Without our Support Staff, the UGA SBDC wouldn’t be able to function as efficiently as we do. Throughout the year, there are many support staff members that go above and beyond “the call of duty,” to ensure that their office runs smoothly and will occasionally also assist other offices with special projects if needed. And although there are many deserving support staff, each year at our Annual Awards Banquet, the UGA SBDC names only one Support Staff of the Year (SSY).

The award is based upon outstanding work and contribution in the current year. The SSY Award is the ultimate support staff achievement and includes a monetary stipend as part of the recognition.

This year, the stipend portion of the award means 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… and so did his sister. So, they donated $25,000 to UGA supports an endowment to ensure that the SBDC employees would continue to be recognized for their hard work. 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.)

As mentioned, the SSY Award is a highly sought after and competitive award. To be eligible for Support Staff of the Year, one must be an employee for a minimum of two years and be nominated by at least two colleague. To win the award, a committee of UGA SBDC support staff across the state review the nomination package and selects a winner.

This year, UGA SBDC in DeKalb Program Coordinator, Geoffrey Loften, was named Support Staff of the Year.

Geoffrey has been with the UGA SBDC since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and Economics from the University of Georgia. Before coming to the SBDC, Geoffrey held positions at the George Foster Peabody Award and Georgia District 22. He has experience in event planning, outreach/networking, research and analysis, strategic planning, digital marketing, and presenting.

We are very proud of Geoffrey and his outstanding contribution and dedication to the UGA SBDC.

Congratulations, Geoffrey!