NEWS | NSBA Names 2022 Award Winners

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, NSBA named ML Mackey, CEO Beacon Interactive Systems in Waltham, Massachusetts, the 2022 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year. The honor was given in conjunction with NSBA’s annual event, the Washington Presentation, and recognizes small-business owners who go above and beyond in advocating for policies to improve America’s small-business community.


NSBA Advocate of the Year 2022 | ML Mackey

“ML Mackey is one of the most dedicated, passionate advocates for small business I’ve ever known. Her commitment to small-business issues and focus on bipartisanship has been a tremendous asset to NSBA and has resulted in tangible and widespread improvements for all small businesses,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “I’m honored to recognize her with this award for a lifetime of championing entrepreneurship.”


Mackey co-founded Beacon Interactive in 1994 and along with her partner has grown the business to be a valued non-traditional defense contractor leveraging commercial sector expertise to address critical national security needs. Focused on the transformative effects of digitizing operations, Beacon’s products drive efficiency and visibility ensuring safe, secure and sustainable outcomes. She has been active with NSBA for two decades, is on the Board of the National Defense Industrial Association and has led the charge on a variety of issues on Capitol Hill, including SBIR and NDAA reauthorization, as well as improved access to capital for small businesses.


“ML is the example of advocacy we all seek to emulate. She is tireless, passionate, pragmatic, inclusive and never shies away from the hard questions,” stated NSBA Board Chair Mike Stanek of Hunt Imaging, LLC in Berea, Ohio. “She is the model of a small-business advocate and a fitting leader for this year’s impressive group of small-business award winners.”


In addition to honoring Mackey, NSBA also recognized finalists: Maureen Bakewell Chamberlin, of Embassy Global, LLC in Hamburg, New York; Jill Castilla of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Edmond, Oklahoma; Mark Ware of Mission Point Resort in Mackinac Island, Michigan; and Niesha Wolfe of The Gingham Café in Clarksville, Tennessee. NSBA also awarded Kelly Willenberg of Greenville, South Carolina as its Rising Star.


Kelly Willenberg | NSBA 2022 Rising Star

The awards process for 2022 is now closed, but NSBA will begin accepting applications for 2023 in early-February, and check back for the latest here!