Appalachia Kentucky businesses and startups shine at 2019 Kentucky Celebrates Small Business awards ceremony


FRANKFORT, Ky. — Several Appalachia Kentucky small businesses were recognized by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (America’s SBDC Kentucky) and the U.S. Small Business Administration at a celebration and reception held at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 8.

Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton was the keynote speaker of the 2019 Kentucky Celebrates Small Business awards ceremony. Bill Meck, chief meteorologist of LEX-18, was the master of ceremonies.

Regina Becknell, of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), was recognized as the Financial Services Advocate of the Year (Microlender). MACED is a Blueprint Partner of SOAR. Barry Frazier, vice president of commercial lending at Peoples Exchange Bank in Mt. Sterling, Ky., was named Financial Services Advocate of the Year (SBA Lender).

The SBDC also handed out Pacesetter awards celebrating high performing businesses in the state. This year, officials split the awards into two categories: New Startup Businesses and Traditional Businesses.

Tree Of The Field was recognized as a New Startup Business. It is a rural entrepreneurial agribusiness based in Garrard County that makes every effort to use renewable resources, locally-sourced materials, environmentally responsible practices, and responsible decisions. In 2018, Tree Of The Field acquired RediFlame, makers of Skeeterlog, and assets and processing equipment were moved to Eastern Kentucky. Last year, a joint venture agreement came to an abrupt end and RediFlame was forced to relocate and rebuild production operations. Dr. Robin Richmond Mason, the owner of Tree Of The Field, saw this as an opportunity and pressed forward brokering agreements with brands such as S.C. Johnson, Tractor Supply, and Whole Foods. Additionally, she is working to establish a greater presence through e-commerce.

Achievements Through Actions, a Somerset-based Supports for Community Living Center, was recognized as a New Startup Business. It operates group homes and provides day habitation services to developmentally disabled individuals. The company now operates three group homes and have 22 employees.

American Metal Works was recognized as Pacesetter recipient as a Traditional Business. Co-owners James Glass and Denny Rohrer have more than 75 years’ experience in the oil, natural gas, and mining industries and created American Metal Works as a way to help transition those displaced from the coal and natural gas industries into advanced manufacturing employment opportunities. They currently occupy space on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. American Metal Works is a Blueprint Partner of SOAR.

Straight Cut Tree Services, of Corbin, was recognized as a Pacesetter Traditional Business recipient. Owner Joseph Hampton, a veteran, has a commitment to protect the environment and to hiring veterans. The company sells wood products that are created from wood harvested from urban tree removals.

”Small businesses and startups are a big deal in Appalachia Kentucky,” said Joshua Ball, associate executive director of SOAR. Ball also serves on the advisory board of the Kentucky SBDC. “Ourr Business and Innovation team is working closely with SBDC staff across the region, and we appreciate their work and willingness to collaborate with us and many others to grow the small business and startup community in Appalachia Kentucky.”