Richmond man named SBA Small Business Person of the Year

Ralph Ross, left, district director of the Small Business Administration, presents the 2012 Small Business Person of the Year award to Donovan Wadsworth, owner of D&M Contracting in Richmond. Photo by Lorie Hailey

By Lorie Hailey
Associate Editor

See photos of the award winners at the bottom of this story.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 17, 2012) — In 1999, with $600 in his pocket, Donovan Wadsworth moved to Kentucky from the Pacific Northwest. The next year, he started a construction business in Richmond that is now a full-service restoration company with annual revenues of more than $1 million.

On Wednesday, at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Wadsworth was presented the 2012 Small Business Person of the Year award for Kentucky by the U.S. Small Business Administration. His business, D&M Contracting, also was one of 12 companies honored as a 2011 Pacesetter by the state’s Small Business Development Center.

Wadsworth will represent Kentucky next week at the national SBA awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

An avid golfer, Wadsworth recalled the words of 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson as he accepted his award.

Watson, after winning the Masters, “said my dreams never brought me this far. And when I came here in 1999 with $600, I didn’t know anybody. I lived in Pacific Northwest my entire life. I didn’t quite know what to expect,” Wadsworth said.

“Since that time, I’ve married, I have five young children, 9 and under, and truly my dreams never brought me this far and I am just so grateful for all of the people that have been a part of this journey,” he said.

D&M Contracting, a full-service restoration company, provides fire, water and wind damage repairs to insurance companies within a 100-mile radius of Richmond. It also handles home modification projects for disabled veterans and workers compensation cases.

Despite difficult times along the way, the company has experienced huge growth since its inception. In 2009, D&M Contracting experienced a record-breaking year when it increased revenue by 100 percent. In 2010, revenues totaled more than $1 million, which allowed the company to hire more than 20 additional sub-contractors, who together employ more than 150 workers.

“I am the most proud that we have stuck with it and not quit,” he said. “Several years ago, we were on the verge of closing our doors when the economy took a hit. Through innovation and a lot of ambition, we were able to think outside the box and begin developing some creative new avenues of business.”

One of the innovations was state-of-the-art estimation software, which produces accurate restoration estimates for customers and 3-D aerial images of the anticipated finished product.

Michael Rodriguez, director of Eastern Kentucky University’s Small Business Development Center, nominated D&M Contracting for the 2001 class of the Pacesetter Business Recognition Program.

The Pacesetters were selected based on nominations that indicated that each business is changing the economic landscape of Kentucky by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving the communities of Kentucky. Each of the winning businesses demonstrated the intent and capacity to grow based on employee and sales growth, entrepreneurial leadership, sustainable competitive advantage and additional factors, according to Becky Naugle, director.

Other Pacesetters include:

• Air Hydro Power, Inc. of Louisville, owned by Tom McGuire, Matt Ott and Dick Beaven. The company, the largest privately held fluid power and automation distributor in the state, was founded in 1961 and employs 125.

Air Hydro Power provides technical support more than 4,000 manufacturers in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Alabama.

McGuire, Ott and Beaven purchased the company in 1998. Since 2010, it has experienced more than 18 percent growth.

• Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists, PLLC, owned by Antu Radhakrishnan.

The Lexington company, founded in 2005, provides customer-service driven small animal internal medicine and 24-hour emergency care. Previously, there were no board-certified small animal veterinary internal medicine specialists in Lexington, so pet owners had to travel to Louisville or Cincinnati to receive care for their pet, according to the company’s biography in the awards program.

Since 2005, the company has expanded from one to four full-time doctors, three part-time doctors and more than 12 support staff. It operates out of a 3,600 s.f. hospital.

The practice uses a “human care” approach, Radhakrishnan said, taking care of the pet and its owner.

Boneal, Inc. of Means, owned by Keith Gannon, David Ledford, Georgetta Gannon and Byron Craig.

Founded in 1980, the company has evolved from a simple “job shop” to a respected “solutions” company, according to the company’s biography in the awards program.

Boneal employs 105 workers and provides high-end manufacturing, logistics, supply chain management and software solutions to some of the larges and most complex organizations in the world, including the U.S. Postal Service, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the Department of Defense.

The company operates 200,000 s.f. of space in Menifee, Morgan, Montgomery, Oldham and Powell counties and booked approximately $19 million in 2011.

Boneal supports higher education through employment opportunities and the Boneal Foundation has funded more than $50,000 in scholarships to eastern Kentucky students.

