awards at the JW Marriott, 5150 Westheimer Road on May 7 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. All these entrepreneurs, who will be honored at the event, sought expert advice and funding to grow their businesses. The winners were chosen by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Every year since 1963, the (SBA) takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the nation through National Small Business Week, which will be held May 4-8, 2015. This year’s theme will be “SBA: Dream Big, Start Small.”
Below are stories about the entrepreneurial winners.
The 2015 honorees are:
2015 Small Business Person of the Year
Souhail Adam, Fort Bend Recycling & Metals, Houston
Originally from Sudan, Souhail Adam is President and CEO of McKaskle Industries Coplex, Inc. d/b/a Fort Bend Recycling & Metals. His company employs more than 15 people with sales in excess of $6.9 million.
Opportunity is what drove and inspired Adam to begin his life and career in the United States. In 1984 he came to the U.S. with his father who at the time was the UN Ambassador for Sudan in New York. Working his way through school by selling used cars, he pursued a career in Political Science and History at the University of Houston.
From his humble beginnings selling used cars, Adam is now the owner of companies that are helping the City of Houston in clearing stalled vehicles from the City’s freeways, repairing wrecked and damaged vehicles, storing vehicles that have either been impounded by local law enforcement or in an accident that has rendered the car immobile and a state of the art “green” metal recycling facility that takes old cars and appliances and shreds, compacts or separates the items for re-use in other industries.
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“Souhail Adam is being honored for his achievements as a successful entrepreneur whose innovation and determination have helped boost the Houston economy and contributed to our nation’s economic growth. We look forward to honoring him and the Houston District champion award winners during the Small Business Awards Luncheon,” said Tim Jeffcoat, SBA Houston district director.
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
Brian Swindel, owner Troop Industrial, Port Neches
Brian Swindel, who is Hispanic and spent six and half years in the military, is a decorated Marine veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
He founded his company, Troop Industrial, in July 2005 in Port Neches, selling nuts and bolts from an enclosed trailer he would drive from job site to job site. In a short eight months, as his business continued to grow, he leased a small building. In May 2007, he purchased a commercial building. Within a year, he outgrew his building, tore down the old structure and built an additional warehouse.
The business he started in 2005 has grown to 20 employees four are military veterans.
Marianne Hudson, a Forbes contributor, stated, “We all proudly read the news about the work veterans do protecting our country. However, what often doesn’t make news is the impact these heroes have on the business world.”
Check out these statistics:
- 3 million: The number of businesses veterans run in the United States
- 7 million: The number of people employed by veterans, which equates to $210 billion in annual payroll and $1.2 trillion in sales
- 30 percent: The portion of all American businesses owned by veterans; interestingly, while veterans make up only 8% of the U.S. population, they are twice as likely to own a business as the general population.
Family Owned Small Business of the Year
Greg den Herder, Abby’s Catering, Houston
Abby’s Catering was acquired in 1988 by by Greg den Herder’s mother, Ursula den Herder a former executive flight attendant, , who understood the inadequacies of in-flight catering and was ready to make a difference. By the time Greg became involved, Abby’s Aircraft Catering Service was globally recognized as an industry leader. This allowed Greg to develop the other divisions of Abby’s Catering including corporate catering, a deli and cafeteria management services.
With Greg’s leadership, Abby’s Catering and its divisions have experienced strong growth year after year. It has grown into four food industry divisions and revenues have risen steadily since 2012 with a goal to achieve $25 million in revenue in five years. As of 2014, Greg has grown his employee base to 46 with a goal of reaching 166 staff members in five years.
Greg grew up in Saudi Arabia and started his first company at the age of 10 selling model airplanes. He spent time in the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. and earned his Bachelors of Business Administration at The University of Texas at Austin, graduating with honors
He was accepted to the one year MBA program at Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business in Boston, Massachusetts. For his entrepreneurial thesis, he worked on an actual business that after graduating, he developed and sold in Bora Bora, Tahiti. It was a hotel/dive resort that also boasted the largest restaurant on the island.
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Entrepreneurial Success Award
Dr. Scott Elrod and Dr. Dennis Fink, founders of Ozonics Hunting, LLC, Lake Jackson
Scott Elrod is a doctor of dental surgery and the inventor of the use of oxidation technology for hunters. The discovery occurred in his dental office when he used ozone to remove odor created while cauterizing tissue during surgery. He applied for patent protection in 2004. A year later, he was joined by Dr. Dennis Fink to advance product research and development. Together they formed Ozonics LLC in 2007.
The co-founders of Ozonics maintain a total of 78 percent ownership interest in the company and together with a small group of investors have propelled the business to become the market leader for products that remove odor in the air between the hunter and his/her prey.
Ozonics technology has tremendous opportunities for future product applications in several other industries. These talented and diligent entrepreneurs exemplify the core values of the SBA Small Business Awards.
Women in Business Champion of the Year
Jamie Joiner Guerra, Joiner Law Firm, PLLC, Houston
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Deidra Sutton, University of Houston Procurement Technical Assistance Center
Financial Services Champion of the Year
Marvett Sawyer Howard, Capital One Bank
Sallie Sargent, President and CEO of the Houston Super Bowl committee will be the featured speaker.
Mistress of Ceremonies will be Roseann Rogers, Director of Public Relations & Business Development for John Daugherty Realtors.
For more information about the event, visit www.scorehouston.org or call SCORE at 713-487-6565.
About SCORE Houston
Founded in 1964, SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) is a valuable network of 11,000 volunteers who, through 360 chapters nationwide, offer small business entrepreneurs practical business counseling advice at no charge for the Life of Your Business (from conception to profitable growth).
Houston Chapter of SCORE, with approximately 100 volunteers, has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners in Houston since 1965.
8701 S. Gessner Suite 1200
Houston, Texas 77074