Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year Award


The mission of Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is to contribute to the development of Virginia's economy and provide technical business assistance to small and medium sized businesses throughout Virginia. From the Federal mandate of the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, Public Law 106-50, plus a deep sense of indebtedness to all Veterans, Virginia SBDC has continued to include Virginia Veterans as a target group for special assistance. The Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year Award has been established to recognize the accomplishments of this special group of Virginia entrepreneurs. Each year, the members of the Virginia SBDC Network nominate and vote on a deserving Veteran small business owner who has shown commitment to the military, their community and to fellow Veterans and their families. The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at Community Business Partnership is honored to be able to offer the Veterans in Business Conference as a venue to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.


Our 2017 Winner - Steve Synnott (Syntelligent Analytic Solutions, LLC)

A retired Master Sargeant, Steve served for 21 years in the Air Force at home and abroad in various facets of intelligence, information operations, and security. After his military career, he spent 6 years as a civilian working with government agencies supporting intelligence, program management, risk assessment, communications, and security. In 2010, Steve started his own Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, a contracting company focusing on intelligence analysis and information management in support of federal agencies. In 2012, with the goal of increasing federal procurement opportunities for his business, Steve applied for and received HUBZone certification for Syntelligent and opened his principal office in Luray, VA. Since then, his company has grown from 7 to 80 employees; and his business was awarded the National HUBZone Corporate Business of the Year in 2016. Congratulations Steve!



Previous Year's Winners Include:


2016 - Patricia A. Frame (Strategies for Human Resources)

In the Air Force, Major Frame served for over 10 years as a Personnel Officer in the US, Thailand, and West Germany. Ms. Frame founded her company, Strategies for Human Resources, over 20 years ago to provide Human Resource expertise and advice to small businesses and organizations. Her clients range from 2 – 100 employees, though she has helped some clients grow even larger. She trains CEOs, and managers on effective hiring, performance management, and people-related decision-making. Her clients learn to achieve their goals through more effective management of their people, integrating their company’s culture into their personnel actions. Ms. Frame is a highly-regarded subject-matter expert in her field and a sought-after speaker, presenting seminars to organizations such as MetroDC WomenGrowBiz conference, Virginia Women Veterans 2nd Conference (Hampton Roads), Northern VA Veterans Business OC, HRA-NCA Veterans Hiring panel, and CyberMaryland 2014, among others.

2015 – Fred Wellman (ScoutComms)

LTC Fred Wellman, US Army retired, is a revolutionary businessman and passionate supporter of the Veteran’s community. He led a distinguished military career after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy that included airborne combat service in Operation Desert Storm and three tours in Iraq. He was selected by General Petraeus to be his public affairs officer in Iraq, then served as spokesman for Gen. Martin Dempsey before he became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   Fred retired in 2009 and started ScoutComms, a public relations, advocacy and corporate social responsibility firm that focuses exclusively on Veterans and military family causes. Within a year, ScoutComms was the first certified B Corp in the Fredericksburg region and the third in the world to focus on Veterans’ issues as a social cause. His firm donated over 30% of their profits to veteran-focused nonprofits in 2015.

2014 – Michael Leigh (OpX Solutions)

Michael Leigh began his military service in 1988 by joining the US Navy Nuclear Power Officer Candidate program while still in college, and served in the Navy for 10 years, retiring as a Commander.   He went to work at GE Energy.  His career culminated as a leader in GE Energy's Global Central Lean Office, where he developed Lean programs, implemented Lean concepts, and trained site leaders and executives at over 25 different businesses, both domestically and internationally.  Since he was also in the reserves, Mike was recalled to active duty in 2001, following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and remained on active duty for almost eight months.  Mike left GE Energy in 2012 to start OpX Solutions and, with George Repa Kaizen Healthcare Innovation.  Mike takes great pride in helping local businesses and leaders become more successful, especially Veterans.  Actively involved in local charitable and civic organizations, Mike is also a board member of the local Military Officers Association of America chapter and supports numerous Veteran causes.

2013 - Staci Redmon (Strategy and Management Services)

A 3rd generation service-disabled veteran, Staci Redmon started SAMS in 2007 to “exceed expectations with people who make a difference.” As fiscal belts were tightening, Staci knew she had to exceed expectations, including taking care of her employees.  If they took care of their employees, the employees would take care of their customers.   SAMS closed their 2013 financial year generating more than $10 million and 105 employees, all in just 5.5 years.  Over 90% of SAMS’ staff are veterans or family members of vets.  She has devoted countless hours counseling and mentoring emerging small businesses, and she never misses an opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs to share her lessons learned.

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