Martin Brill, program manager of the international trade program at the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, was named Small Business Champion of the Year in eastern Pennsylvania.
“The work Martin does for, and in support of, small businesses if truly outstanding,” Antonio Leta, director of the SBDC Eastern Pennsylvania office, said in a statement. “I’m very proud to honor Martin with this exceptional distinction for the work he has done over the years.
“Time and again, I’ve met with award-winning business owners who sing Martin’s praises for the powerful impact he has had in helping those businesses.
Pennsylvania SBDC director Christian Conroy cited Brill’s integrity, character and dedication to his clients.
“He is recognized as a subject matter expert in his profession of international trade and his experience and knowledge win him high praise from his clients and colleagues, many of whom he has served as a mentor,” Conroy said in a statement.
Brill was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Eastern district office.
He was recognized for his dedication working with Elizabethtown College seniors on research projects with Kutztown SBDC clients.
Prior to joining the SBCD, Brill spent many years working in trade finance and export sales with large, multinational companies, including Maryland National Bank, First National Bank of Chicago and Sysco Foods, but he said his 20 years at the SBDC made him a major proponent of small business. Brill said he has witnessed firsthand the energy, drive and creativity of small businesses.
“It is really phenomenal,” Brill said. Small business “is a keen representation of free enterprise and the American system of business.”
Brill earned a master’s degree in Middle East Studies at London University and a bachelor’s degree in foreign service at Georgetown University.
Brill said he works with 75-100 companies a year that span a wide range of industries, from biotech to manufacturing.
“I don’t pretend to have all the answers,” Brill said. Instead, he relies on listening to the client, harnessing the power of teamwork and the center’s resources, colleagues and networks in the private and public sectors to find answers.
Over the years, Brill has helped several of his small-business clients earn recognition at the regional, state and national level, such as the Governor’s Impact Award for South Central Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Commerce Small Business Exporter of Year Award and numerous SBA awards.
“No monetary value could be assigned to the mentoring we have received over the years from Marty Brill and the great folks at Kutztown University SBDC,” said Joe Zidik, president and CEO of Custom Milling & Consulting Inc. of Fleetwood in a statement.
“An old boss once told me, when you go into business, you need a good banker, accountant and a lawyer. Marty Brill is like having all three wrapped up in one sensible, caring package,” Zidik said.
The SBDC at Kutztown is part of a national network of field offices in the U.S. Small Business Administration that includes 18 regional across Pennsylvania. It provides consulting services and educational programs to entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their business.