Did you know that more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business? Did you know those small businesses create about two of every three new jobs in the United States every year?
It’s in recognition of this impact that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes small-business owners and entrepreneurs from all 50 states and U.S. territories every year as part of National Small Business Week, observed in 2019 from May 5 through 11. As the SBA website emphasizes, “Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st-century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”
This year, four of the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce’s nine nominees were recognized at the state level with SBA Awards: Artie Hendricks and Rob Calhan of Landmark Roofing were named the Maryland Entrepreneurial Success of the Year; Lonnie and Dianna Lancione of The Voice Media Inc. were named the Maryland Family-Owned Business of the Year; Suzanne Brinks of DECA Wrap was named Home-Based Business of the Year; and Tara Frame of Frame & Frame Attorneys at Law was named Attorney Advocate of the Year.
For these leaders, the award serves as a reminder that the hard efforts behind launching a business do not go unnoticed by others in the community. “It took guts to do what we set out to do,” said Rob Calhan of what he and Artie Hendricks accomplished in founding Landmark Roofing. “I’m extremely humbled by how far it’s come in such a short period of time. With hustle and belief, you can accomplish a lot.”
Hendricks echoed Calhan’s sentiment, saying, “People often only see the success or failures of a business, and most don’t understand the time or hardship that sometimes take place. We are most proud of always doing the right thing even if it doesn’t help Landmark. By doing this, we know that we have created a name that we can be proud of.”
Like Hendricks and Calhan, the other winners also see their work as business owners being as much about being good community members as it is about offering a good product or service. For Lonnie and Dianna Lancione – who took over publishing the Severna Park Voice following the death of Dianna’s grandmother, founder Margueritte Mills, and ultimately established The Voice Media Inc. – using media to keep Severna Park readers connected with one another has always been a focus.
“We’ve been able to withstand a market that has seen newspapers disappear, and during that time, we’ve been able to grow, expand and continue our mission of unifying the community,” Lonnie said.
By providing advertising opportunities to other businesses, the Lanciones have also helped many in the Severna Park market thrive. “We’ve been able to help small businesses grow and prosper along the way – they’re the backbone of our community,” Dianna said, adding that she hopes the mission she and Lonnie always shared of providing feel-good news will help shape future generations. “There’s a lot of community pride in Severna Park,” she said. “People know and care about each other.”
Tara Frame is another who takes her mission personally. “I’m proud to be able to carry on my father’s tradition of helping people in the community,” she said. “I try hard to educate people so they can make better-informed decisions … It’s a nice feeling to be the go-to person when people need legal help or legal assistance.”
Though business ownership requires endless effort, all the honorees agreed that knowing what they do is valued makes it all worthwhile. “I’m proud of the fact that I can make women feel great by putting on one of my wraps,” said Suzanne Brinks, who invented the DECA Wrap. “People like what I do, and it feels really good,” she said.
In addition to these state-level winners, nominees by the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce included Richard Kyaw of Reliant Management Consultant LLC., nominated for the Rising Star Student of the Year; Brian Taylor of Goldiata Creative, nominated for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Bess Clark of Coterie, a Boutique, nominated for the Woman-Owned Business of the Year; Cliff Johnson of State Farm Insurance, nominated for the Minority-Owned Business of the Year; and Kirk Lynn of the Kirk Lynn Agency of State Farm, nominated for the Insurance Advocate of the Year.
“It was a very competitive year and the SBA said that they received a record number of applications,” said chamber CEO Liz League. “Four of our members beat the competition to be recognized as state winners, and we couldn’t be happier for them.”