LED And SBA Honor 2012 Small Business Award Winners

Event honors leaders who make significant contributions through Louisiana small businesses

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration named the 2012 Louisiana Small Business Award winners at an event honoring small business leaders who make a significant impact and who exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of Louisiana. The winners were honored in a private reception at the Governor's Mansion.

"This year's award winners exemplify the vital role served by Louisiana small business leaders and their enterprises," LED Secretary Stephen Moret said. "Across many industry sectors, Louisiana's small businesses supply key goods and services that fuel our economy and have helped Louisiana outperform the South and the U.S. through the recent national recession and the current recovery. We salute these business leaders for the visionary role they play in job creation, innovation and entrepreneurial growth."

A recent nationwide survey of small business owners established Louisiana as one of the five friendliest states for small business in the U.S., with Louisiana gaining an "A" overall and an "A+" for networking programs, licensing, regulations and zoning. Louisiana also ranked among the top six states for the economic health of its small businesses. conducted the survey in association with the Kauffman Foundation.

"This third-party survey validates the tremendous accomplishments that our state's small businesses are achieving, and LED will continue to implement programs and provide assistance that assures continued success for Louisiana's small businesses in the future," Moret said.

In addition to the following individual small business award winners, LED recognized 33 companies for their participation in the state's Economic Gardening pilot program, an innovative experience that provides existing small businesses with market research tools to accelerate their growth. To learn more about Louisiana small business opportunities, visit

The 2012 Louisiana Small Business Award winners are:

2012 Champion Award Winners

Small Business Exporter of the Year
Michael P. Rongey
Reliable Industries Inc.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Craig Cordes
Big Easy Blends

Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year
Jed S. D'Arensbourg
DA Exterminating Company Inc.

Women in Business Champion of the Year
Kathleen N. Mix
Delgado Community College
New Orleans

Financial Services Champion of the Year
Ashton J. Ryan Jr.
First NBC Bank
New Orleans

Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
James and Katrina Nowosielski
StormGuard of LA LLC

Home-Based Business Champion of the Year
Robert C. Rispoli
RCR Cleaning Services Inc.

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Phyllis E. Cassidy
Good Work Network
New Orleans

Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award
William Joubert, Sandy Summers, Wayne Ricks, Steven Baham, Ginger Cangelosi, Scott Uffman
Southeastern Louisiana University SBDC

2012 District Award Winners

Capital Region
Merrick J. Young
Living Solutions Construction LLC

Northwest Region
Joseph E. Breithaupt Jr.
JEB Design/Build LLC

Southeast Region
Edward Vincent Lepre
International Drug Detection LLC

Southwest Region
Kristy Armand, Christine Fisher and Barbara VanGossen
Healthy Image LLC
Lake Charles

2012 LED Entrepreneur Awards

LED Small and Emerging Business of the Year
Ginger Louviere
Spa Mizan Salon & Spa

Louisiana PTAC Contractor of the Year
Lester and Carol T. Nicosia
Bayou Cajun Enterprise LLC

MEPoL Small Manufacturing Award
Jon Craft
Anvil Attachments

NFIB Small Business Champion
Grayson Zeagler
Zeagler's Music

USDA Rural Development Business of the Year
Paul Prudhomme
Magic Seasoning Blends

USDA Rural Development Lender of the Year
Ken Hale
The Bank of Montgomery

Louisiana Small Business Person of the Year
Edward Vincent Lepre
International Drug Detection LLC