UTPA SBDC employee wins SBDC's "State Star" competition
Posted: 02/06/2008
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Mark Winchester of The University of Texas-Pan American's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been announced as SBDC's 2008 "State Star" Winner.

"I am pleased to make this announcement, and to thank Mark for extraordinary contributions to the work of the SBDC and small business in the Rio Grande Valley," said Al Salgado, director of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) South-West Border SBDC Network.

- Mark Winchester
Winchester competed with more than 40 SBDC certified business advisors throughout the south and west to win this top honor. Noted for his technical proficiency for deal structuring and loan proposal support, along with unique strengths in his workshop presentation skills, Winchester served hundreds of small business clients last program year. The 2008 State Star honor reflects his technical ability, tenacity, quest for continuous improvement, and responsiveness to his small business client needs Salgado said.

In his position as a certified business advisor IV, Winchester earned the top honor with his performance results which include 267 client jobs created and retained; 26 client businesses started and expanded; 1,450 hours of consulting effort, and $32 million in client capital formation. Winchester recently earned the designation as his center's procurement expert; and coordinated and presented 24 seminars ranging in nature from introduction to business to advanced marketing and government procurement, among others.

He also plays an active role in the professional development of his colleagues and in the overall direction of the UTPA SBDC.

"It is an honor to accept this award and to have the opportunity to help so many people achieve the dream of starting and succeeding in their own business," Winchester said.

Winchester will represent Texas and be recognized along with other State Stars at the Association of Small Business Development Centers' national conference in Chicago, Ill., in September 2008.

The South-West Texas Border SBDC network is hosted by UTSA in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and numerous colleges and universities throughout their 79-county service area. The local SBDC, hosted by UTPA, counseled and trained more 3,800 area existing and prospective business owners in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2007.

"We spend an average of six hours with each of our counseling clients which yielded over $30 million in new financing, and clients whose businesses created or retained over 870 jobs. These are indicators of the hands-on approach we take to assisting small businesses to start and grow," UTPA SBDC director Maria Juarez-Serna said.

America's Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) Network is a partnership uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations. It is SBA's largest partnership program, providing management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses. With more 1,000 centers across the nation, the ASBDC network assists approximately 1.3 million small businesses every year in face-to-face counseling and training, in addition to assisting hundreds of thousands more small businesses through online training and e-mail support.

For more information on the UTPA SBDC, call 956/292-7535.