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Tommy Vallejos named Minority Small Business Champion for Tennessee

SBA to Honor Top Entrepreneurs during Small Business Week

Tommy Vallejos
Tommy Vallejos

Nashville, TN –Local Pastor and County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos has been selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the minority small business Champion for the state of Tennessee for his work while serving as the Director of the Hispanic Organization for Progress & Education (H.O.P.E.).

When reached by telephone Pastor Vallejos said, “Well it’s a great honor to have been selected as the U. S. Small Business Administration’s Minority Small Business Champion, I’ve always considered it important to champion small businesses, minority owned or not. I was selected for this honor due to my involvement and participation in the minority small business sector during my directorship of H.O.P.E.” 

Vallejos recognizes that there is still much to do, “While minority small businesses have come a long way in this country, we still have a long way to go! I will continue to do my part, helping in any way I can; minorities to become more successful in the business community in this country. It is always nice to be recognized for the contributions you make to your community, and so I thank the Small Business Administration for their recognition.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates National Small Business Week every year for more than the last thirty years. This year, May 20th-26th, 2012  was  designated National Small Business Week with events and award ceremonies held in Washington D.C. SBA Tennessee and Region IV winners will receive their awards at ceremonies in Tennessee during the month of June 2012.

“These award winners represent the many excellent small businesses that we have in the Volunteer State,” said Walter Perry, District Director of SBA’s Tennessee District Office.  “All across Tennessee, our hard working award winners are the very best at what they do.”

Also recognized were:

A Nashville based company has been named a National SBA Small Business Week winner.  Petra Capital of Nashville, a private equity firm, has been named SBA National Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) of the Year, recognizing the firm’s commitment to providing SBIC equity capital since 1999 to small businesses.  Another national winner, Management Solutions LLC in Knoxville, won in the category Small Business National Subcontractor of the Year.  This woman-owned company, founded in 2002 by CEO Misty Mayes, now employees 40 professionals and provides project management support to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory along with holding subcontracts with the Department of Defense.  “This is a great local Tennessee winner and now a national SBA Small Business Week Award winner,” said Perry.

Tennessee’s state SBA winner includes a team of entrepreneurs from Famous Five Dining, Inc., based in Franklin, who have been named SBA Tennessee Small Business Persons of the Year by the SBA.  Michael and Tamara Lister, and Douglas and Laurel Renegar founded Famous Five as franchisees for the nationwide restaurant chain, Famous Dave’s Barbeque, and now own five Famous Dave’s restaurants across Tennessee.  Tennessee state winners including Famous Dave’s Famous Five Dining LLC, will receive their Tennessee SBA awards on June 5th during the SBA Tennessee statewide celebration of Small Business Week.

While in D.C., during the week of May 20th, state award winners had the opportunity to meet with top administration officials, congressional representatives and national business leaders.

Tennessee Small Business Champions

SBA’s Tennessee District also honors Small Business Champions and award winners in several additional categories.  All the winners, along with the location of their businesses:

  • Famous Five Dining, LLC; Tamara and Michael Lister; Laurel and Doug Renegar, founders, Tennessee SBA Small Business Persons of the Year
  • Region IV SBA Home Based Business Champion: Beverley Anderson, Founder, Home Based Business Chamber of Commerce, Memphis
  • Region IV SBA Prime Contractor of the Year:  Glenn Marcum, CEO, Ecostruct, Pleasant View
  • Region IV and National SBA Small Business Subcontractor of the Year:  Misty Mayes, President, Management Solutions LLC, Knoxville.
  • Minority Small Business Champion:  Tommy Vallejos, the former director of the Hispanic Organization for Progress & Education in Clarksville, TN.
  • Financial Services Champions of the Year:  Erick Hicklin from SunTrust Bank (regional bank winner), Nashville and Paula DeBerry from Commerce Union Bank (community bank winner), in Gallatin
  • Veteran Small Business Champion:   Jonathan E. Williams, President & CEO, Tennessee Veterans Business Association, Knoxville
  • Jeffery Butland Family-Owned Business:  Kim Willis, CEO, Columbia Construction Company, Columbia
  • Exporter of the Year:  Barry and Monica Cochran, CEO & President, L.F. Deardorff & Sons, Cleveland
  • Entrepreneurial Success Award;  Phil and Dianna Pipkin, owners, Phil’s Dream Pit, Kingsport
  • Womens’ Business Champions:  Kimberly Bingham and Savannah Gulyas, owners, Sez Sew, Dyersburg.
  • National SBA Small Business Investment Company(SBIC), Michael Blackburn, Petra Capital, Nashville

Events from the three-day schedule for National Small Business Week in D.C. are  available for viewing virtually through SBA’s Website.  Interested parties can register online at the same site, where additional information (updated weekly) is available regarding registration, awards ceremonies, small business forums and educational and matchmaking sessions.

A complete list of all award winners is available on the National Small Business Week Web site at http://www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com.


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