SBA: Arizona Entrepreneurs Awarded 2019 Small Business Persons of the Year

Entrepreneurs from Iowa and Virginia also recognized by SBA as Runners-up

Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized and awarded this year’s Small Business Person of the Year, Jennifer Herbert (CEO) and Jeff Herbert (CSO) of Superstition Meadery, LLC from Arizona, during the 2019 National Small Business Week ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“It is my honor to announce that Jennifer and Jeff Herbert of Superstition Meadery, LLC from Arizona are this year’s national Small Business Persons of the Year,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “Thanks to SBA financial and counseling assistance, this outstanding firm successfully grew their business, increasing their revenue by more than 160% between 2015 and 2017, expanded their staff from nine to 20 employees and extended their reach into international markets. Jennifer and Jeff truly represent the best of our nation’s small businesses.”

Superstition Meadery, based in Prescott, Arizona, has been producing unique meads and cider since 2012.  Jeff Herbert got his first taste of the possibilities of creating new flavors of Mead, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey, after taking a brewery course at Chicago’s Seibel Institute. Jeff and Jennifer founded Superstition Meadery in 2012, and that year they produced 300 gallons of mead and cider in a 20 square-foot space. Fruit, herbs, spices and barrel aging are the basics of mead production, a beverage that has been enjoyed across cultures around the world going back 4,000 years.

“I am pleased to see how the SBA assisted Jennifer and Jeff to expand on their idea and grow their business in a unique market,” Pilkerton said. “Entrepreneurs’ skills and creativity not only support their own families, but they also make our neighborhoods and cities vibrant places to live and work. Small businesses fuel our overall economic strength, and the SBA is proud to help empower their success. Congratulations to Jennifer and Jeff, and to our other finalists!”  

As part of the 2019 National Small Business Week events in Washington, D.C., Acting SBA Administrator Pilkerton recognized and awarded all the state and territorial winners, as well as small business owners and industry leadersfor excellence in entrepreneurship, exporting, federal contracting, lending and disaster recovery.

In addition to the national Small Business Person of the Year, two runners-up were recognized:

First Runner-up

Brad Barber (CEO) and Angie Barber (COO)
Cabin Coffee, Clear Lake, IA 

Brad and Angie Barber longed for a place in Clear Lake where the locals could meet, drink a cup of coffee, and enjoy a bagel. In 2001, the couple decided to create such a space. From a single location in 2002, Cabin Coffee has steadily grown from a start-up with no employees to a successful company with a staff of 140, and sales of $5.5 million in 2017.

In 2003, Brad and Angie contacted the SBA’s Small Business Development Center program for guidance on franchising. An SBA 7(a) loan helped the couple open a second location in Mason City in 2009, and a 504 loan in 2017 covered construction costs for the company’s new distribution and franchise support center in Clear Lake. Now there are 15 Cabin Coffee franchises throughout the United States, with more to come. Brad founded two local community organizations—United to Serve, and North Iowa Networking. They also support the North Iowa Vocational Center.

Second Runner-up

Bert Ortiz, Founder/Co-owner, President/CEO
AVMAC LLC, Chesapeake, VA 

A senior aviation management professional with over 40 years of active duty military and business experience, Roberto “Bert” Ortiz’s passion is in integrating and managing aviation and maritime logistics and technical support services while assessing new technologies for future employment.  In 2009, he founded AVMAC LLC. Since its modest beginnings, Bert has grown AVMAC LLC into a multi-million dollar business with revenues exceeding $34 million in 2018.  AVMAC LLC is an SBA certified 8(a) Business Development Program participant and has received a SBA Patriots Express Line of credit and a 20-year SBA 504 debenture loan. Ortiz received assistance from SCORE, SBDC and Veteran Business Outreach Center in Hampton Roads.

Over the past few years, AVMAC LLC was recognized as the 2014 SBA Richmond District Subcontractor of the Year, 2016 SBA Region III Prime Contractor of the Year, 2016 Virginia Governor’s Award and has been selected by Inside Business for three consecutive years as a “Roaring Twenty” awardee. When he’s not growing his business, Ortiz donates his time and money to EquiVets, a riding program for vets with PTSD, homeless veteran housing, Toys for Tots, the Virginia Veterans & Family Support organization, to name a few.  Ortiz is currently mentoring three small start-up veteran-owned businesses.

To learn more about National Small Business Week and read the bios on all the winners please visit www.sba.gov/nsbw

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.