Duquesne SBDC gets funding via CARES Act

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Here's how the money will be put to work to help small businesses deal with Covid-19 related challenges.

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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Saint Francis University SBDC Honors Small Business Award Recipients

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The Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center honored the winners of the 2012 Small Business Awards at their annual Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 13.  The event attracted 80 attendees to the JFK Center on the Saint Francis University campus.

The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of the Southern Alleghenies Region’s most successful entrepreneurs and small business advocates. The winners are as follows:

Small Business Person of the Year

Dave Whysong
Weissang, Inc.
New Paris, PA (Bedford County)

After nearly 10 years working for someone else in the pharmacy industry, David decided it was time to open his own business. He took a small loan from his parents and started Whysong’s Pharmacy in October 2003 with the first location in New Paris, PA.  The business was started from scratch and had to build a completely new customer base.  During the first full year of business, gross sales reached $1M.  Sales continued to increase and this allowed for the expansion of the business by purchasing Fisher’s Pharmacy located in Bedford, PA.  This gave the business a second location in Bedford County.  The business employees 13 people and by the end of 2012, gross sales are expected to reach $5M.

David is also involved in the local community. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and has been a sponsor for the Bedford County Fair.  He had devoted his time and energy to several other non-profit organizations and worthy causes throughout Bedford County and the surrounding area. 

Small Business Exporter of the Year

Guy Berkebile
Guy Chemical Company, Inc.
Somerset, PA (Somerset County)

Founded in 1995, Guy Chemical Company, Inc. specializes in filling viscous materials into metal and plastic squeeze tubes and cartridges. Guy Chemical, a dedicated contract packager offers blister packing and assembly work in both high and low volumes.  The company packages automotive, industrial and home consumer items.  With over 20 years of experience in liquid, powder and squeeze tube packaging, Guy Chemical ensures top quality packaging for its customers

The first order in 1995 was for a client in Egypt.  Since 1995, over 70% of its products are shipped outside the United States. In 1995 Guy Chemical had $32K in sales and had no employees.  Today, Guy Chemical Company, Inc. has 60 employees and sales of greater than $20M.  The company has faced a number of challenges with local language laws and regulations in a number of countries.  They have overcome these with language specific blister cards and, when necessary, supplemental labels in local languages.  Guy Chemical has been successful at formulating and sourcing chemicals and packaging components to meet the specific requirements of its international customers.  Guy has also shared his knowledge of international business to local companies who are new to exporting. 

Financial Services Advocate of the Year

Glenn L. Wilson
AmeriServ Financial
Johnstown, PA (Cambria County)

Mr. Wilson is a banking veteran.  During a career of over 35 years, he has directed banking operations in Maryland with PNC Bank, Citizen’s National Bank, NationsBank and Maryland National Bank.  His experience covers many areas of banking, but business banking is his strength.  A highlight of Glenn’s career is his involvement with RMA – Risk Management Association, which is comprised of thousands of banks and associate members in the U.S. and abroad.  Glenn served locally and nationally, including being elected as RMA’s National chair in 2006.  Glenn is also a member of the Community Depository Institute Advisory Council (CDIAC) for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.  The CDIAC provides a forum for community bankers to share insights to better serve their communities.

But it was the allure of making a difference in more personal hometown communities, like Johnstown, that brought him to AmeriServ in 2009 as president and CEO.  Mr. Wilson is a board member of the Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Johnstown Regional Partnership, as well as the Lift Johnstown initiative.  He also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  In 2010 he initiated and chaired the Tocqueville Society, a group of community-minded neighbors who can contribute $10K or more to United Way of the Laurel Highlands’ agencies.  In 2011, he was elected to the Board of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.  He was recently asked to form and chair the Downtown Driving Force Committee to focus civic and government leaders in selecting a “hallmark” redevelopment project to fast track.

During the most recent recession, Mr. Wilson and his bank organized a Task Force to monitor troubled loans and take proactive steps that include counseling and providing financial options to those businesses struggling in the difficult economy.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Jonathan Miller
Dimples, LLC
Ashville, PA (Cambria County)

Jonathan Miller’s interest in entrepreneurship dates from his high school days. His latest business is Dimples LLC.  Dimples helps individuals and organizations to conserve ink/toner when printing documents.  It was born out of an appreciation for the printed word and the desire to save money while reducing the harmful effects that inks and toners have on the environment.  Its patent-pending method produces unique perforations (or ‘dimples’) in fonts that curb the use of expensive printer ink/toner while causing the printed text to appear whole to the human eye.  Dimples was formally organized in 2011 after having been in the planning stages for several years.  Jonathan has received recognition in several business pitch competitions at both Saint Francis University and Mount Aloysius College.  Additionally, he was selected as a participant in the Innoblue start-up program at Penn State University.  The Dimples process is currently patent pending and efforts are underway to expand the scope and outreach of the company and its products. 

The Richard Crawford Award

Honorable Mark Critz
12th Congressional District

Congressman Mark Critz knows western Pennsylvania.  Growing up in Westmoreland County, Mark spent more than a decade working on behalf of western Pennsylvanians as a congressional staffer for Congressman John P. Murtha, first as his director of Economic Development and then as district director.  What Mark took away from his time with Mr. Murtha is that being a good congressman means being a good public servant and that no selfish or party interests should supersede the needs of the people whom you represent.

Mark sits on the House Small Business Committee and is currently the ranking member on its Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee - fighting to ensure that the ideas and concerns of our local small businesses are heard in Washington, D.C.

In March 2012, he initiated “Critz Small Business Week” creating an opportunity to learn from our local small businesses – what works, what doesn’t work, and how we in the federal government can help small businesses grow and create new jobs.  In one week, 104 small businesses were visited in Allegheny, Armstrong, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.  The SBDC, SBA and other organizations participated in a number of these meetings.  Critz Small Business Week was an opportunity to reach constituents and small businesses that don’t always receive much attention from the federal government.  Mark and his staff visited farms, community markets and pharmacies, restaurants, advertising companies, nursing homes, machine shops, hair salons and more.

Congressman Critz understands and truly appreciates the impact of small business on the local, regional and national economy.  He has reached out to organizations such as the Saint Francis SBDC to provide input and information on various small business issues.  As such, he is a worthy recipient of the Crawford Award.