There are many professionals in the UGA SBDC organization that have distinguished themselves over the years. And although there are many deserving consultants, each year at our Annual Awards Banquet, the UGA SBDC names only one Consultant of the Year (COY).

The award is based on outstanding work in the current year, in addition to work in previous years. The COY Award is the ultimate consulting achievement and includes a monetary stipend as part of the recognition.

This year, the stipend portion of the award meant a little more as it comes from an endowment created by one of our own, retired Associate State Director, Eric S. Bonaparte, Ph.D, and his sister Carol Bonaparte. Eric spent 26 years at the UGA SBDC and after his retirement, he wanted to give something back to the university that had played such an important role in his life.  Carol is has followed Eric’s long career with the SBDC and wanted to also support his interest. The $25,000 endowment is to help ensure that outstanding SBDC employees would continue to be recognized for their commitment and dedication to Georgia’s small business owners. These funds now support both the Consultant of the Year and the Support Staff of the Year awards. (To read more of this story, click here.)

The COY Award is a highly sought after and competitive award. The award is given to a business consultant based on outstanding accomplishments during the year, including his/her work with the business community, program development, research, publications, presentations, professional development activities, involvement in business-related organizations/projects/programs, as well as basic consulting and CE activities. To be eligible for the award, one must be an employee for a minimum of three years and either be self or peer nominated. To win the award, a committee of UGA SBDC consultants across the state review the body of work which is highlighted within the nomination package and selects a winner. In addition to the trophy and monetary stipend, the COY is also honored at the nationwide ASBDC Annual Conference as the “Georgia State Star.”

This year, the award goes to…. * drum roll*… UGA SBDC at Clayton State University Area Director, Alisa Kirk.

Alisa has been with the UGA SBDC for 9 years and isn’t a stranger to awards. In addition to winning both the 2018 Consultant of the Year Award and 2018 Innovation of the Year Award, in 2012, she was named as a William C. Flewellen, Jr. Award Winner for consulting excellence, as well as won “Program of the Year” for her “Marketing with Social Media” program in 2009. Her background includes experience working with the federal and state governments and small and large businesses utilizing her expertise in the areas of marketing with videos and persuasive communication. Alisa has taught several college-level classes, presented research at a national conference, delivered numerous national conference presentations, served as a speaker at numerous state, regional, and local events, has served on several economic develop task forces and advisory boards, and has been published in several magazines.

We are very proud of Alisa and all of her accomplishments and are excited to have her represent the state of Georgia as the “Georgia State Star” at this year’s America’s Small Business Development Center’s National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations, Alisa!