A Tucson maker of temporary tattoos and several other Southern Arizona businesses and leaders have been named economic "champions" by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The awards will be presented at the Arizona Small Business Association's 20th Annual Enterprise Business Awards Luncheon on May 16 in Phoenix (see www.azsmallbizcon.com for more event information).
The Southern Arizona awardees are:
• Tattoo Manufacturing International (Tucson), Arizona Small Business Exporter of the Year.
The company is the largest manufacturer of temporary tattoos in the world, with 90 percent of the market share in North America and 65 percent of the global market.
Tattoo Manufacturing employs about 100 people and prints more than 7 million tattoos a day. The company is led by CEO Stephen L. Tooker.
• Sierra Seed Company of Nogales, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year Award.
Started in 1989 by the late Rodney Hallman, Sierra Seed has since become a multimillion-dollar distributor of vegetable seeds to large commercial growers in Mexico. Led by the founder's daughter, Sabrina Hallman, the company had revenues topping $10 million in 2011, the SBA said.
• Jo Anne Arvizu, supplier diversity manager at Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems, Arizona Minority Small Business Champion of the Year.
Arvizu supports efforts to boost the use of small business, including disadvantaged, women-owned, and veteran-owned small business, to comply with federal requirements. Among other positions, she is chair of the Minority and Small Business Alliance of Southern Arizona and a board member of the Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council.
• Lydia Duron Kari, vice president and branch manager of BMO Harris Bank in Tucson, was named Arizona Women in Business Champion of the Year.
Kari, who has been in banking since 1988, was appointed to the Regional Diversity and Inclusion Council of M&I Bank (a precursor to BMO Harris) to help increase diversity within the bank's own workplace.
She also has been an active board member of the Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC), a nonprofit that hosts the SBA's Tucson Women's Business Center and the MAC Small Business Development Center.
• The Cochise College Small Business Development Center in Sierra Vista was named the Arizona Small Business Development Center of Excellence.
In 2012, under the leadership of center director Mark Schmitt, the Cochise College SBDC helped create 166 new jobs, helped retain 73 existing jobs, assisted 51 new businesses to start, assisted businesses to increase sales by $4.9 million and helped small businesses raise $4.3 million in new capital, the SBA said.
The other Arizona SBA awardees are: John Stonecipher, president and CEO of Guidance Aviation in Prescott, Small Business Person of the Year; Melissa Lange, founder and president of the Southwest Veteran's Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year; Jeff Mizukami, senior vice president with Horizon Community Bank in Lake Havasu City, Arizona Financial Services Champion of the Year.