Each year the Small Business Council of America (SBCA) honors a business person with the Small Business Person Award. This Award was renamed “Mort Harris Small Business Person Award” in 2017 in honor of SBCA co-founder Mort Harris who passed away in 2015. The award honors an American businessman or woman for outstanding accomplishments in promoting a favorable environment for the small businesses of America.
The winner will be recognized and honored in person at our 40th Congressional Awards Reception including dinner, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
The Award Committee is seeking nominations from SBCA members who have been in good standing for at least one year. Nominees do not have to be members of the SBCA, but must be U.S. citizens. If you would like to nominate someone for this Award, please send us: (1) a full biography of the nominee, (2) a narrative statement with as much specific information as possible about the nominee’s qualifications for selection; and (3) while not required, we welcome and encourage supporting endorsements from business and government leaders, employees, etc. The narrative statement should include information regarding how the nominee meets the following criteria:
• Dedication to small business in America through promotion of a climate favorable to free enterprise;
• Promotion of a positive image of American business through excellent business, civic or corporate leadership; and
• Leadership in advancing the interest of small business in America by efforts and accomplishments in affecting the legislative and regulatory environment.
To allow adequate time to evaluate the nominees, nominations must be received by by April 1, 2023. Nominations should be mailed to: Small Business Person of the Year Committee, c/o Kathy Glenn, Paley Rothman, 4800 Hampden Lane, 6th Floor, Bethesda, MD 20814. You may also email Kathy email@example.com. You may also email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The award winner will receive a stipend of up to $1,000 to pay for travel expenses to Washington, D.C. and will receive national, regional and local publicity. The award winner will also receive a complimentary SBCA membership for calendar years 2023 and 2024.
From time to time we have been asked for more information on who should be nominated beyond the general criteria listed above. Due to the diverse nature and impact of small businesses, it is not really possible to define one type of person who will receive this award in any given year. However, it might be helpful to highlight a few of our past award winners:
Ÿ The recipient in 2014 was Susan Preston of Seattle, WA. Susan, a general partner of CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, was recognized for her efforts in the advancement of angel investors and women entrepreneurs. Ms. Preston and her company work to help small business ideas become a reality by providing promising entrepreneurs with early-stage investments.
Ÿ In 2016 the Award was presented to Troy Guard from Denver, Colorado. Mr. Guard is head chef and owner of more than nine restaurants in the Greater Denver area providing jobs for more than 400 people. His unwavering commitment to small businesses, has paid off with consumer reviews and constant growth. Troy has helped situmulate a vibrant Denver community which has seen unprecedented economic growth in a time where the nation economy has struggled.
Ÿ In 2017 the recipient was Michael Lastoria from Washington, DC. Mr. Lastoria is the CEO and Co-Founder of the D.C. based fast-casual pizza restaurant &pizza®, which now has eleven locations in D.C. and over twenty locations around the Mid-Atlantic region. At the helm of &pizza, Mr. Lastoria has championed an employee-friendly approach and has been a strong supporter of increasing federal and state minimum wages.
Ÿ In 2018, Becca Riker of Cleveland, OH was honored with the Award. Ms. Riker is the owner of The Mutt Hutt, which is a cage-free canine care center in Cleveland, Ohio. In conjunction with the Mutt Hutt, Ms. Riker also runs Second Hand Mutts which is a non-profit animal rescue.
Ÿ Our recipient 2019 was Kenneth Hoffman of Mount Dora, Florida. Mr. Hoffman is the co-founder of DynaFire, Inc., a fire alarm company now employing over 260 people with the solitary mission of providing the best fire alarm, sprinkler, security and suppression systems to commerical facilities in Central Florida. Mr. Hoffman actually passed away in early 2022. His obituary included the following kind and inspiring words: “During his career, Ken earned many business awards. The one that he felt most honored by was being named the 2019 National Businessman of the Year by the Small Business Council of America.”
Ÿ Our last year’s winner was presented to Nathaniel Winston of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, for exemplifying an entrepreneurial spirit and the success of small business. Mr. Hoffmann is the owner of ECP Auto Repair and Service. Over just fourteen years, through the investment of countless hours, personal sacrifices and sweat equity, Mr. Winston and his business partner grew ECP Auto Repair and Service from an idea to a thriving and well respected business.
As you can see, our award winners come from many parts of the country. They represent the best of us what small business can be and inspire us to continue our advocacy efforts. We encourage you to nominate a small business person for the SBCA’s Mort Harris Small Business Person Award. Nominations should be in letter format along with any other written materials from outside sources to support your nomination.
Nominations are due no later than April 1, 2023.