Kentucky Celebrates Small Business

Kentucky SBDC Pacesetters and U.S. Small Business Administration award winners honored.

Fifteen small businesses from across the commonwealth received recognition for their exceptional business practices and success at the 11th annual Kentucky Celebrates Small Business Awards Ceremony.
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, Kentucky Small Business Development Center state director Kristina Joyce, Small Business Administration acting district director, Robert Coffey, and small-business supporters from across the state recently gathered in the Capitol rotunda to honor the small-business owners who help Kentucky’s economy and communities grow.
The ceremony is a joint celebration of the U.S. Small Business Administration award winners and the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s Pacesetter award winners. Both awards celebrate the accomplishments, hard work and courage of Kentucky entrepreneurs. For the first time, the Pacesetter awards honored startup businesses alongside the traditional second-stage companies commonly showcased at the event.
The honorees are leaders in their fields. Kentucky Pacesetter award-winner Sara Bradley, owns freight house and was the runner-up in the latest season of the Bravo television show “Top Chef.” American Metal Works has grown their own reputation as leaders in the post-coal world of Eastern Kentucky, as they create new job opportunities for former coal miners. Two of the Kentucky Pacesetters were double recipients this year. J-Mack BBQ co-owners Jay and Michelle Tapscott and Running Soles owner Will Rivera also won SBA awards. All Pacesetter awardees are Kentucky SBDC clients.
“The small businesses we are celebrating today are the backbone of Kentucky’s economy. We are happy for the opportunity to honor them for their commitment to the best business practices, our economy and their communities,” Joyce said during the ceremony.

As part of their Pacesetter award, winners received a promotional video. View all Pacesetter winner promotional videos here.

2019 Pacesetter honorees include:
Startup Business Pacesetters

Achievements Through Actions, Somerset

Achievements Through Actions provides support to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Pulaski County, KY.
Their New Business Startup Pacesetter honor was well earned. As soon as Achievements Through Actions opened, they were faced with overwhelming demand for their services. Their immediate and strategic growth showcased the business acumen of owner Jay Picard. The company now operates three group homes, has ten day habilitation clients, and have hired 22 people. As of the end of February 2019, Achievements Through Actions had doubled their original financial projections.
As a certified Supports for Community Living (SCL) center, the company takes pride in placing the individual’s needs first. They operate group homes and provide day habilitation services to developmentally disabled individuals. The Day Habilitation helps clients acquire and maintain life skills that enable them to cope more effectively with the demands of independent living.

Representative Diane St. Onge poses with the Fedders Construction team

Fedders Construction, Newport

Fedders Construction is a design-build construction company focused on building trusting client relationships and quality finished projects. The company’s success was instant. Within the first year the company exceeded its initial financial projections exponentially. Owner and Founder Albert Fedders set an intention for his business to invest in the community.
Soon after opening, Fedders Construction needed more space. Fedders chose to purchase the largest vacant, historic building in Newport, KY’s westside. He engaged the community by seeking input on what they should do with the excess space to improve the neighborhood.
An advocate for all small business owners, Fedders frequently answers the call to mentor and support other small business owners.

Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton, Nymbl Systems’ Chad Feinberg, and Kentucky SBCD State
Director, Kristina Joyce

Nymbl Systems, Lexington

Nymbl Systems started in Lexington, KY when Josh Lau, a young IT professional met a local orthotics and prosthetics practitioner and found that no one software met his needs. After spending a couple of years understanding the industry practices, Lau created Nymbl Systems.
Nymbl Systems is a fluid piece of software that changes with any new updates to the CMS, private pay, or other regulations that are introduced to the healthcare community. Nymbl’s innovative approach has the potential to transform the industry.

Dana Goodlet and Madison Durham founder of Paws Town LLC

Paws Town LLC, Owensboro

Paws Town, LLC is a safe and fun place for your four-legged family members to stay and play. Services provided include boarding, daycare, and grooming. Since opening in June of 2018, Paws Town experienced exceptional growth. To keep pace with the demand for services, Paws Town more than doubled its number of employees. The business opened with a mission to give back to their community. On their grand opening day, Paws Town held a silent auction for a local animal rescue organization. The owners have continued participating in national campaigns, and local silent auctions.
Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton, Owner of Tree of the field Dr. Robin Richmond Mason and

