IO Environmental Infrastructure


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“When the federal budget sequestration hit in 2015, 85% of our federal revenue dried up overnight and many of our competitors went out of business. It is not an overstatement to say that the SBDC kept us in business.”

-Mike Bilodeau, CEO

Client Impact:

Areas of Assistance:

  • New Jobs: 20 Full Time

  • Securing Contracts

  • Government Contracts: $86.2 Million

  • Finding Buyers

  • Capital Infusion: $750,000

  • Hiring New Employees

  • Obtaining Funding

The federal budget sequestration rocked government contractor in 2015, and 85% of the client’s federal contracting revenue vanished in an instant. The SBDC acted immediately by opening doors in the private and public works sector along with the other assistance, and in only two years’ time, the client’s fortunes completely changed course.

The results are nothing short of phenomenal: dozens of new jobs, tens of millions in government contracts, and one very satisfied SBDC client.

Description of Business:

IOEI is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that employs a minimum 40% Veteran workforce to provide a wide range of services to the environmental services industry and the civil infrastructure and facilities construction industry.

Use of Capital Infusion Funds:

The company utilized  financing to double its staff and scale up the company to accommodate its significant growth in government contracting awards.


San Diego, CA

Miramontes Family Trucking


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“I have been in the transportation industry for 30 years, and I always wanted to start my own company. It has been a dream of mine, and now my dream has come to life.”

-Fernando Miramontes, President


Client Impact:

Areas of Assistance:

  • Capital Infusion: $40,000

  • Financing

  • Owner Investment: $2,500

  • Business Plan

  • Jobs Created: 1

  • Financial Projections

  • Started New Business

  • Bank Accounts

The SBDC helped the client successfully navigate all aspects of the 6-week financing process including compiling the loan application, assisting with the underwriting process, and communicating regularly with the lender and underwriters to ensure approval of the loan.

Further, the SBDC worked with the client to develop a Business Plan along with creating comprehensive financial projections including a Profit & Loss Statement, Sales Forecast, Operating Expenses, Budget and Balance Sheet.

Description of Business:

The Company provides transportation and logistics services to agricultural customers in Imperial Valley with routes throughout California and Arizona.

Use of Capital Infusion Funds:

The Financing was utilized to purchase the first truck in the company’s fleet and enabled the business to launch and begin operations.


Brawley, CA

MD Commercial Cleaning

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“The SBDC’s advice and direction was invaluable in so many ways, including helping us obtain a significant four-year contract with MCCS Camp Pendleton. They put our company on an entirely different path.”

-Decarlos Daniels, CEO


Client Impact:

Areas of Assistance:

  • Increase in Sales: $3.85M

  • Secure Contracts

  • New Jobs: 5

  • Obtain Financing

  • Government Contracts: $108,000

  • Obtain Certifications

  • Capital Infusion: $10,000

  • Bid Submissions

  • Owner Investment: $10,000

When the owners of MD Commercial Cleaning, Massah Chatton and Decarlos Daniels, reached out to the SBDC in 2014, they were just beginning to investigate government contradicting as a new potential growth channel for their company.

Fast forward to the present: After significant assistance from the SBDC that amounted to an intensive “A-to-Z” education in the world of government contracting, it has now evolved into their main revenue driver and become the foundation of the company.

Description of Business:

A Native-American Owned Business that is DBE/SMBE/SB/MBE Certified, the company provides a variety of cleaning services to commercial and governmental clients in Southern California.

Use of Capital Infusion Funds:

The company utilized an owner investment to augment its working capital to accommodate contracts with the US Navy, Orange County and others.


Fallbrook, CA 92028

William Painter


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“The SBDC helped guide us from an unorganized small entity into the streamlined, successfully funded company that we have become. They have been truly vital to our company’s success, and we will continue to rely upon the SBDC’s valuable guidance as we continue our expansion.”

-Matthew Decelles, CEO

Client Impact:

Areas of Assistance:

  • Capital Infusion: $780,000

  • Financing

  • Owner Investment: $100,000

  • Financial Modeling & Analysis

  • Accounting

Despite getting off to a very fast start in a fiercely competitive market, William Painter, Inc. hit a major financing roadblock that was making further growth extremely difficult. Without outside capital, the company’s significant progress would have been stopped in its tracks.

