A Berks County manufacturer earned a top spot in a national small-business owner competition.
Joseph Zidik, president and CEO of Custom Milling & Consulting in Fleetwood, is the Pennsylvania winner chosen by the U.S. Small Business Administration for its Small Business Person of the Year.
The SBA selected winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the SBA, made the announcement Monday.
A panel is reviewing the state winners, and a national winner and two runners-up will be selected and announced later, according to the SBA. The SBA will recognize the national winner as the 2015 National Small Business Person of the Year in Washington, D.C. on May 8.
“Any kind of awards or accolades that we received here is the result of a team effort,” Zidik said this morning. “I certainly accept the honor on behalf of the company and the team of people that make up the company.”
The company began in 2002 and manufactures and operates equipment used in the painting and coating industry, Zidik said. The company has 37 employees and offers custom processing and toll-milling services.
According to Zidik, the key to success for a small business is strong attention to customer service and adherence to its original mission.
“We have not strayed too far from our original goals when the company first started,” Zidik said. “We work hard, we treat our customers really, really well.”
Zidik was quick to note that the company received a lot of guidance and help over the years from Martin Brill, program manager of the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center. Brill recommended that the company apply for the award and regularly offers guidance on state grants and programs that support small businesses, Zidik said.
“He has been our advocate and shepherded us through a lot of tough times that a small business faces,” Zidik said.
The SBA advertises for the competition each year; all panelists who review the businesses follow a thorough process, said Terence Sutherland, SBA spokesman. For each small business, the SBA officials look at the company’s financials, growth rate, scope of business, type of industry, letters of recommendation and a host of other factors, he added.