The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center recognized 2021 award winners and sponsors during their annual conference on April 12, 2022.
“The recipients of these awards excel in their work with the business community, program development, and representation of the UGA SBDC program. We’re grateful for their contributions to our organization and are proud to recognize them for their efforts.”Allan Adams, State Director
Sponsor Recognition: Regions Bank and BlackRock
During the ceremony, Allan Adams, state director, and Kyle Hensel, director of continuing education, recognized Regions Bank and BlackRock for their contributions to the UGA Small Business Development Center and entrepreneurs in Georgia.
Accepting the award for Regions Bank was Jim Jones, senior vice president. In 2020, Regions Bank pledged $500,000 to the University of Georgia to support small business education programs and service learning.
Accepting the award for BlackRock was Ferrell Haley, associate, and Cameron Falk, portfolio implementation analyst for BlackRock.
BlackRock has provided funding for a new position at the UGA SBDC, the BlackRock outreach specialist. The position supports UGA SBDC activities in the metro Atlanta area.
Consultant of the Year, Support Staff of the Year and the Rookie of the Year
Consultant of the Year: Lisa Rackley, Macon
Lisa Rackley, area director of the UGA SBDC in Macon, received the Consultant of the Year award. The award is given based on outstanding accomplishments during the year, including work with the business community, program development, research, publications, presentations, professional development activities, involvement in business-related organizations/projects/programs, and basic consulting and continuing education activities.
Support Staff of the Year: Trudy Lawrence, Macon
Trudy Lawrence, program coordinator of the UGA SBDC in Macon, has been selected as the 2021 Support Staff of the Year. The award is given based on outstanding performance in a support staff role. Trudy was recognized for her significant accomplishments in Macon’s 2021 Women in Business expo.
Trudy has almost 20 years of experience in retail management and buying. She has served as executive director for several non-profit education programs, developing her skills of reporting, grant writing, board leadership, management and organization.
Rookie of the Year: Susan McBrayer, Albany
Susan McBrayer, a business consultant with the UGA SBDC in Albany, was selected as the 2021 Rookie of the Year. The Rookie of the Year is granted to a new consultant who has shown outstounding progress in building their consulting practice.
Susan brings over 20 years of banking experience and was involved with helping her clients at Ameris Bank secure over $80 million in PPP funding during the pandemic.
The Consultant of the Year, the Support Staff of the Year and the Rookie of the Year awards were funded through a $25,000 endowment to UGA. Eric Bonaparte and his sister Carole created the endowment to establish the Eric Stanley Bonaparte Award Endowment Fund. The fund provides ongoing financial support for the UGA SBDC’s annual awards.