Rick Cochran of Mobile Medical is SBA winner, Cairn Cross is national champion
Eight small business owners and two small business advocates have been selected by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) for outstanding success in their chosen fields.
Rick Cochran, owner of Mobile Medical International Corporation (MMIC), St Johnsbury, Vermont, has been named the SBA 2011 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year. Nominated by Aaron Melville, Attorney at Law, St Johnsbury, VT, Cochran was selected for exceptional leadership related to his staying power, employee growth, increase in sales, innovative ingenuity and contributions to the community. Mr. Cochran will compete for the national title at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 18-20, 2011.
MMIC manufactures state-of-the-art mobile healthcare units and military shelter systems for commercial, military and emergency response applications world-wide. Formed in 1994, MMIC is the brain child of Rick Cochran, a visionary who wished to bring advanced medical care to underserved areas in the U.S. and around the globe. To date, MMIC has manufactured 22 mobile healthcare units in its commercial product line, as well as Mobile Breast Care Centers, Mobile Intensive Care, Mobile Laboratory/Pharmacy, Mobile CT Scan/Dental/Ophthalmology, Mobile Ophthalmology and Mobile Endoscopy Units. Additionally, MMIC is supporting U.S. and international military agencies around the world with rapidly deployable shelters for medical and command missions.
Cochran started MMIC working from the basement of his home in Walden, VT. In 1996, he relocated the business to a 1,500 sq. ft. space in the Fairbanks Scales Building in St Johnsbury, VT. With an SBA-backed loan in 1997, MMIC built a technologically-advanced Mobile Breast Care Center, which provides state-of-the-art care for the Indian Health Services Hospital in Tuba City, AZ. MMIC continued to grow and expanded in 2004 to more than 37,000 sq. ft. of space at the Fairbanks Scales Building. Two successive SBA-guaranteed loans, one for $1,100,000 in 2005 and one for $1,463,000 in 2008, both of which have been paid in full, allowed the company to initiate further expansion plans and continue delivering medical units to customers on time. MMIC presently operates with a staff of 54 employees and has expanded to more than 66,000 sq. ft. of office and manufacturing space. Gross revenues for 2010 amounted to more than $14 million, with net profits rising from $9,835 in 2008 to $1,679,123 in 2010.
Along the way, MMIC has faced and worked through a number of challenges. Initially underfunded, the company struggled financially and nearly closed in 1999 when funding was at an all-time low. Inspired by Cochran’s perseverance and optimism, his dedicated employees supported him through the rough period by continuing to work without pay. When the MMIC’s financial picture improved, Cochran recognized and reimbursed them for their efforts and loyalty. The company has also faced legal challenges concerning patent issues, all of which have been resolved in MMIC’s favor, and the company continues to weather the impact of a fluctuating economy on growth and staffing.
Cochran encourages MMIC employees to participate in community events and frequently lends a hand to ensure the success of worthy charitable causes. Ignoring personal risk, Cochran traveled in 2009 to Nassiriya, Iraq to lend support while Operation Smile Train physician volunteers performed cleft palate surgical procedures for Iraqi children. MMIC has sponsored events such as Caledonia County Relay for Life, in which the company provided a deployable shelter system to serve as the on-site first aid station for event participants. Cochran volunteers his time as a board member on the Vermont Red Cross, as well as school board member and chair, and is active in the Boy Scouts of America and his local church.
As Vermont’s Small Business Person of the Year, Rick Cochran will compete for the national title at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 18-20, 2011. Mr. Cochran will be locally honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration on June 16th at a ceremony presented by Vermont Business Magazine in the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont.
Cairn Cross, Managing Director and Co-Founder of FreshTracks Capital, LP, Shelburne, Vermont, has been selected not only as the SBA 2011 Financial Services Champion in the State of Vermont and the New England Region, but the National award as well. He will be honored as the National Financial Services Champion at Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, DC, May 18-20, 2011.
Nominated by Holly Killary, Administrative Assistant, FreshTracks Capital, Cross was selected for his efforts to encourage the flow of investment capital to small businesses, his active support for legislative changes to assist small businesses, and his volunteer work in both the business community and academia.
FreshTracks Capital provides funding to primarily Vermont businesses by investing in their growth. FreshTracks operates two venture capital funds organized as limited partnerships with a total of $25 Million in venture capital. Co-founded by Cairn Cross and Charles Kireker in 2001, FreshTracks Capital has invested in 21 businesses from a variety of industries. Its list of portfolio companies includes Eating Well Media Group, which, with FreshTracks funding, soared from a start-up pre-revenue venture to a $10 Million+ revenue-profitable company employing more than 35 people. Cross has been the chairman of the EatingWell board since 2005. Additional FreshTracks success stories include Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy and NEHP, Inc., with Cross serving on the board of directors at each company.
Cross has also distinguished himself as a volunteer, serving as a member of the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy, Director of the Vermont Community Loan fund, and Director and Vice Chairman of Opportunities Credit Union, to name a few. He has served as a guest lecturer to classes at UVM, Middlebury College and Green Mountain College, and has spoken to a diversity of groups such as Vermont Venture Network, Invent Vermont and Leadership Champlain. He has been a judge for various student business plan competitions including St. Michaels College and the Middlebury Solution Group’s annual J-term “boot camp.”
Cross is knowledgeable about and has been closely involved with public policy issues affecting Vermont small businesses. His testimony before the Vermont State Legislature was instrumental in modifying Vermont’s licensed lender law to create a streamlined licensing process for business lenders. In addition to testifying before House and Senate Committees, Cross has served as a key go-between for legislators seeking compromise and those responsible for small business lending oversight.
After receiving the National Award at Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., Mr. Cross will be locally recognized at the Vermont Small Business Awards ceremony on June 16th, Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont.
The June 16th Vermont Small Business Award celebration will also honor the following winners of the 2011 Small Business Champion Awards, as well as two special recognition awards:
Scott Shumway, Owner/President
Industrial Services, Inc., St. George
Small Business Exporter of the Year
Cecile Johnston, Marketing and Intake Specialist
Micro Business Development Program
Central Vermont Community Action Council, Barre
Home-Based Business Champion
Jonathan & Debbie Lang, Owners
Lang Farm, Essex Junction
Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business
Merri Christmas (Chris) Herriman, VtSBDC Service Member Advisor
Vermont Small Business Development Center, Rutland
Veterans’ Small Business Champion
Thomas, Hannah & Robin Grace, Owners
BiaDiagnostics, LLC, Burlington
President, Copy World Inc. & Vice President, Eternity Marketing LLC, Barre
SBA Young Entrepreneaur
Valerie Beaudet, Owner
Ladder 1 Grill, Barre
Community Spirit Award
Kenneth Gibbons, President/CEO
Union Bank, Morrisville
SBA Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award
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