Each winner has a chance for honors at the state level, with those winners to be announced June 23 at the development center’s annual conference.
- Regional Consultant of the Year: Rudi Vrugtman, Consultant
- Regional Employee of the Year: Amanda Stirn, Marketing Director
- Regional Employee of the Year: Lynne Tarman, Alliance Financial Group
Rudi Vrugtman, a certified business consultant at the Florida SBDC at FGCU, was recognized as Consultant of the Year for his expert consulting services in the region.
To help small businesses reach their potential, he uses analytical and critical thinking skills, and the management, accounting and finance expertise he developed through his business experience over the past 40 years.
In 2014, Vrugtman exceeded his consulting and target goals by 113 percent. He has developed strong relationships with the Bonita Springs city manager, mayor and council members through his quarterly reporting to the Bonita Springs City Council.
Vrugtman’s background includes more than 30 years as a business owner and over 20 years as an instructor of accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, leadership and strategic management. He has executive experience in both for profit and not-for-profit entities.
“Rudi is pretty much known as Mr. Bonita Springs and everyone appreciates and respects him for his undying passion and commitment to the Southwest Florida business community,” said Suzanne Specht, assistant director of the Florida SBDC at FGCU.
Amanda Stirn was honored as the Regional Employee of the Year for her commitment to operations, effectiveness and service excellence in the region in 2014.
She moved to Cape Coral in 2010 and worked at the business center through the Small Business Resource Network as marketing chair through 2011. She joined the business center team in 2012 as consultant in Cape Coral, and in 2014 she became marketing director for the center.
She is a certified business consultant through the business center, and has a degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She recently received certification in marketing strategy from Cornell University and now serves on the Lutgert College of Businesses Marketing Task Force.
Stirn has over 20 years of industrial experience as a business administrator and business entrepreneur with her past business offering an array of consulting expertise including accounting, contract administration, grant proposals and marketing.
“Amanda has taken our FSBDC to a higher level of technology and success than ever before,” said Dan Regelski, retiring director for the business center.
Lynne Tarman was recognized as Regional Volunteer of the Year for her contribution to the regional business center network in 2014 and her dedication for the past 10 years.
She is a financial adviser for Alliance Financial Group, the same company that 16 years ago approached the Florida SBDC at FGCU with a program to bring girls ages 12-18 to the campus for a one-day entrepreneurial, financial day.
The program started with 100 girls and 30 women business owners as mentors. Tarman led Girls Going Places and has been the liaison from Alliance Financial Group for the past 10 years. She has brought in 2,240 students and 640 women mentors through the FGCU door.
Each year, Tarman organizes Girls Going Places with the business center and ensures the program is run well. Other SBDCs in the Florida network have adopted the program.
“Lynne gives countless hours to this cause — to make certain young women have the financial means and knowledge to become meaningful entrepreneurs in the future,” Specht said.
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