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At an awards ceremony held in conjunction with the 2018 Annual Statewide Conference, the SC SBDC recognized consultants, clients and advisory board members for their significant contributions to the network over the past year. SC SBDC Statewide Director Michele Abraham presided over the event.

“This year I added the State Director’s Award to the line-up of award categories,” said Abraham. “The State Director’s Award recognizes an individual who has been particularly supportive in helping me achieve the SC SBDC’s strategic objectives,” she said.

In her inaugural presentation of the State Director’s Award, Abraham recognized longtime SC SBDC Advisory Board member Neil Rashley of the SC Banker's Association for his ongoing advocacy, willingness to serve on multiple subcommittees and enthusiastic endorsement of the SBDCs’ services.

Additional 2018 Award Winners Include:

Team Spirit: Mike Bell This award was presented to Mike Bell for being a key contributor to making the SC SBDC an enjoyable and rewarding place to work. Whether things are going smoothly or beset with obstacles and challenges, Mike Bell is always willing to lend a helping hand and encouragement to others. His love for the work he does and devotion to his clients sets an example for others and has earned him the respect of the entire network.

Administrative Excellence: Leslea Gass Leslea Gass was nominated for this award by multiple people who truly appreciate all that she does. As the administrative assistant for the Clemson Area SBDC, she is the glue that holds the organization together. Leslea is relatively new to the SC SBDC; however, from the moment she accepted the job she has been finding ways to provide value to her team.

Individual Achievement: Darrell Jones The individual achievement award recognizes the person who has demonstrated stellar outcomes as a result of delighting his/her clients with outstanding assistance. Darrell Jones not only met, he surpassed, the award’s yardstick. For instance, he had one of the highest levels of consulting hours in the network. Moreover, he is very involved in the Charleston community and develops partnerships and advocates for the SBDC. AND Darrell Jones accomplished all of this while acting as manager for one of the largest centers in the state.

Center of Excellence: Greenville Area SBDC At the Salute to Small Business event on May 2nd, the Greenville Area SBDC was recognized as the SBA Center of Innovation and Excellence, namely for the center’s focus on finding novel ways to meet the needs of their clients while working efficiently. Scott Whelchel, the center manager, was acknowledged for spearheading his team’s efforts to develop a three-session start-up webinar series, the first of its kind in the state and a best practice.

Leadership: Eduardo Venegas Eduardo Venegas received this award for his many contributions to the local center, region and state. Among his many noteworthy achievements, Eduardo was recognized for his thoughtful and inventive approach challenging the status quo and moving the network forward.

Partner of Distinction: Rachelle Jamerson Holmes Rachelle Jamerson Holmes, the 2018 Partner of Distinction, is a passionate advocate for the SBDC and works tirelessly to promote our positive impact on individuals, families, communities and the state. As an SBDC client and member of the state advisory board, Ms. Holmes actively champions the SBDC when interacting with the state legislature. In fact, because of her past performance as a board member and her noteworthy contributions, Ms. Holmes was selected to serve as the Vice Chair of the board.


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