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Advocate of the Year Awards


NSBA is proud to recognize Gary Kushner president and CEO of Kushner & Company in Portage, Mich. as the 2015 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year.

Gary was honored on June 1, 2015 in conjunction with the 2015 Washington Presentation. Please click here to read more about Gary’s contributions to small business.

Each year, NSBA recognizes five small-business owners for their efforts in advocacy through the Lewis A. Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. The honor goes to four finalists and one overall award winner who go above and beyond in advocating for the small-business community.

Alongside Kushner, NSBA also recognized the following outstanding small-business leaders: Michael Canty of Alloy Bellows & Precision Welding in Highland Heights, Ohio; Sheila Duffy-Lehrman of Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing in Miami, Fla.; Jeff Koenig of Big Poppi Bicycle Co. in Manhattan, Kan.; and Marilyn Landis of Basic Business Concepts, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa.

NSBA welcomes nominations for award applicants throughout the year. If you would like to nominate yourself or another business owner, please click here.

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:

  • 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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