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A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Margie E. Rowell, WSBDC regional director
"I've heard about the Small Business Administration (SBDC) awards for small businesses and was wondering what it takes to win one?" M.P., Laramie
Before I answer your question, I want to congratulate the SBDC's 2010 Wyoming Small Business of the Year award winner, Heidi Fabrizius of Precision Analysis. The company's main office is located in Riverton.
Knowing about Heidi will help others understand what it takes to be an award-winning small business owner. People may have an interest in knowing the story behind this award winner and what it took to become the SBA Wyoming Small Business of the Year.
Heidi is an amazing person and I am one of her biggest supporters. She came to me shortly after starting Precision Analysis for help in applying for the Bresnan Oh! Get the Money grant. She needed the grant to purchase additional laboratory equipment for the business. We worked on the application together for several weeks, and during that time, I frequently visited her laboratory, which at that time was based in her garage.
What impressed me most about Heidi -- then and now -- was her focus and professionalism. Despite the fact that the laboratory at the time consisted of one workbench set up in the garage, it was obvious her business was going to grow and flourish. Her vision was to expand Precision Analysis' services and client base; increase the number of skilled, well paying jobs in her company; and expand to other small communities in Wyoming. And she has.
Wyoming, like many rural states, has seen a "brain drain" of some of our most able and talented young people, who leave the state for their education and never come back because they cannot find work in their field of expertise. Heidi knew she wanted to return to Wyoming and that she would have to create her own opportunities.
Heidi is an example to entrepreneurs everywhere -- also to women entrepreneurs who venture into non-traditional fields -- and to Wyoming students who want to put their education to work in their home state.
Fabrizius began her company with a few services that were not being provided in the area. Then, as she grew to understand her market, she added test categories and expanded the niche with unique services tailored to the needs of her clientele. With a growing business and young family, Fabrizius has limited time to spend in the community. However, she has always made time to reach out to local schools and youth groups.
She welcomes tours of the laboratory, and visits schools to conduct chemistry demonstrations several times a year. One Lander sixth grader even relied on Precision Analysis to help with her science fair project to find out if paint balls were polluting the Popo Agie River. The project won first place in the regional competition. The experiment took three afternoons in the laboratory. Fabrizius also attended the regional competition to cheer her protege on.
So you see, Heidi is an amazing Wyoming small business owner who sets a great example to be successful.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail email@example.com or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, Wyo. 82071-3922.