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Faculty member appointed to U.S. SBA Advisory Council on Underserved Communities

Council will advise SBA on ways to strengthen support for small businesses
in underserved communities


Tallahassee, Fla. – Randy Blass, director of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities and an associate in organizational behavior in the College of Business at Florida State University, is one of 15 individuals from across the country who has been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities (CUC).

Building on SBA’s core programs and recovery initiatives, the CUC will provide input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities. These strategies will be focused on increasing entrepreneurship and technical assistance, creating new and strengthening existing outreach and training, and raising awareness of SBA programs and services in underserved communities.

“I am pleased to see Dr. Blass appointed to this national committee,” said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, dean of the FSU College of Business. “His work with veterans and other underserved populations is beyond exceptional, and is core to The Jim Moran Institute’s mission and the work within the College of Business at Florida State University. He will serve the committee well with his extensive knowledge and tireless efforts.”

“I am honored to be a part of this council,” said Randy Blass.  “I look forward to providing input, advice and recommendations on ways the SBA, through all of its programs, can help strengthen competiveness and sustainability for small businesses while promoting entrepreneurship and business growth in underserved communities, as well as among historically underserved populations such as veterans, minorities, women and others.”

The CUC is chaired by Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, and will have 20 members who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic areas.

The CUC’s first meeting will be held in July, in Washington, DC. Before the first meeting, members of the CUC will hold listening sessions in their regions to hear from small business owners and members of the community about what they need from the SBA.

The CUC is part of the SBA’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach into underserved communities. While the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, that recovery has been uneven, particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small-business owners. To help the SBA better address the challenges facing small-business owners, the CUC will meet regularly and advise the SBA on ways to increase access to capital and promote sustainability, growth, and job creation.

The fifteen newly appointed members on the Council of Underserved Communities are

Hassell McClellan, associate professor - Operations & Strategic Management Department, Carroll School of Management; Dasil “Das” Elius Velez, senior executive with New York State Empire State Development Corporation; B. Doyle Mitchell Jr., president and CEO, Industrial Bank; Eric Collins, COO, Mobile Posse; Derek Hyra, associate professor of urban affairs and planning, Virginia Tech; Ron Busby, president, U.S. Black Chamber Inc.; Randy Blass, director, Florida State University Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Program; Ned Fawaz, founder and CEO of Energy International Corporation; Eddie Reyes, historically underutilized business coordinator, University of North Texas; LeeAnn Marker, business advisor, Hutchinson Credit Union; Roni Wisdom, CFO, San Luis Valley Development Group; Hilda Kennedy, founder/executive director, AmPac Tri State CDC; Rod Hsiao, director of strategic operations, BUILD; Hugh Short, president and CEO, Alaska Growth Capital; and Marilyn Strickland, mayor, Tacoma, Washington.


For more information, contact:
Suzanne L. Barwick
850.544.4752 office or

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