• Ferm SOLUTIONS of Danville, owned by Shane Baker.

The company is a leading engineering, manufacturing, and research and development provider to the biofuels industry and distilleries worldwide. It employs 15, but has the potential to add five to 10 more professions positions this year.

Ferm Solutions develops at least one new product every 12 to 18 months.

The company has commercialized six products since its inception and has another two products in development. It is adding an additional 4,000 s.f. of research and development space to its facility in Danville.

• First In Trailer Service, Inc. of Walton, owned by Rodney Collins.

Founded in 1997, FITS is a full-service organization prepared to respond to both emergency and routine needs of businesses using trucks and trailers to move goods, store products and warehouse inventory. It offers emergency road service, truck and trailer repair and maintenance, on-the-road mobile tire service, storage trailer services, and on-call transportation.

The company, which employs 15, has seen impressive growth despite challenging economic times.

• G&R Reclamation of Horse Cave, owned by Glen and Robin Burba.

The company began in 1992 as an auto sales and repair shop and has grown into a full-fledged recycling operation in an area of Kentucky that previously did not have recycling services, according to the company’s biography in the awards program.

Today, it accepts paper, cardboard, all plastics with a triangle and a number, aluminum cans and glass. It processes the recyclables and sells it to markets in Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado and China, to name a few.

G&R Reclamation serves industrial companies, municipal offices, schools and residents of Horse Cave and surrounding communities, and educates the community about recycling. It has 16 employees.

• Global Environmental Services of Georgetown, owned by Kenny Gravitt.

The e-waste recycler, with facilities in Kentucky and Austin, Texas, was founded in 2008. It partners with major original equipment manufacturers, government entities, large and small corporations in an array of industries and the community. The company’s 72 employees provide electronics recycling, asset recovery, secure data destruction, tape services, IT equipment refurbishment and remarketing, printer/copier fleet installation, removals of print and copier hardware, and software solutions.

Global Environmental Services does not export e-waste to Third World counties, and it has kept almost 100 million tons of e-waste a year out of landfills, Gravitt said.

Innovative Workflow Technologies, Inc. of Henderson, owned by Bernie Hogan.

The company, founded in 1986 as a health care consulting company, develops software for the health care industry that fosters the integration and exchange of health information from clinical web portals, PDA apps, alerts, bed management and downtime solutions. It has 24 employees.

IWT offers custom development teams and rapid development to meet the needs of different medical settings. The company combines its software with technology trends, such as the iPad and other mobile devices.

 John O’s Market of Elizabethtown, owned by John Lewis.

Founded in 2004, the John O’s Market chain consists of three convenience stores and one smoke shop in Elizabethtown and Rodneyville. Plans are under way for the launch of a liquor store.

The first store opened in a 35-year-old 1,400 s.f. building, but Lewis has expanded into new locations on one of the busiest roads in Elizabethtown.

The company has 32 employees.

Kalleo Technologies of Paducah, owned by John, Doug and Roger Truitt.

Founded in 2004, the company provides managed IT services for health care and government organizations. Its primary innovation is remote management capabilities, allowing them to provide off-site IT management services throughout the nation.

Kalleo combines off-the-shelf software with custom software developed by its programmers, and serves customers in Hawaii, the central U.S. and all along the eastern coast from New York to Florida.

Kalleo, which employs 22, does not offer long-term contracts to its customers. Instead, it operates on a month-to-month basis, which “forces us to behave in a way that we have to earn that company’s business every month,” John Truitt said.

• TrollandToad.com of Corbin, owned by Jonathan Huston.

Founded in 1994, TrollandToad.com is the largest seller of hobby game products in the world, shipping millions of items a year, 40 percent of which go to international buyers.

It began in Huston’s basement, when he and his wife began selling Magic: The Gathering playing cards in a mail-order catalog. In just one month, Huston took more than 8,000 calls and did $75,000 in business.

In 2007, the company employed 35 workers and had outgrown its 7,500 s.f. facility. It moved into a 26,000 s.f. facility. Four years later, it moved into the former American Greeting Card plant, a 1 million s.f. building. TrollandToad.com now has 245 workers.

Other SBA awards

• Cathy Stafford, owner of Ad-Venture Promotions of Lexington, was named the 2012 Kentucky Women in Business Champion.

• Deborah Gray, who works in economic development at LGE-KU in Morganfield, was named the Kentucky SBA Financial Services Champion of the Year.

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