SBA names business award winners for 2009


POSTED: Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vaughn Vasconcellos, president and chief executive officer of Akimeka LLC, has been named this year's small business person of the year for Hawaii.

The U.S. Small Business Administration honors outstanding small-business owners, entrepreneurs and advocates who have made important economic and quality-of-life contributions. An awards luncheon will be held on April 24 at Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Vasconcellos succeeds last year's winner, Beverly Gannon, the award-winning chef and owner of Haliimaile General Store and Joe's Bar on Maui.

Akimeka, founded in 1997, is a fast-growing native Hawaiian company that provides specialized technology solutions mostly for government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense. The company graduated from SBA's 8(a) program a few years ago, and has expanded since then.

Every county also had its own category of awards winners. Kristen Consillio, a former Star-Bulletin business reporter, was named Honolulu County's small business journalist of the year.

The following businesses were named for SBA's annual awards for Hawaii:

2009 Small Business Administration State Awards:

» SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Michael Farrell, owner, Mokulua Woodworking, Ltd.

» Entrepreneurial Success: Timothy Moore, Michael Moore and Robert Aguiar, owners, Hoaloha Na Eha Ltd. dba Old Lahaina Luau & Aloha Mixed Plate

» Small Business Exporter: Richard (Hang) Xie, president, Hawaiian Sealife, Inc.

» Family Owned Small Business: Jay and Jayne Kim, Eki Cyclery

» Financial Services Champion: Jean Jeremiah, SCORE Administrator

» Home-Based Business Champion of the Year: Agnes Reyes, president, Case Management Professionals Inc.

» Women in Business Champion: Melissa Pavlicek, president, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates

» Veteran Small Business: Judy Aranaydo, work and family life coordinator, Pearl Harbor Fleet & Family Support Center

» Minority Small Business Champion: Barbara Haliniak, The Business Depot/Molokai Chamber of Commerce

» Small Business Journalist: Naomi Hazelton-Gambrone, publisher, Pacific Edge Magazine