News | June 16, 2015


Business Development Center names director, presents awards

2 - minute read
Lois Knox
Lois Knox

The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FGCU has appointed a new director and presented annual awards honoring regional business people.

Lois Knox was named director to succeed Dan Regelski, who pioneered the development of FGCU’s center almost 20 years ago, and who recently retired. He was instrumental in the planning, design and implementation of myriad programs and initiatives to support small businesses in Southwest Florida.

Knox previously served as assistant director for Business and Finance for the Florida SBDC Network State Office, assisting in the supervision of financial management and operations of more than 40 centers across the state.  Prior to that, she served as financial manager for the state office and as grant manager at the University of West Florida.

Knox has a master’s degree from the University of Akron and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. She received the Florida SBDC Network State Office Employee of the Year Award in 2013.

Regional award winners for Consultant, Employee and Volunteer of the Year also have been announced. These winners qualified to be considered for statewide honors to be announced June 23 at an annual conference:

  • Regional Consultant of the Year: Rudi Vrugtman. He has 30 years of experience as a business owner and 20 years of teaching experience in accounting, finance, entrepreneurship and leadership. He has served as an executive in commercial and nonprofit organizations.
  • Regional Employee of the Year: Amanda Stirn. She joined the business center team in 2012 as a consultant in Cape Coral, and in 2014 she became marketing director. She has 20-plus years of experience as an administrator and business entrepreneur and consulting expertise in accounting, grant proposals, contracts and marketing.
  • Regional Volunteer of the Year: Lynne Tarman. A financial adviser at Alliance Financial Group in Fort Myers, she heads the annual Girls Going Places program at FGCU, which pairs local students ages 12-18 with successful business women for a day of mentoring in entrepreneurship and financial matters. More than 2,200 young women have completed the program.

Earlier this spring, the business center honored Gary K. Mart, owner and CEO of Global Tech LED, as the 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year. The award recognizes a small- to mid-sized Southwest Florida business for its overall success.

The FSBDC offers one-on-one, confidential, no-cost consulting and low-cost workshops for businesses throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. It is designated by the state as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance.

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