With various assistance from the SBDC including introductions to lenders, financial analysis, modeling, and accounting guidance, the client has raised well over $600,000 among bank loans, private equity, private loans and owner investment, and now has set its sights on reaching $5M in revenue.

Description of Business:

William Painter is an E-commerce company that manufactures and sells a self-branded line of upscale sunglasses, and their products have been featured in Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Maxim and Us Magazine.

Use of Capital Infusion Funds:

The Company utilized its funding to expand its product line and launch global marketing campaigns that have fueled the company’s expansion.


San Diego, CA

Aloha Fleet Services


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“Thanks largely to the SBDC, we landed the two biggest contracts in our company’s history and increased our profit margins by over 20%. We’re having our best year ever, and it simply would not have happened without their help.”

– David Tilbury, President, Aloha Fleet Services


Client Impact:

Areas of Assistance:

  • New Employees: 8

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Revenue: 26% increase

  • Sales Training

  • Profitability: 20% increase

  • Financial Models

  • Owner Equity Investment:$18,000

  • Permits & Licenses

  • Contracts: CA Highway Patrol, San Diego Unified

David Tilbury, Founder and President of Aloha Fleet Services, contacted the SBDC to help his company obtain new customers and increase sales.

SBDC advisor Jonathan Irwin worked with Aloha on a variety of strategies and training that enable the company secure contracts with the two largest customers in their history.

“We learned to deeply understand the sales process from the customer’s perspective, and within a matter of weeks we began winning contracts that we had never won before,” said Tilbury.

The improvements didn’t stop there. As with most small business owners, David had little experience in the financial management of a business. After analyzing the company’s job costs and profit margins, the SBDC helped increase profit margins by 20% and also created financial models that now give Aloha far greater control of its business and its profitability.

Additionally, the SBDC worked with Aloha to obtain required permits and licenses such as a Tax Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service and a Seller’s Permit from California’s Board of Equalization.

“I knew Aloha’s business inside and out from a similar company of mine on the East Coast that grew to $2M in revenue. With a little help from their friends here at the SBDC, I see no reason why Aloha can’t achieve the same success.”

– Jonathan Irwin, SBDC Business Advisor

Company Name:

Aloha Fleet Services

Description of Business:

Aloha provides vehicle maintenance and detailing services for commercial and government fleets throughout San Diego County including California Highway Patrol and San Diego Unified School District.


Encinitas, CA

Grant Marketing Group

The old adage that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” is a huge problem for almost every small business.  Entrepreneurs typically run a lean shop – lots of work and few if any employees.  Their time is focused on delivering for their clients with precious little left to focus on growing their own business.

This was the position that Grant Marketing Group, a San Marcos based Internet marketing and web design agency found itself.  As Grant Marketing CEO Jeremy Fusselman put it this way, “I was spending far too much time “in” my business instead of “on” my business.”  His clients loved the job he did, but the business wasn’t growing the way he wanted it to.

Enter the San Diego and Imperial Valley SBDC with both an opportunity and an out-stretched hand of help. SBDC had been undergoing some exciting, but challenging changes and realized it needed a complete redesign of its Internet presence.  As the successful proposer on the project, Grant Marketing Group undertook the redesign and rebranding effort.

An experienced Internet marketer, Jeremy first got to know the SBDC – its staff, clients, and services. These would be the key to building a successful web presence and gaining another happy client.  What he did not expect was that exposure to the core practices of the SBDC would help him significantly revise his path as a business owner.

As important as an attractive, informative website is, it is no substitute for the hard, person-to-person marketing that grows most service businesses.  This personal contact is a hallmark of the SBDC and it has now been integrated into the Grant Marketing Group strategic plan.

As Grant Marketing Group continues to serve the SBDC’s Internet needs, Jeremy continues to build his networks as he prepares to take his business to the next level of success.   As Jeremy puts it, “Our project for the San Diego and Imperial Valley SBDC came at the perfect time for us to understand and implement the sound business growth strategies the organization imparts to our clients.”

