From the wind-tossed sea of economic worry and woe, a hand reaches up and out toward the future.
It’s a hand that could belong to any one of the small business owners in Oregon who gathered Friday at the 2002 Salute to Small Business awards dinner to honor nine individuals and businesses that have emerged as survivors of the past year’s recession.
"Although our economy has faltered, we’re going to weather this storm and come out stronger," Gov. John Kitzhaber said during the opening reception for the dinner. "That’s in no small fact due to the role small businesses play in Oregon."
The awards dinner, held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland, is an annual event sponsored by the Oregon district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the local chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
While many of this year’s winning businesses represent the modern-day high-tech trend, they also stand as shining examples that the general business practices of the past "really will never go away," said Philip Gentry, the SBA district office director.
Sonal Shah, who was honored during the banquet as the Oregon and Region X Business Person of the Year, agreed with Gentry. Shah has built her Beaverton business, Northwest Software Inc., by combining the new field of information technology with business standards such as creating customer trust and solid customer service.
Those standards can be achieved by any business in any industry, said Shah as she received her award. "They are not beyond our grasp but within our reach."
For The Seaberg Co. Inc., selected as this year’s recipient of the Exporter of the Year award for Oregon and Region X, that grasp has stretched around the world. Under the direction of President Cheryl Scheinberg, the Newport company’s emergency splints have become a standard medical staple in more than 35 countries worldwide.
For some individuals, like Brad Robertson and Marcia Soliz, the best place to lend a helping hand is in their own backyard.
Robertson, the director of Portland State University’s Business Outreach Program, received an award as Oregon Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year for his work helping minority businesses in North and Northeast Portland thrive and create new job opportunities.
Soliz, the director of the Workforce Development Department of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, was honored as the Oregon Women in Business Advocate of the Year for her development of an Indian market that provides an outlet for Native American Indian women to sell artwork while honing their business skills.
When Richard Dalton became a state of Oregon employee representative for military service veterans, he extended his hand toward the Small Business Development Center at Oregon Coast Community College. Working with the center, the Newport-based Dalton has helped veterans step into roles as budding business owners, a role which this year earned him the title of Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year for Oregon and Region X.
Jon McLean’s reach last year extended to help secure more than $11 million in financing for small businesses. McLean, the assistant vice president and senior business development officer for Wells Fargo’s SBA lending division in Portland, was honored during the SBA awards banquet as the Oregon Financial Services Advocate of the Year.
For other business owners - like Jack Rubinger - there’s no place like home. Rubinger was named the Oregon and Region X Home Based Business Advocate of the Year fo