Angelina College’s Small Business Development Center Sends Two Finalists To Texas Strong Competition

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

Director Larry Cain of the Small Business Development Center at Angelina College has announced two finalists for the upcoming Texas Strong competition held at the Texas Rural Challenge in Waco on June 9 and 10.

Hydrex Environmental, Inc. of Nacogdoches (with management team Trae Scarborough, Glen Collier and Clayton Collier) and Shelby Agri Products (with owner Maria Harkness) of Timpson are the finalists. Their representatives will have the opportunity for a five-minute presentation with the potential of a $10,000 cash prize for first place and a $3000 award for second place. Entrants will also receive a free booth at the event to promote their businesses.

“The nominations were done through the Small Business Development Centers across the state of Texas,” Cain said. “We were fortunate enough to get two finalists out of eight across the entire state.

“Last year we had a client who finished second in the event. She had her photo taken with the governor’s wife, had her photo taken with the Secretary of State from Texas. They get a lot of PR from this along with the cash incentives.”

Cain said the criteria for nominations included innovation, environmental impact, relevance to the rural market and social good.

“We were given the opportunity to submit a couple of applications from across our region,” Cain said. “There are 15 centers across our Gulf Coast region, and ours were the only two clients selected. I contacted our clients; I felt that because of the nature of their businesses – they were innovative, they’ve made a tremendous impact on their rural communities, they have several employees and they just do a lot for not only the agricultural community but for the rural economy in East Texas.”

Cain added that the two named businesses were already established in their areas; however, Cain and his staff have provided guidance for growth and expansion.

“Our center isn’t just for helping people set up new businesses,” Cain said. “I’d say at least 80 percent of our time is working with people to go through the planning stages and the process to help get their businesses in place. The remainder of our time is working with established businesses, whether they need help in financing, or marketing or growth expansion. Whatever they might be needing at the time.”

According to a released statement, Hydrex Environmental “is a multi-faceted consulting company that provides a full range of environmental consulting services to a wide variety of commercial, industrial, and public entities as well as individuals.  Our services include hydrogeological investigations, environmental site assessments, ecological evaluations, municipal and industrial solid waste facility compliance, and geographic information system (GIS) mapping.” The company has been in business since 1994, and while the main office is located in Nacogdoches, Hydrex serves areas extending throughout Texas and Louisiana. The company has been working with Cain and the SBDC “to help develop an aggressive marketing strategy for promoting our new Drone Division.”

“We look forward to the networking opportunities this will afford us with other small business developments across the state as well as the marketing expertise your group has to offer.  We are honored to be among the nominees this year and look forward to our newfound partnership.”

Shelby Agri Products with owner Maria Harkness. (Contributed photo)
Shelby Agri Products with owner Maria Harkness. (Contributed photo)

Shelby Agri Products, LLC and 4-H Litter Services provides poultry litter and sawdust cleanouts, in addition to providing products for landscaping, USDA cow feed and fertilizer. The company has been in business for more than 20 years, according to owner Harkness. While the majority of their service area includes Nacogdoches and Shelby counties, the company has extended its reach as far as Palestine and Waco counties while providing specific services to Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

In a released statement, Harkness credited Cain and the SBDC with assistance in expanding her company’s abilities to provide needed services to its areas.

“Mr. Cain has provided excellent avenues and knowledge to my business.  He has developed a business plan, contacts, and has educated me on numerous ways to expand and develop the growth of my company.  He is the reason why I have expanded my company and have succeeded in its growth.  Without his knowledge and continued support, I would not be the business woman I am today.

“The honor of this award has been breathtaking.  I am honored not just for the award, but because of the support AC has shown me.  Mr. Larry believed in my business and in turn, my ambition and drive have multiplied.”

For further information on the Small Business Development Center at AC, contact Larry Cain at lcain@angelina.edu.

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