2023 SBEAP/SBO National Awards

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program/Small Business Ombudsman (SBEAP/SBO) National Steering Committee (NSC) Awards are the States’ premier awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental leadership among small businesses and small business assistance providers.

These awards recognize small businesses, SBEAP/SBO programs and individuals, trade associations and other business assistance providers who have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.  The awards program is sponsored by the SBEAP/SBO NSC in partnership with U.S. EPA Asbestos and Small Business Office.

Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

This award showcases the accomplishments of a Small Business that has worked with a local, state, territory, or national SBO/SBEAP in the areas of improving environmental performance, pollution prevention, sustainability, and mentoring.

GPS Metals employees with award

GPS Metals, Inc., PA, is a wholesale processor and broker of non-ferrous scrap metals. They first requested assistance from the PA EMAP to prepare an operating permit application.  They also worked to reduce emissions through installing a pneumatic collection system and covered roll-off boxes to manage plastic waste from wire - eliminated fugitive emissions and complied with DEP stormwater regulations, and also adding indoor dust collection for employee air quality.


Nefab accepts award

Nefab Packaging Northeast, NH, is a packaging and logistics company that offers expandable and returnable packaging products for all types of applications and industries.   They first requested assistance from NH SBTAP with a general environmental compliance review as a part of their ISO 14001 certification.  As a result of the visit, Nefab added multiple elements to their workflow to improve environmental performance, including completing waste determinations and adding regular site walks to review waste reduction/elimination opportunities; developing emergency response plans; establishing an environmental sustainability committee; developing CO2 reduction goals – 4% annual reduction of CO2 intensity – achieving supply chain reduction projects that eliminated 133 tons CO2.

Business Assistance Providers Environmental Leadership Award

This award showcases the accomplishments of a business assistance provider (e.g., Trade Associations, Chambers of Commerce, other partner organizations, etc.) that has worked with a local, state, territory, or national SBO/SBEAP in the areas of compliance assistance, pollution prevention, sustainability, and information transfer.

Andrea O'Brien pictured with award

Andrea O’Brien, NH SBDC Business Sustainability Program, has partnered with NH SBTAP for 14 years to support and enhance small business assistance efforts.  They collaborated on industry specific initiatives, creating compliance assistance, workshops, webinars, guidance documents and site visits to improve compliance and energy efficiency, and guiding businesses to create a sustainable business model; completed initiatives to assist junk yards, marinas, printers, grocers, and coaters; and engaged small businesses with utility companies, grant programs, and energy tech providers to ensure small business can understand and implement energy improvements.

Photo of Connie Mendolia with award

Connie Mendolia, CT DEEP P2, coordinates the pollution prevention program, assisting small businesses to minimize environmental impacts and reduce costs through best management practices in various sectors.  Sector efforts have included: sustainable breweries – had WW tested and created practices that reduced high strength discharges to POTW; separated the waste organics from waste stream and worked with anaerobic digester facilities and food to animal feed operations to reuse the waste organics; energy efficiency and installing solar; chemical management – created on-line training to reduce the risk of accidental release of toxic chemical during natural disasters and videos with information specific to CT businesses on RCRA hazardous waste and storage/disposal facilities; general business practices - energy conservation, pollution prevention to reduce chemical usage and toxics in packaging, addressing risks of climate change, and LEAN.

SBEAP Excellence Award

This award showcases exemplary performance of one Small Business Ombudsman/Small Business Environmental Assistance Program or individual in the areas of compliance assistance, sustainability, advocacy, and collaboration at the national level.  It emphasizes state program leadership or individual leadership where they have created resources and work products, promoted policy advancements, developed program innovations, and established new partnerships to build a strong network of small business assistance.

Nevada BEP team accepts award

Nevada Business Environmental Program, which includes Chris Lynch (director), Nancy Crickman, Eric Florio, Kat Olson, Zack Rice, and Jan Sudomier. BEP began as waste and sustainability assistance program under NV SBDC in College of Business, University of Nevada; added funding from Air Program to build program. NV BEP developed strong partnerships with local economic development organizations, has a strong record of improving environmental performance among clients surveyed, and worked with US EPA’s Energy Star program to produce Nevada’s Energy Star Action Workbook for Small Businesses, just to name a few examples. In support of the NSC and other SBEAP/SBO, NV has been the region 9 rep since 2018 and Vice Chair since 2021. Chris will become Chair of NSC in June 2023.  As a team, they have coordinated and hosted a highly successful virtual National SBEAP Training in 2022 – 4 days in May, and they are the hosts for the first in-person National SBEAP Training in four years in March 2023. 

Karen V. Brown Environmental Leadership Award

This award category showcases the accomplishments of an individual who promotes small business compliance assistance, sustainability, advocacy, and collaboration nationwide. It honors their  leadership, innovation, dedication to environmental protection, and highlights their efforts to build strong local/state/federal partnerships for small business compliance assistance over their career with SBEAP/SBO. 

Renee Bashel accepts her award

Renee Lesjak Bashel, WI SBEAP, started with the program in 2000. Renee has held NSC roles including being the Region 5 alternate and rep for multiple terms, co-chairing the Technical Subcommittee for three years and being regular participant, was a regular member of former Measurement subcommittee and Promotional subcommittee working on updates to the annual report data collection and promotion of outcomes, was Vice-chair and Chair of NSC from 2008-2012, and took on the Awards chair role a few years ago. In the role of Technical chair, Renee drafted multiple letters with committee support on proposed area source NESHAPs to reduce burden on small business. Renee maintained close relationship with OAQPS at the time to bring in rule drafters to committee meetings to discuss rules before proposal. 

Tree Planting Certificate

The NSC awards were purchased from Eco Promotional Products Inc., who in turn plants a tree for each order This certificate acknowledges our orders for the last four years have resulted in four trees being planted.