Tree Of The Field, Paint Lick

Tree of the Field is a rural, entrepreneurial agribusiness that makes every effort to use renewable resources, locally sourced materials, environmentally responsible practices, and responsible decisions. Tree Of The Field believes in what they do and why they do it. In March of 2018, Tree Of The Field acquired RediFlame, makers of the Skeeterlog®.
A significant setback occurred in late 2018 when their joint venture agreement came to an abrupt halt due to their partner losing the lease on the production facility. Tree Of The Field was forced to relocate and rebuild production operations in Eastern Kentucky. Throughout this arduous process, owner Dr. Robin Richmond Mason kept pressing forward and negotiating licensing and distribution deals with the likes of Tractor Supply and Whole Foods, creating new product partnerships and expanding her e-commerce presence.
Dr. Mason believes that Rediflame is just beginning to explore their product line potential and she has several exciting developments nearly ready to launch onto the market.

Traditional Business Pacesetters

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, co-owner of American Metal Works, Denny Rohrer and James
Glass, and Kentucky SBDC State Director Kristina Joyce

American Metal Works, Paintsville

American Metal Works is an American-owned company committed to the Appalachian revival with over 75 years of business experience in manufacturing, coal, and natural gas industries.
The 4,350 square foot Computer Numerical Control manufacturing facility provides services to the automotive, aerospace, medical device, and general manufacturing industries.
American Metal Works is seen locally and nationally as a business leader in the post-coal world of Eastern Kentucky. In 2018, the Harvard Business Review published an article citing American Metal Works owners on how Eastern Kentucky is reshaping its economy. A researcher from the University of California, Berkeley is shadowing the team to learn how changes in the work environment affect employees and their families. For the last two years, American Metal Works participated in the SOAR Summit and were the featured company for the 2018 conference. American Metal Works continues to look for opportunities for growth, collaborations, and innovation.

Sara Bradley owner and head chef of freight house in Paducah

freight house, Paducah

freight House is a farm-to-table style restaurant in Paducah Kentucky dedicated to providing the local community with delicious dinners, drinks, and desserts with locally sourced ingredients.
You may recognize the head chef and owner, Sara Bradley, as a runner up on the television show Top Chef. Bradley’s passion for sustainable agriculture, community, and food have changed the way Paducah residents think about food.
Western Kentucky restaurant owners celebrate their Pacesetter and SBA awards: Sara
Bradley owner and head chef of freight house in Paducah and co-owner of J-MACK BBQ,
Michelle and Jay Tapscott

J-Mack BBQ LLC, Gilbertsville

J-Mack is a family-owned BBQ restaurant in Gilbertsville, KY. Kansas City BBQ Contest winners, Jay and Michelle Tapscott, opened the restaurant in 2015, and have grown the business consistently for the last four years. The Tapscotts’ commitment to their business and their community earned them the title of Kentucky SBA Rural Small Business of the Year.
Running Soles LLC owner, Will Rivera shakes hands with Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton
with wife and son

Running Soles, LLC, Elizabethtown

Running Soles, LLC is a family and veteran-owned business. It is also the first natural/balanced running store in Kentucky, and the only specialty running store in Hardin County. Their mission is to encourage and enable everyone to achieve measurable fitness results while preserving health. The company has steadily grown in both sales and profits since its inception and was recently named Kentucky SBA Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year.

Lt. Governor, Jenean Hampton, Straight Cut Trees Owner, Joey Hampton, and Kentucky
SBDC Director, Kristina Joyce

Straight Cut Tree Services LLC, Corbin

Saving trees is Joey Hampton’s passion. As the owner of Straight Cut Tree Services, he has made a name for himself through his attention to detail, knowledge of trees, and the ability to devise the best solution to any tree problem. The company’s business model also reflects Hampton’s commitment to the environment and support of veterans. All of the wood products they sell are ‘forest free.’ By using only logs harvested from urban tree removal, Straight Cut Tree Services has created a sustainable enterprise that protects our forests. Straight Cut Tree Services is a veteran-owned business with a strong commitment to hiring veterans.

U.S. SBA award winners include:

Kentucky Small-Business Person of the Year: Paul Isenberg, Bowling Green
Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year – SBA Bank Lender: Barry Frazier, Mount Sterling
Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year – SBA Microlender: Regina Becknell, Paintsville
Rural Small-Business Person of the Year: Michelle Tapscott, Gilbertsville
Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Will Rivera, Elizabethtown
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment , is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and startup businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. Kentucky SBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on Kentucky SBDC services visit
Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton and Kentucky SBDC Director Kristina Joyce looks on as the
America Metal Works video plays

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