SBA to honor W.Va. business leaders

By Megan Workman
CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Diane Lewis, who started her Morgantown business in the basement of her home 12 years ago, will be honored as West Virginia's Small Business Person of the Year at an awards luncheon May 29.In 2001, Lewis hired her then 17-year-old son as her first employee at Action Facilities Management.Today, AFM, which gives government and commercial contract services and specializes in providing site management services, has more than 200 employees.The company's clients include the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The state Small Business Administration will recognize Lewis and four other West Virginia business professionals at the 2013 state Small Business Week Awards celebration in Morgantown in conjunction with the 2013 Teaming to Win conference.The 23rd annual Teaming to Win event runs May 28 and 29 at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center. Registration is still open.The conference offers business support through training and informational sessions, networking opportunities and exhibits. Keynote business development speaker Morris Morrison, a Fairmont native, will tell his personal story to educate participants about growth and success.West Virginia University President James Clements and Anthony Cugini, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, will also speak at the conference.Lewis credits the success of AFM to a combination of networking, teaming and hard work and encourages other business owners looking for growth opportunities to attend the Teaming to Win conference, she said on the event's website."My company grew substantially because of the opportunities I encountered through Teaming to Win," Lewis said on its website. "Not only was I able to connect directly with the SBA and other federal agencies to help guide the growth of my venture, but I also met with larger contractors who gave me a chance to partner with them."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., a keynote speaker at SBA's awards ceremony this year, said in a news release that Lewis' award is a tremendous honor for her."Diane is such a shining example of what it means to build a company from the ground up and see tremendous success, providing jobs and helping boost the local economy," Rockefeller said. "Her company's growth in the last 12 years proves that hard work and innovative thinking pay off in big ways."The SBA named Lewis as the Minority Small Business Champion in 2010.Other award recipients this year include:
* West Virginia Small Business Exporter of the Year: Timothy Warden, president of Engart Inc in Beckley.* West Virginia Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: Jonathan Bellingham, director of marketing at Capon Springs and Farms Inc. in Capon Springs.* West Virginia Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year: Mathew Thomas, owner of Thomas|Work in Greenbrier County.* West Virginia Minority Small Business Champion of the Year: Christina Lundberg, manager at the Small Business Development Center-Eastern Panhandle in Martinsburg.To register for the Teaming to Win conference and/or the SBA awards ceremony, visit Megan Workman at or 304-348-5113.
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