SBA Recognizes Boots to Business Instructors of the Year


SBA Recognizes Boots to Business

Instructors of the Year

WASHINGTON –This week the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the winners of the 2018 “Boots to Business Instructor of the Year” awards. The awardees were recognized for their excellence in teaching the Boots to Business course, the entrepreneurial track of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program.

“We’re excited to honor and celebrate the people who really make the Boots to Business program a success,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “This year, we reached a milestone of 86,000 Boots to Business participants. I’m confident we can provide entrepreneurship training to many more aspiring business owners based on the qualified and enthusiastic instructors leading this course.”

This year’s winners include:

• Eric Giltner, North Dakota District Office, SBA
• Will Katz, University of Kansas Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
• Walt Abbott, Washington, D.C. SCORE
• Steve Watts-Oelrich, Business Impact Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), Seattle, Washington
• Stuart Walters, CEED North Carolina Women’s Business Center (WBC)

Additionally, five runners-up were named:

• Samuel Maldonado, Puerto Rico District Office, SBA
• Laurie Pieper, University of Kansas SBDC
• Nick Collazzo, Delaware SCORE
• Bob Rogers, Community Business Partnership VBOC in Springfield, Virginia
• Noela Napoleon, WBC/ Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership, Hawaii

“Each year, we receive such a qualified, diverse pool of nominees for the awards,” said Larry Stubblefield, Associate Administrator of SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “We’re proud to recognize the award winners, runners-up and nominees for their dedication to the Boots to Business program, our service members, veterans, and military spouses.”

Chosen from a pool of 27 nominees, the award recipients are selected based on best practices, planning and preparation, instructional methods and strategies, assessment and mastery, and leadership. To be eligible for a nomination, the instructor must be either an employee of the SBA or authorized resource partners (SBDC, SCORE, VBOC, WBC), and have participated as a Boots to Business instructor for at least one year.

Since being launched in January 2013, the SBA’s Boots to Business program has served more than 86,000 transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. The program is administered as a collaborative effort between SBA district offices and resource partners, which include VBOCs, WBCs, SCORE, SBDCs, and grant partners.
For more information about the program, visit