Small-Business Stars of 2013: State Standouts Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes one person from each state and U.S. territory to be considered for a national title.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Small-business owners, as a group, are generally well respected. But each year, one is highlighted by the U.S. Small Business Administration as small-business person of the year.

Criteria used to judge the candidates include product innovation, efforts to drive sales and create jobs, community involvement and overcoming adversity. The winner will be announced at the end of National Small Business Week, which runs from June 17 to June 21.

From beekeeper suppliers to nanoneedle manufacturers, here's who is in the running.

Ellen M. Didier, president of Red Sage Communications Inc.
Strategic marketing, branding, graphic design and website development.

Doug Coon and Justin Herrin, owners of Young's Gear LLC
Automotive parts and service business.

John L. Stonecipher, president and CEO of Guidance Aviation Inc.
High-altitude flight school.

Charlott Adney, president of Advanced Aesthetics of Arkansas Inc.
Advanced skin care, including the sale of cosmetic products and laser treatments.

Michael "Jason" Ianni, president of M Bar C Construction
Design and install solar carports and canopies.

Virginia McAllister, principal of Iron Horse Architects Inc.
Architecture development, design and construction.

Christopher R. Runyan, president of Runyan Enterprises LLC, does business as GameXChange
Franchises retail store that sells, purchases and trades new and used electronic gaming hardware, software and accessories.

Coleman E. Bye III, president and owner of The Mercantile Press Inc.
The oldest printing company in Delaware, founded in 1871.

District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
Tom. J. Loftus, president, founder and CEO of LS Technologies LLC
Full-service program management and technical support services firm, does work for the U.S. federal government and private commercial clients.

Steve Miller, founder and president of EPreward
Medical recycling services.

Beth Cayce, founder and CEO of CaraVita Home Care
In-home personal care services for seniors; Caregiver Academy for family members to learn the skills necessary to care for loved ones.

Christopher F. Bejada, president and Director of Hospitality at Marianas Slingstone Inc., does business as PROA
Restaurant specializing in Chamorro cuisine native to Guam.

David Yogi Jr., P.E. and James K.P. Kwong, Ph.D., P.E., co-founders of Yogi Kwong Engineers LLC
Geotechnical engineering firm specializing in trenchless technology, which allows underground work on sewers and water mains in urban areas without having to reroute traffic patterns in the local community and in nearby water systems.

Daniel B. Todd, president of Triple T Enterprise Inc., does business as Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill
Family-friendly restaurant serving pizza, pasta, salad, burgers and calzones.

Saqib Nadeem, founder and CEO Paradise 4 Paws LLC
High-end 24-hour pet resort located at airports with free parking for pet parents.

Daniel Dale Schmidtendorff, president and CEO of Communication Company of South Bend Inc.
Designs, installs and services safety, security and communication equipment such as fire alarms, clocks and intercoms.

Charles B. "Chuck" Hammond Jr., president and CEO of Raining Rose Inc.
Producer of customized lip balm and other natural body care products.

Randy and Darla Schaller, owners of Tree House Learning Center Inc.
Day-care business with live video streaming for parents and computers in every classroom to ensure kids grow to be fluent with technology.

Dr. Mehdi Yazdanpanah, CEO and founder of NaugaNeedles LLC
Manufactures silver-gallium nanoneedles, tiny rods approximately 1/1,000th of the thickness of a human hair, which are used in biomedical applications, sensors and tools for semiconductor manufacturers.

Vince P. Gremillion, president of RESTECH Information Services Inc.
Local provider of voice and data management services in New Orleans.

Matthew A. Qualey, president of Qualey Granite & Stone Fabrication LLC
Produces granite countertops for kitchens and baths and a full range of flooring tiles, has wholesale contracts with Lowes and Home Depot.

Michael C. Sawyers, president of 7Delta Inc.
A service-disabled veteran-owned small business which provides information technology services for the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies.

Scott Fallavollita, president of United Tool & Die Company Inc.
Manufacturer specializing in metal fabrication, machining and metal stamping.

Douglas Hekman, president of Quincy Street Inc.
Produces pork products including dinner ham, breakfast sausage and pork loin with smokehouse technology.

Peter Kelsey, owner and baker at The New French Bakery
Gourmet bakery.

Jeff Good, president and managing director, and Dan Blumenthal, executive chef and partner at Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint
Restaurant and ice cream scoop shop.

Thomas H. Douglas, president JMARK Business Solutions Inc.
Provides technology consulting services for small-to-medium-sized businesses, focuses on full-service computer network care.

Joe Billion, president of J.C. Billion Inc.
Four automobile dealerships selling Chryslers, Dodges, GMs and Nissans.

New Hampshire
Jay McSharry, owner of Jumpin Jay's Fish Café, Dos Amigos Burritos and Moxy
Seafood, Mexican and American Tapas restaurants.

New Jersey
Lucas Kovalcik and Timothy Walsh, owners of The Gravity Vault LLC
Indoor rock climbing gym.

