A true small business success story, Bairco Construction of Lovell was honored by the Small Business Administration Tuesday not only with a previously announced state award but with a regional award, as well.
SBA Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg and Acting District Director Deb Farris of the Wyoming District Office toured Bairco Construction and Club Dauntless Tuesday morning, then presented Devin and Stacy Bair with the state and regional awards at a luncheon at the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant.
The Bairs were honored in conjunction with the SBA’s National Small Business Week tour, presented with both the state 8(a) Business Development Program Graduate of the Year Award and the regional award for the program, as well.
“It’s the one week we set aside every year at the Small Business Administration to recognize and honor the accomplishments, as well as the contributions that small businesses make to our economy,” Nordberg said in an interview Tuesday.
Nordberg said Wyoming has 66,000 registered small businesses, which is 98.8 percent of all of the businesses in the state. Those companies employ more than 133,000 Wyoming residents.
“When you hear the term that small business is the backbone of the economy, that truly is the case here in Wyoming,” he said, “and Bairco is a perfect example of aspiring entrepreneurs that had an idea and a concept for a company, and through a lot of hard work and determination have built something from the ground up that has stood the test of time and whose growth pattern is only going up.
“And so for us at the Small Business Administration, it’s very important during National Small Business Week that we take the time to recognize these companies.”
Bairco was a member of the SBA’s 8(a) Program, Nordberg said, and is “a case study on what we hope all firms will be upon their graduation from that program. We’re here to recognize them today as the regional 8(a) Graduate of the Year.”
“She’s a woman-owned small business, as well,” Farris added about Stacy Bair, “and that’s also an SBA program, and I think that she’s prepared very well for her exit from the program.
“The thing about Stacy and Devin Bair is they created their own opportunities. The 8(a) program is there to assist people with business development, but we don’t make that happen. The small business does. Stacy’s got such drive and determination, and Devin has all the fearlessness. They made this happen. That’s what the program is for. If it’s utilized properly, then these kinds of things can happen.”
Nordberg said Bairco is the perfect example of a small business in a rural market that has had big impact in urban areas in other states, not just in their local area.
“They’ve really bridged the gap between urban and rural, have worked wherever the job is needed and as such are now a very desired contractor by both the federal government as well as private industry,” he said.
The ceremony at the Brandin’ Iron began with Town of Lovell Administrator Jed Nebel reading a proclamation regarding Small Business Week declared by Mayor Kevin Jones, who was out of town that day.
Nordberg then delivered remarks ahead of his presentation of the two awards, noting that National Small Business Week has been celebrated by the SBA for 56 years.
“What I love about that fact is, when you think about everything that’s happened in our country during that time, there’s really not a lot that has remained the same,” he said, “yet here we are today. We’re still celebrating Small Business Week, and we’re also celebrating the impact that small businesses have on our economy. They are the backbone of our economy. That has not changed one bit.”
Directing his remarks to the Bair family, Nordberg said, “You are the epitome of a successful small business, and we’re so proud to have had you in our 8(a) program. And now it’s great to be able to honor you as a graduate of our program as a company that has really taken the skills learned and derived through that to be successful and be on your own. And you continue to look at your trajectory and it’s going up and up and up, and that’s so encouraging for us to have played just a small part in your success.”
Nordberg presented the Regional 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award, covering the states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“Bairco stands out for a number of reasons, and I think when you look at the contributions they continue to make to the community, you look at the hard work and the people they employ, you can tell it’s not just an employee-employer relationship, it’s family,” Nordberg said.
Farris then presented the State 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award.
“I know what your favorite projects were,” she said to Stacy Bair, recalling many of Bairco’s initial federal projects. “It’s been an honor to be your advocate, and congratulations.”
After accepting the awards, Stacy Bair first of all thanked the employees at Bairco Construction, now 35 strong, calling them “the hardest working people in the area” and adding, “We literally have the best of the best when it comes to the office staff and the field staff, which is amazing.”
She also thanked the Bairs’ family, including children and parents, and the many business program resources such as the Small Business Development Center, Lovell Inc. and the SBA, as well as the Lovell area community.
“We just live in an amazing place, and it makes it fun to be able to be such a big part of it,” she said.
Having the SBA “always there as a resource to keep us going and keep us in the right direction” is important, Devin Bair added, adding that the SBA has been a great resource for information and “somebody to look to ask ‘Can we do this?’” He said the SBA has been pivotal in Bairco’s development and a “resource to go to.”
“It’s a unique human quality to genuinely want people to succeed,” Stacy added in praising Farris for her work with Bairco, saying that Farris “advocates for us.”
“To have a government bureaucracy with the mindset of genuinely wanting people to
succeed for the greater good is pretty mind-blowing,” she said. “I literally can’t say enough about them.”
Bairco Construction was also honored as the 2011 Wyoming small business of the year by the SBA.
By David Peck