11 NH businesses, individuals win 2015 SBA honors

Eleven New Hampshire businesses and individuals have been honored as winners of U.S. Small Business Administration awards in the Granite State. In addition, three of those winners have also been recognized as New England-wide regional SBA award winners.

Named 2015 Small Business Person of the Year was Scott Johnson, president and founder of Certified Retail Solutions, a 90-employee firm in Dover that was launched in 1991 and has evolved from its Certified Parts Warehouse beginnings to provide a complete range of solutions for technology rollouts and store systems maintenance throughout North America. The company today works with dozens of national retailers, including Yankee Candle Company.

Named New Hampshire and New England Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year was Albert Tansey, owner of Tansey Electric Inc., Manchester, which opened its doors in 2012 and has grown since then with the help of the Veterans Business Owners Initiative, a program that helps veterans start and grow businesses.

Honored as New Hampshire and New England’s 2015 Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year was the Whitney Brothers Company, a manufacturing firm in Keene that was founded in 1905 and was recognized as “a business that has been passed on to the next generation, and that demonstrates long term staying power, economic growth, and commitment to the community.” The company manufactures institutional and commercial wood furniture designed for children aged six months to six years.

Named the Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year for New Hampshire and New England was Deborah Gleeson, owner of The Nature of Things in Nashua, a firm founded in 1998 in a 400-square-foot addition to her home that has since grown into a 38-acre campus with 38 employees and 160 full-time students, and offers childcare, preschool, K-8, summer camps and art enrichment programs for children and adults.

Honored as the co-winner of the Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year for New Hampshire was Judy Rogers of Prime Roast Coffee, Keene, founded in 1993, when she and her staff roasted about 7,200 pounds of coffee annually. Today, the business employees roasts over 45,000 pounds of coffee beans, which are sold to a customer base that extends throughout the nation.

Honored with the 2015 New Hampshire Small Business Champion Award were David Pease, Martha Keene and Amanda Duquette of the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program, or NH-PTAP, which over the past five years has assisted 1,391 active New Hampshire client businesses in their efforts to obtain federal, state and local contracts for their products and services.

Named the Young Entrepreneur of the Year was Raymond Bellia, owner of Body Armor Outlet and Emerson and Douglass LLC of Salem. Today, the Body Armor Outlet employs 16 people at a retail store, warehouse and office facility and supplies products to hundreds of police and fire departments across the country.

Joseph Kenney, senior vice president of The Provident Bank was named Financial Champion of the Year, honored for being “a strong advocate for small business financing throughout the state of New Hampshire.”

In addition, RTH Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Brentwood, was named SBA Region 1 2015 Subcontractor of the Year as well as winner of the national Subcontractor of the Year award. (See story on page 6.)

All of the winners were recognized on May 12 at the annual NH SBA Small Business Awards event at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.

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