New Mexico
Anthony R. Tenorio, CEO and chairman of Applied Technology Associates
Supplies precision measurement, sensing and controls devices to commercial and government clients.

New York
Louis J. DeMent, CEO and vice president of Giovanni Food Company
Manufactures pasta sauces since 1934, operates Italian-style restaurants.

North Carolina
Stephen T. Forrest, president; Sandra F. Forrest, secretary and treasurer; Shane R. Gebauer, chief operating officer of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
Carries over 1,000 supply items for beekeepers.

North Dakota
Kari Warberg Block, CEO of Earth-Kind Inc.
Produces an earth-friendly, rodent-repellent made with biodegradable ingredients safe for children and pets.

Karri Bass, founder and president of Illumination Research Inc.
Market research and strategy firm dedicated to helping businesses better understand their customers.

Pam Fountain-Wilks, owner and president of Principal Technologies Inc.
Professional staffing in the information technology, engineering and accounting fields to government customers including the Federal Aviation Administration and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

Judith E. Huck, president Classique Floors Inc.
Sells and installs floor coverings for new home builders, restoration companies, homeowners and commercial construction clients.

Regina Broudy, president Clayton Kendall Inc.
Branded merchandise and decorated apparel provider.

Puerto Rico
José A. Irizarry, president Natalabriel Inc., does business as Centro Gomas del Oeste
Sells car tires, changes the oil and filter, lubricates automobile parts, and sells and services shock absorbers. His wife runs a school-supply store next door.

Rhode Island
Brenda Brock, founder, formulator and CEO of Farmaesthetics, also a former actress on the ABC-TV daytime drama One Life to Live
Creates, designs, produces and sells natural, herbal skincare products.

South Carolina
Noah Thomas Leask, president and CEO of Ishpi Information Technologies Inc., does business as ISHPI
Supports U.S. counter-terrorism efforts through information operations and intelligence support services for the U.S. Central Command and the Department of Homeland Security, among other clients.

South Dakota
Dwayne Klarenbeek, president of Midwest Mechanical Inc.
A plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire protection firm.

Hashem Merdad Hashemian, president and CEO of Analysis & Measurement Services Corporation
Process instrumentation, online condition monitoring of industrial equipment, predictive maintenance, development of automated test equipment and technical training, services all 104 nuclear power plants currently operating in the U.S., as well as some in Europe and Asia.

Ahmed Mashnoon, CEO; Mueen Akhter, CFO; Aziz Mansoor, president of Netbrands Media Corp.
Manufacturer and online retailer of promotional products and printed materials including wristbands, lanyards, tote bags, bottles, signs, stickers, pens, and more.

Roland J. Christensen, CEO of Applied Composite Technology Aerospace
Designs and sells carbon fiber prosthetic feet and knee parts internationally.

Pete Johnson, president of Pete's Greens
Certified organic four-season vegetable farm which utlizies moveable greenhouses.

Jason Cohen, president ILM Corporation
Provides data entry, scanning, indexing and clerical services to large corporations, banks, universities and federal agencies.

Virgin Islands
Charles N. King Jr., president Delta Electric & Construction Co. Inc.
A minority-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone-certified firm which restores electricity to homes after hurricanes and provides general construction services.

Jill Blankenship, CEO of Frontline Call Center
Provides call center support to customers via phone, online chat or email response.

West Virginia
Diane Lewis, founder and CEO of Action Facilities Management Inc.
Site management services, including security, janitorial and facilities management, serving both government and commercial contract services.

Tom Nieman, owner Fromm Family Foods
Gourmet pet food.

Aaron Rodolph, president Rodolph Brothers Inc.
Full-service landscaping company specializing in mowing, irrigation, tree trimming, plant health care, lawn care and snow removal.

Related: Still Waiting for Obama's SBA Chief Nominee

Wavy Line
Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

Editor's Pick

'Catastrophic': Here's What You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling Crisis — And How a Default Could Impact Your Business
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics


The Real Reason Why The Return to Office Movement is Failing is Revealed in New Study

There is a vivid sign of the disconnect between employees and their workplace, a glaring indication that companies need to revise their scripts to improve their hybrid and remote work policies.

Money & Finance

3 Ways to Create Multiple (Big) Streams of Income

Here are three ways to create multiple streams of income. These strategies require effort and resources but offer significant financial potential.

Business News

Raccoon Adorably Orders A Donut From Dunkin' Drive Thru: 'Little Gentleman'

The hilarious clip has garnered over 21.3 million views on TikTok.

Business News

7 of the 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the U.S. Are in One State

A new report by U.S. News found that San Diego is the most expensive city to live in for 2023-2024, followed by Los Angeles. New York City didn't even rank in the top 10.

Business News

As CEOs Head to China, Elon Musk Hailed as 'Global Idol' and Treated to 16-Course Dinner

Elon Musk, Jamie Dimon and Laxman Narasimhan are all in town for separate business matters.


9 Strategies to Help Your Employees Find Their Purpose (Or Watch Them Leave)

Purpose-driven organizations seemed like a foreign concept for many. Today, it is the key for businesses that want to stay competitive.