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Advocate of the Year Awards


May 31, 2017

Molly Day

Washington, D.C. — NSBA today announced the finalists for the 2017 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. The award winner will be announced during NSBA’s Annual Advocate of the Year Award Luncheon on Monday, June 19 at 12:00 p.m., which is the kick-off event for the NSBA Washington Presentation on June 19-20.

“I am honored to recognize this group of outstanding, outspoken small-business advocates,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “They have spent countless hours working to improve laws and regulations impacting America’s small-business community, and their efforts will make small-business ownership more viable for entrepreneurs for years to come.”

NSBA is honoring the following small-business owners for their excellence in advocating on small-business issues:

“Being a small-business owner is hard, and it’s even harder to find time to engage in politics and advocate on issues that impact not just your small business, but all small businesses,” stated NSBA Chair Pedro Alfonso of Dynamic Concepts, Inc. in Washington, D.C.  “I am humbled by the dedication of our five finalists and applaud their fight to improve America’s small-business community.”

Among the key criteria used in determining award finalists is a commitment to small-business advocacy above and beyond policies that specifically impact their own business or industry, as well as a broad scope of volunteer efforts to advance and improve small business.

Qualifications and Criteria:

  • A demonstrated commitment to small-business advocacy above and beyond policies that specifically impact their own business or industry;
  • A proven history of volunteer efforts to advance and improve the overall small-business community;
  • Success in advocating for pro-small business policies; and
  • Success and growth as a small-business owner

Past Winners:

  • 2015 – Gary Kushner, Kushner & Company in Portage, Mich., a benefits management, design and administration company.
  • 2014 – Brian Stein, S&S Intersource, a refractory business serving the steel industry in Mars, Pennsylvania.
  • 2013 – Raymond Arth, President of Phoenix Products, Inc. in Avon Lake, Ohio, a 37-year strong faucet manufacturer and supplier specializing in recreational vehicles and manufactured housing.
  • 2011 – Grafton H. “Cap” Willey, IV, Managing director at CBIZ Tofias in Providence, R.I., a full service accounting, auditing, tax and consulting firm with over 40 years of experience.
  • 2010 – Michael Mitternight, president and owner of Factory Service Agency, Inc., a commercial air conditioning service and construction company in New Orleans.
  • 2009 – Thomas C. Pitrone, CFP and head of The Integrity Group in Willoughby, Ohio, a 25-year strong firm that provides financial services and advice to other small businesses.
  • 2008 – Joseph Melookaran, CPA, founder of JMA Chartered in Overland Park, Kansas, a professional services firm specializing in public assurance, IT, network design and security.
  • 2007 – Scott Hauge, president of Cal Insurance & Associates and executive director of Small Business California, a grassroots organization with significant influence in California;
  • 2006 – Robert Schmidt, founder of Cleveland Medical Devices Inc. and Orbital Research Inc., an active voice in state and national politics on taxation and commercialization; and
  • 2005 – Valerie W. Perlowitz, founder and CEO of Reliable Integration Services, Inc., a leader in technology issues serving on President George W. Bush’s IT Advisory Council



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