Elite Auto Collision

Conflicts in decision making are all too common for small family owned businesses like Elite Auto Collision. Between the mother, father, son, and daughter team, procedural methods were becoming blurred. Matriarch Sandra Baker-Assemi decided that to clear the air and ensure a successful future, she would reach out to her local SBDC for help.

Baker-Assemi met with SBDC consultant Michele Burkart in 2012 to discuss mitigating the internal strain within Elite Auto Collision and how to promote future growth. “She wanted to really restructure the company and realized that updating of her financial information was a key to accomplishing this.” Burkart noted.

With Burkart’s help, Elite Auto Collision created a plan to accomplish their goal. First they compiled a list of banks in the area, learning the eligibility rules for SBA loans. Burkart advised them on what business plan software to purchase in order to make financial presentations that ultimately secured the financing they needed.

Family-run small businesses have their own set of challenges, but Sandra Baker-Assemi and her fellow family co-owners have found a way to make it work. “We care deeply about the success of our enterprise and take pride in our joint accomplishments.” Baker-Assemi mused, adding, “Hanging around a bunch of loveable brainiacs is just plain fun!”

Baker Assemi is a true believer in how SBDC helps small businesses. “We consider the SBDC to be a part of our success strategy.” By getting an outside opinion on their next steps, Elite Auto Collision refocused and reinvigorated the company. Elite Auto Collision continues to seek better ways to increase profitability and market share through innovative marketing initiatives, and the SBDC is at their side every step of the way.

National Escalator Cleaning La Mesa

Nancy Santangelo and her husband started National Escalator Cleaning, LLC in 2010, but this infant company was to hit enormous obstacles in its first few years. Not only did they face stifling competition and persistent solicitors, but Nancy’s business’ co-owner and husband died suddenly, leaving her without a partner or husband.

Santangelo approached the Small Business Development Center early in 2012 because her business was being flooded with competitors trying to buy her out. Professional business consultant Michelle Burkart began working with Santangelo, sharpening the focus of both the business and its owner.

“Michelle is wonderful,” said Santangelo. “Before I was swamped, but Michelle is helping me with a business plan and marketing.” Thanks to several sessions with SBDC consultants, Santangelo’s website is under construction and her client focus has never been sharper.
Since the death of Santagelo’s husband, Stephen Semaan became a company partner and he and Santangelo now have the equipment they need to continue growing National Escalator Cleaning, LLC. But the courage to be an entrepreneur is something Santangelo had all along.

“She overcame the loss of her husband and business partner.” said Burkart. “She obtained the investment capital needed to buy better equipment and restructured her company to expand and grow with the help of the SBDC. She is a real success story.”

Santangelo said she plans to continue using the resources of the SBDC to overcome the challenges her business faces and hopes one day to make her company national. “I want to make my business successful,” she said. “I want to take it to the next level.”

The Door and Window Consultants

From the House to a New Location – The Door and Window Consultants…

Finding an unmet need in a market is a time tested path to success, but capitalizing on the opportunity can be challenging. While working for various contractors and door installation companies, Randall Burger discovered one of these unmet needs. In an attempt to fill this niche, Burger created The Door & Window Consultants in 1980; a home-based business specializing in custom made door and window solutions.

Burger contacted the San Diego Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in February 2012 and met with business consultant, Michelle Burkhart. Burger’s focus at the time was to take his company to the next level. Burkhart’s past experience working with contractors, vendors, and employee related issues made her a perfect fit for The Door & Window Consultants. With so much information out there Burger credited Burkhart with being a, “walking encyclopedia of people who can help with websites, information, and a variety of things.”

As a single father, one of Burger’s top goals was a better quality business-life balance. With this in mind, Burkhart pointed out the benefits of moving from a home-based location to a new facility. “Of course, there were new financial concerns with new ongoing cost, but they were just not going to grow if they didn’t move,” Burkhart said.

With Burkhart’s help, The Door & Window Consultants underwent a major restructuring and rebranding effort, targeting a higher end market. This change has already delivered favorable results with the company landing larger contracts.

With growth and success stemming from his SBDC visits, Burger plans to continue to visit Burkart. “Michelle is a good listener and she helps us by setting specific dates to meet goals,” he said. Burkhart claims that Burger’s true reason for success is that he was ready and willing to “do the work” that is needed to grow.