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Chris Lawson, executive director of the Hamilton Mill, said the national award is a nod to the local operation’s ability to do more with less and meet a bar set high for results based performance.
“There are centers with well over five or six advisers and ours only has two (Riggs and associate director Mark Lankford),” Lawson said. “This is an award that has been given out since President (Lyndon) Johnson’s administration, and we believe according to the state development director, this is the first time a center in Ohio has won.”
He added that the criteria involved with getting the national award involved looking at the overall impact a center has on the business community — like job creation numbers, building partnerships with local financial institutions and developing capital for start-up businesses and training programs.
City Manager Joshua Smith said the SBDC has accomplished all of that and continues to help small business development in the area.
“Small businesses are the foundation of Hamilton. To have our SBDC recognized nationally is truly an honor, as they help new businesses start and existing businesses grow,” Smith said. “Mark and David do a great job and I’m happy their efforts are being recognized.”
Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said the award brings national recognition to the local community.
“What an accomplishment to bring this national recognition to our community of Hamilton,” Bates said. The SBDC is the go-to source for business direction. We are so proud to work with this team of high caliber professionals and pleased they are getting recognized for their outstanding quality work and resources that they deliver on a daily basis.”
Middletown Director of Economic Development Jennifer Ekey said city officials are incredibly proud of the success that the shared Small Business Development Center has achieved and view Lankford and Riggs as “valuable assets in our community.”
“Their contributions to Middletown’s regrowth has been unparalleled as Middletown looks to continue the growth of small businesses in town,” Ekey said. “The Small Business Development Center’s recognition at both the state and national levels is certainly well-deserved.”
Rick Pearce, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce which serves Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, echoed what Bates had to say about the SBDC.
“David and Mark work extremely hard to give their clients the needed information to move their business forward and position them for continued success,” Pearce said. “This award is a testament of their dedication to area businesses. They have always been more than willing to discuss any business issue when the need arises.”
The Butler County-based SBDC competed against nearly 1,000 SBDCs nationwide to earn the honor.
Riggs and his team will attend an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., next month.