La. small business awards presented

Louisiana Small Business Award winners for 2013 were announced Wednesday by the Louisiana Economic Development department and the U.S. Small Business Administration in a private reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

“The 2013 award winners demonstrate the crucial role that Louisiana’s entrepreneurial leaders play across a broad spectrum of small businesses and support services in the state economy,” LED Secretary Stephen Moret said. “They supply essential goods and services that fuel our economy in every region of our state and in every industry sector in Louisiana.

“These small business leaders helped Louisiana outperform the South and the U.S. during the recent national recession and throughout the ongoing recovery. They play a key role in job creation, innovation and entrepreneurial growth, and we congratulate them on their accomplishments.”

Winners from the local area by category are:

BATON ROUGE: NFIB Small Business Champion, John Overton, of Turn Key Solutions in Baton Rouge.

NEW ORLEANS: Small Business Exporter of the Year, Justin M. Hartenstein, of AAC Enterprises LLC in Metairie; SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Bridgeja’ Baker, of Creative Jewelry by Bridgeja’ LLC in New Orleans; SBA Regional Women in Business Champion of the Year, Elizabeth “Betsie” Gambel, of Gambel Communications in Metairie; Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, D. Mauricio Diaz, of Diaz LLC in Metairie; Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award to Carmen Sunda, Wayne Aucoin, Tatiana Clay, Michael P. Cusack, Mike Durette, Christian Shane Galvin, Jerrelyn Madere, Sandy Ha Nguyen, Thoai Nguyen, Albert Overman, Mike Pennison, Dianne F. Sclafani and Erik D. Waters, of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Greater New Orleans Region, in Metairie; and 2013 Louisiana Small Business Person of the Year, Vince P. Gremillion, of Restech Information Services Inc. in Metairie.

LAFAYETTE: LED Most Outstanding SEBD Intermediary, Mark Galyean, Heidi Melancon, Corey Chapman and Nathan J. Thornton Jr,. of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette; and MEPOL Small Manufacturing Award, Jess Fike, of H2O Inc. in Lafayette.

LAKE CHARLES: Louisiana PTAC Contractor of the Year, Keith A. DeRousseau, of Keiland LLC in Lake Charles.

NORTH AND CENTRAL LOUISIANA: USDA Rural Development Lender of the Year, J.R. Johnson, Thomas L. Martin and Andy Gilbert, of Gibsland Bank & Trust in Gibsland; USDA Rural Development Business of the Year, Randall Murphy, Michael Carbo and Monroe Milton, of Manchac Technologies LLC in Alexandria; and LED Small and Emerging Business of the Year, Henrietta and Randy Bowers, of SMS Distributions in Shreveport.