SBA: Illinois Entrepreneur Awarded 2018 National Small Business Person of the Year

Entrepreneurs from West Virginia, New Mexico and Louisiana also recognized by SBA as Runners-up

Linda McMahon, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration today recognized and awarded this year’s Small Business Person of the Year at a ceremony and reception at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

“It is my pleasure to announce that Rebecca Fyffe, the owner and Director of Research of Landmark Pest Management from Schaumburg, Illinois is this year’s national Small Business Person of the Year,” McMahon said. “Rebecca took over a struggling business in 2001 when she was 25 years old; one of only a few women in the industry and the youngest pest control company CEO in the country.  Since then, her company has prospered under her leadership, growing from 18 to 70 full-time employees with substantial revenue growth.”

Landmark Pest Management is located in the Chicago metropolitan area. The company furnishes innovative residential, commercial and municipal pest management services. Landmark’s approach to pest control is science-based, featuring the most up-to-date methods, many of which were developed by the company through field trials and proprietary innovations. This year Landmark is expanding service to neighboring areas in Michigan, Indiana and Missouri along with exploring expansion opportunities in California and New York.

“Rebecca has built an exemplary pest control firm and is so deserving of this award.  She has been an inspirational leader in STEM, embracing science and technology to innovate in her field and beyond,” McMahon said. “I’m so pleased that Rebecca has benefited from the services we provide through the SBA.  Through the knowledge she acquired from an SBA-backed Women’s Development Center, she applied for and was approved for an SBA-backed 7(a) loan that provided the capital she needed to expand her business.”

McMahon personally recognized and awarded all the state and territorial winners and commended all of them for their hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to their employees and community have helped each of them build very successful businesses.

In addition to the national Small Business Person of the Year, three runners –up were recognized and awarded:

First Runner-up
Douglas Tate
President  & CEO
Alpha Technologies, Inc.
Hurricane, West Virginia

Douglas Tate joined the U.S. Army directly out of high school. He served with distinction for nine years including time in a special infantry unit where he saw action on the front lines. During his military career he studied data communications and engineering. Tate was forced into medical retirement from a service related injury but the skills he learned while enlisted helped him become a critical thinker and shaped his path to entrepreneurship.

Alpha Technologies, formed in 2000, is a business technology focused company providing comprehensive solutions to allow clients to focus on business growth while Alpha manages their technology. The company staffs more than 40 employees, serves 10 states and 17 countries.

Tate has utilized many SBA programs and services, including: Small Business Development Center counseling that led to getting VA certification as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business; counseling from SBA leading to them receiving a grant from the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce; Federal Acquisition Management training taught by SBA, and a $4.8 million SBA international trade loan to build a 35-mile high-capacity fiber ring around Charleston, West Virginia.

Second Runner-up
Jasper Riddle
President/Winemaker
Noisy Water Winery
Ruidoso, New Mexico

Jasper Riddle was thrust into business ownership upon returning home to buy controlling shares in his family’s new company in 2010.  The young entrepreneur transformed a struggling winery into a thriving employer in rural New Mexico.

Noisy Water Winery now has six locations, in four cities, with 44 employees.  Jasper took advantage of training and counseling from the local Small Business Development Center, and was able to accomplish a 38 percent growth in sales, and a 124 percent net profit increase. He also converted his production facility to solar power using a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Jasper is a business leader invested in the well-being of his hometown.  All proceeds from his “Tighty Whitey White” wine go to scholarships for local high school students, and he regularly donates to area nonprofits.  A board member of four local economic development organizations, Jasper is committed to the growth of his community.

Third Runner-up
Keith O’Neil Porta
Managing Member
APC Construction, LLC
Harvey, Louisiana

Keith O’Neil Porta, the son of immigrant parents who fled the Nicaraguan Revolution, is living proof that dreams really do come true. He knew early on that his passion was running his own business. So with $500, an old Toshiba computer, a folding table and a birthday gift from his mother, he started APC Construction in 2006.

In its first year, APC grossed $24,000.  Now it has gross revenue of $24,700,000, $2,000,000 net profit and employs 165 people. APC is 8(a) and HUBZone certified and in 2017 purchased an eight acre waterfront yard and office in Harvey, Louisiana. There are also offices in Hyattsville, Maryland and Tamuning, Guam and numerous 8(a) and HUBZone contracts.

Porta contributes to Operation Hope, Wildlife Agent’s Association, American Diabetes Association, and several others.  He is Chair for the Southern Regional Minority Development Council.

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

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