Small Business Administration to Award Two Riverside Businesses During Small Business Week 2019

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(This article was a Press Release by InlandEmpire.US, and published on May 10, 2019)

The U.S. Small Business Administration, Orange County / Inland Empire District Office has named three Inland Empire businesses as district award winners.

  • Riverside’s Mark Vaca, owner of OCS Construction Services, Inc will be recognized at the districts, 2019 Runner-Up Small Business Person of the Year.
  • Adelanto’s Eric E. Schmidt, president and Kevin Mahaffy, CEO of Exquadrum, Inc. to be recognized as the 2019 SBIR/STTR Grant Recipient of the Year.
  • Riverside’s Janine Gass and Darcy N. Thomas-Maskrey, president and vice president of Techniglove International, Inc. to be recognized as the 2019 Family-Owned Business of the Year.

The winners will be recognized and receive their awards at the local Small Business Week Awards program to be held Friday, June 7 from 10:30 a.m. at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom. 

Mark Vaca, Owner of OCS Construction Services, Inc.

Mark Vaca spent over a decade honing his expertise in the construction industry, while paying thoughtful attention to the opportunities available through the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program. In 2015, he established OCS Construction Services, Inc. in Riverside California, a full-service general construction 8(a) company specializing in tenant improvements, renovations, remodels and rehabilitations for federal and other government clients.

In 2016, Vaca entered into an SBA Mentor-Protégé Agreement that led to three successful 8(a) Joint Venture contracts. When the third JV contract was completed in April 2018, Vaca and OCS were ready to move forward independently of their mentor.

Vaca is not only a dedicated businessperson, he is also eager to support his local community. He has dedicated time to mentor business students from Cal State San Bernardino, serves as a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and makes strategic business decisions to create contracting opportunities for small businesses and other 8(a) certified firms.

Eric E. Schmidt, President and Kevin Mahaffy, CEO of Exquadrum, Inc.

Exquadrum, Inc., located in Adelanto California, is a research and development engineering company that develops and demonstrates new rocket propulsion and munitions technologies for the Department of Defense, NASA, and commercial space. It is organized and equipped to accomplish all stages of product development including product invention, design, analysis, fabrication and testing.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.

In 2012, Schmidt and Mahaffy were awarded an SBIR contract to develop advanced rocket propulsion technology under a NASA contract. The contract evolved and was refined through further funding combined with SBIR support culminating in a $15.1 million prime contract to develop a hypersonic boost glide delivery propulsion system. With the SBIR/STTR program, Exquadrum, Inc. has been able to progressively and incrementally improve the rocket and space technologies, capturing the attention of the DOD, NASA, and the commercial space industry.

Schmidt and Mahaffy are proud to have created a thriving engineering company that provides advanced technology solutions to protect the country. Exquadrum, Inc. has been running for more than 16 years and supports 40 employees. The company’s key employees have more than 130 years of combined experience and a collective total of 15 patents. Additionally, Schmidt and Mahaffy were recognized in 2013 as a runner-up to the Orange County / Inland Empire District Small Business Person(s) of the Year and were awarded the prestigious SBIR Tibbets award in 2014.

As lifelong residents of the High Desert, Schmidt and Mahaffy are dedicated to giving back to their community. Exquadrum, Inc. is involved in community education programs and recently initiated a Victor Valley high school intern program allowing students to experience life as an engineer. Schmidt is actively engaged with Cal Poly Pomona’s Aerospace Engineering Action Council and has served as the president of the Victor Valley College Foundation for three years.

Janine Gass and Darcy N. Thomas-Maskrey, President and Vice President of Techniglove International, Inc.

Techniglove International, Inc., in Riverside California, was founded in 1998 by Roger W. Gass, the husband of Janine Gass and father to Darcy N. Thomas-Maskrey. Tragedy struck the family in 2002 when Mr. Gass was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away shortly after. Mother and daughter were forced to work through their loss while also surviving the family business—but they did more than just survive. This dynamic family team pushed through their hardships and emerged with a stronger and more diverse company.

Techniglove International, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes disposable gloves for contamination-controlled work environments. Their gloves are designed for industrial use in cleanrooms, sterile non-medical environments, and pharmaceutical activities. The company is headquartered in Riverside, CA and they serve distributors around the world.

Thomas-Maskrey was being recruited to work on Wall Street when the loss of her father inspired her to refocus her goals and learn the family business. Mrs. Gass and Thomas-Maskrey were determined to keep Techniglove International, Inc. alive but to do so, they reluctantly decided it was best to offer the long-time sales director 20% ownership. In early 2017, with the assistance of an SBA guaranteed loan, the mother and daughter team were able to buyout the part-owner and return to a 100% family-owned business.

Mrs. Gass and Thomas-Maskrey have created 11 non-family member jobs and increased revenue 350% during their tenure. These inspiring business women have pushed Techniglove International, Inc. to become the U.S. market share leader for clean room gloves—the remaining goal set by Mr. Gass when he started the company. Their business story is a testament to success even after tragedy strikes.

For more information on the event, email events@ochcc.com or call (949) 891-1464.