Dr. William A. Meehan:
Small Businesses, Immense Possibilities
By Dr. William A. Meehan
President, Jacksonville State University
Weekly Column - The Jacksonville News
The College of Commerce and Business Administration (CCBA) at
Jacksonville State University is ranked in the top 10 percent of business
schools in the country according to the 2006 Princeton Review of “The Best 237
Within the Best Business Schools category, JSU ranks second in providing the
greatest opportunity for women studying business.
The success of the CCBA department is proof that the procedures taught to
students and community members are effective practices.
Under the auspices of the CCBA, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC),
provides a complete range of services to a seven-county area of Northeast
Alabama (Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Etowah, St. Clair and Talladega)
and government procurement services to two more counties (Randolph and Clay).
Every year the SBDC assists more than 1,600 small businesses and individuals
by offering counseling and training at no cost.
The JSU SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the
United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and is a working institutional
unit under the Alabama Small Business Development Consortium.
One of the five guiding principles of the SBA is to “inspire creativity in
the American economy by developing and supporting entrepreneurs through a vast
network of resource partners.”
Through areas of assistance such as business startup considerations,
recordkeeping and government procurement services, the SBDC, as an entity of the
Center for Economic Development at JSU, concentrates on aiding in the
development of niches to enhance the cultural and economical value of the city
of Jacksonville and surrounding areas.
Local niche business leader Carolyn Minerich, owner of Carmin Industries in
Jacksonville, serves as a component in the SBDC’s national success. Carmin
Industries was named Alabama’s Small Business of the Year in 2002 and its
associate director was selected Alabama State Star in 2003.
“I wouldn’t be here had it not been for them,” Minerich says of the SBDC. “I
needed guidance, went to the SBDC at JSU and, very simply, they did their job:
they point the way for you, they don’t do the job for you.”
Minerich says the SBDC provided a clear step-by-step guide for her business.
Almost 12 years later, after a lot of hard work, this precision waterjet cutting
and metal fabrication company maintains 11 employees and has garnered contracts
from a lift fixture for Engine Cowling on a B-1 Bomber capable of lifting 2,500
pounds to fabricating signs for Seven World Trade Center in New York City. This
female-owned business has an AS 9100 certification, a highly valued standardized
quality management system of the aerospace industry, allowing them to serve
customers such as Lockheed Martin and Disney World.
Of her 11 employees, Minerich employs a JSU student part time to help with
the documentation of inspections. Minerich says many JSU students who have
worked at Carmin Industries have huge success stories and go on to work for
other companies. She says employing students is her way of giving back to JSU
for helping her get started. “It’s kind of like a circle,” Minerich says. “We
show them the way.”
For more information about the Small Business Development Center at JSU,
visit www.jsu.edu/depart/sbdc or call 256-782-5271.
Erin Chupp, a graduate assistant in the Office of Marketing and
Communications, contributed to this article.
About William A. Meehan
Dr. William A. Meehan is president of Jacksonville
State University. His column, "Town & Gown," appears in The Jacksonville News.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com
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