Navy and Air Force Veterans Win SBA Honors for 2017

An Air Force veteran and a U.S. Navy veteran are among the select group of 2017 Small Business Person of the Year winners.

An Air Force veteran who founded a medical logistics company in a cramped rental unit and a U.S. Navy veteran who seeks out contracts to benefit other servicemen and women are just two of this year’s Small Business Person of the Year winners as chosen by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Lars Herman, CEO of Herman Construction Group, Inc., was recently selected as the recipient of California’s Small Business Person of the Year Award. His construction company is based out of Escondido and has been in business since 2009, serving private companies and  Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. Herman, a U.S. Navy veteran, often pursues contracts like those renovating Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospitals so he can give back to other veterans.

This year’s winner from Georgia is another veteran who has transitioned the values and skills learned in the military into a successful career as an entrepreneur. Kevin Boykin is the CEO of Path-Tec LLC in Midland, Georgia.  Currently, his medical logistics company specializing  in packaging, transporting and tracking laboratory specimens owns a 130,000 square-foot facility with over 150 employees. However, Boykin started   the firm in 2005 from a rental storage unit.

All of the winners listed below have been invited to Washington, D.C., on April 30 and May 1 where they will be honored and the 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year, along with three runners up, will be chosen. They come from all of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Coinciding with the event is The National Small Business Week, which has run since 1963 by presidential proclamation on the first week in May.

2017 Small Business Person of the Year Winners


Jodie Ray Stanfield, Owner, Local Joe’s Trading Post, Rainbow City, AL


David McCarthy, CEO; Jason Motyka, CFO, Denali Visions 3000, Denali Park, AK


Vickie Herd, Manager, Extended Family Disability Services, LLC/Bella Rose, Chandler, AZ


Victoria A. Washington, President, Vision Information Technology Consultants LLC, Little Rock, AR


Lars Christopher Herman, President, Herman Construction Group, Inc., Escondido, CA


Lorena P. Cantarovici, Owner, Maria Empanada, Denver, CO


Carla Bartolucci, President, Euro-USA Trading Co., Inc., North Stonington, CT


Donna L. Vanderwende, Owner, Vanderwende Farm Creamery, Bridgeville, DE

District of Columbia

Robert W. Dozier Jr., President & CEO, RWD Consulting, LLC, Washington, DC


Paul Morrow, President, South Dave Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Homestead, FL


Kevin B. Boykin, CEO, Path-Tec, LLC, Midland, GA


Derrick Muna Quinata, CEO/Dealer Principal, Guam Autospot, Hagatna, Guam


Garrett Marrero, President & CEO; Melanie Oxley, Vice President & COO, Maui Brewing Company, Kihei, HI


Eric L. Browning, CEO, Owner and Manager; Steven J. Browning, CFO, Co-Owner, Fin Fun, Idaho Falls, ID


Sonat Birnecker Hart, President; Robert Birnecker, CEO, Koval Distillery, Inc., Chicago, IL


Joey Rivera, Ph.D., President & CEO, Rivera Consulting Group, Sellersburg, IN


Benny Duane Puck, President, Puck Custom Enterprises, Inc., Manning, IA


Ken Bellesine, Owner, Central Electropolishing Co., Inc., Anthony, KS


Debra Dudley, President, Oscarware, Inc., Bonnieville, KY


Alejandro (Alex) Hernandez, President, Hernandez Consulting & Construction, New Orleans, LA


Leigh S. Kellis, Founder/Owner, The Holy Donut, Portland, ME


Kara DiPietro, CEO, HMC Incorporated, Columbia, MD


Victoria Bondoc, President & CEO, Gemini Industries, Inc., Burlington, MA


Jon Lanning, President, Finance, Inontime, LLC, Zeeland, MI


Shirley Joann Wikner, CEO, Aviation Charter and Executive Aviation, Eden Prairie, MN


Mary J. Russell, President and Founder, Sugaree’s Bakery, New Albany, MS


Phillip Cohen, Founder and President, Cohen Architectural Woodworking, St. James, MO


Mark Bretz, CEO and Chairman, Bretz RV and Marine, Missoula, MT


Cody C. Brooks, Owner; Chrystal Brooks, Co-Owner, White River Feed, LLC, Chadron, NE


Dr. Eva D. Littman, Owner, Red Rock Fertility, Sunset Surgery Center, LLC, Las Vegas, NV

New Hampshire

Jake Reder, CEO, Celdara Medical, LLC, Lebanon, NH

New Jersey

Dr. Lisa Aumiller, HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service, Mt. Laurel, NJ

New Mexico

Mario Burgos, President & CEO; David Burgos, Vice President, Burgos Group LLC, Albuquerque, NM

New York

Pamela Newman, CEO, ISS Action, Queens, NY

North Carolina

Michelle Coffino, Owner, Queen City Metal Recycling & Salvage, LLC, Charlotte, NC

North Dakota

Eric Mauch, CEO, Razor Consulting Solutions, Inc. & Razor Tracking, Inc., Watford City, ND


Robert Chapman Kocian, President, The Auto Bolt Company, Cleveland, OH


Melinda Stinnett, Managing Director, Stinnett & Associates, Tulsa, OK


Brandon James Vaughn, President, All-Clean Property Maintenance LLC, Troutdale, OR


Elvin Eugene Stoltzfus, President, Pik Rite, Inc., Lewisburg, PA

Puerto Rico

Victor Miguel Rivera Solanas, President; Maria Paula Rivera Solanas, Vice President, Atencion Atencion, San Juan, PR

Rhode Island

Gary M. Palardy, President and CEO, Blue Moon Industries, Providence, RI

South Carolina

Vickie Wyatt, President, J.I.T. Manufacturing, Cowpens, SC

South Dakota

Beth Hanna, Owner/Director, Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center, LLC, Brandon, SD


Dan LeVan, CEO, EnerG3, Chattanooga, TN


Deborah Paris, President and Manager, StraCon Services Group, LLC, Fort Worth, TX


Stefanie Bevans, CEO; Joshua Bevans, CTO, Design To Print, Inc., St. George, UT


Michael Lawrence Rainville, President, Maple Landmark, Inc., Middlebury, VT


Corliss Udoema, President & CEO, Contract Solutions, Inc., Manassas, VA

U.S. Virgin Islands

Kevin Joseph Schnell, Owner/Operator; Maya Alissa Matthews-Sterling, Owner/Manager, Caribbean Solar Company LLC, St. John, VI


Rozanne Garman, President, RHD Enterprises, Inc., Lacey, WA

West Virginia

Matthew Paul Knott, President & CEO, River Riders, Inc. and Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry, Harpers Ferry, WV


Kristina Pence-Dunow, President & CEO, Hometown Trolley, Inc., Crandon, WI


Janie Celeste Wait, President, Intermountain Record Center, Inc., Casper, WY

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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