The Tennessee District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced eight winners in its annual recognition program, and more than half are in the eastern part of the Volunteer State. The awards and the recipients are:
- Tennessee Rural-Owned Small Business of the Year” – Thomas Gordon Kincer, II, Owner of Kincer Engineering and Design LLC in Rockford. The company focuses on restoration and customization of Ford Broncos that were manufactured from 1966-1977.
- “Tennessee Veteran-Owned Business of the Year” – Milton J. Tookes, Owner of Accord Federal Services LLC in Knoxville. The company provides facility management, project management, HVAC management, grounds maintenance, cemetery maintenance, and related services for government agencies across the country.
- “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” – Gabrielle Blades, Owner of Blades Creatives in Chattanooga. It is a branding and print design company that focuses on small businesses, non-profits, and larger organizations/businesses.
- “Tennessee Small Business Inventors of the Year” – Sonya Briggs, Nikki Orazine, and Shehla Rooney of MotusX in Cookeville. The team of physical therapists developed GoKnee, a device to assist patients with bending and straightening the knee after surgery.
- “Tennessee Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year” – Kathy “Dee” Sue Miller Johnston, Owner of Tasteful Gatherings, a full-service boutique catering and event design business in Cleveland.
Other winners were Larry Schmittou, Owner of L&S Family Entertainment in Nashville (“Tennessee Small Business Person of the Year”), Derrick Mayberry, Owner of Seeing is Believing Auto Detailing in Murfreesboro (“Tennessee Minority-Owned Business of the Year”), and Josh Cross, a reporter for the Gallatin News (“2019 Tennessee Small Business Media Advocate of the Year”).