Oklahoma Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
Upon his retirement from the Armed Forces in 2002, Joseph Diaz decided to open his own business using the skills he developed during his military career. He founded AA Computer Services and the business grew quickly. In 2008 he sought the assistance of the Small Business Development Center in Lawton who helped him develop a business plan and qualify for an SBA Patriot Express Loan. However, because of the strength of his application, he was approved for a commercial loan.
AA Computer Services, Inc
Oklahoma Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
A dream came true in 2001 when Pamela Huddleston-Bickford founded Cherokee Data Solutions (CDS) in Claremore, Okla. She began the company on a shoestring to provide computer accessories, printer supplies and data storage products. Today, CDS has customers in nearly every state across the nation, certifications in most “best of breed” technology solutions, and a product offering of over 700,000 items. Her company can support next day delivery to nearly any location in North America with over 118 distribution warehouses from coast to coast.
Cherokee Data Solutions
Oklahoma Women in Business Champion of the Year
In 1989 Darcie Harris founded EWF International to help women grow their business by providing peer advisory groups, coaching and consulting in Oklahoma City. In 2005, Darcie was able to expand the concept to Tulsa and Denver with a new group beginning in Norman in 2010. As a business consultant, mentor, coach, and advocate for female business owners and executives, Darcie has helped countless women realize their professional dreams. She finds fulfillment of her own dreams by encouraging women to think big, pursue their passions and achieve their personal best.
The Caring Company
Lynette Morris was not interested in living the “American dream” of owning her own business when she was approved for a $455,000 loan guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Instead, she was interested in saving jobs, creating jobs and continuing to provide care to the clients she had grown to love. Morris used the money to purchase The Caring Company, a home health care business in rural Oklahoma.
White Dog Hill Restaurant
When Nelson King spotted the abused and vandalized 1925 Clinton Country Club building, he saw potential. He didn’t know exactly what he would make of it at first, but he wanted to preserve the history of the area. King purchased the building in 2000 and today it’s open for business as the While Dog Hill Restaurant and has resumed its position as a central part of the community.
Southern Maid Donuts
The Lawton satellite of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Small Business Development Center (OSBDC) is committed to the economic development of southwest Oklahoma, hence improving the quality of life of its citizens. This mission focuses not only on the large employers but also on the smaller entrepreneurial ventures that provide services important to rural Oklahoma, thus positioning the region for future economic growth. This illustration highlights the resolve of a family to bring just such a business to Elgin, Oklahoma and realizing the American dream.
Pa Pa Jim's Outdoor Furniture
In July of 2009 Jim Collins decided that he should turn his hobby of building outdoor lawn furniture into a business. Jim has refined his woodworking skills over the years and is now a true craftsman in his profession building Adirondack chairs and other pieces of outdoor lawn furniture. Early in the morning you will find Jim in his woodworking shop planing the rough sawn cypress lumber as he prepares to build the next set of chairs.