CLARKSBURG–A Morgantown entrepreneur was named West Virginia's 2010 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In the late 1980s, Craig Hartzell had a desire to create a company that could successfully compete for- and win- Department of Defense contracts, which resulted in Azimuth, Inc.

The U.S. Army Special Forces veteran was aware there were business opportunities with the military and that no West Virginia companies were doing so at the time. He also knew it would take an extraordinary effort because West Virginia's economy was considered resource-based and technology-based.

Hartzell will be honored at the annual West Virginia Small Business Awards luncheon on May 13 at the Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley. He will also be recognized at the 47th annual National Small Business Week gala in Washington, D.C., on May 25, where Hartzell will learn whether his name will be called as the National Small Business Person of the Year.

Azimuth specializes in engineering, fabrication and engineering services in support of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Hartzell realized in order to be successful, he had to create a company that could win contracts, provide outstanding support and build a solid reputation. He wanted a company that incorporated sound ethical principles, customer loyalty, and the highest standard of integrity and honesty.

West Virginia SBA Director Judy McCauley said Hartzell epitomizes the criteria for the Small Business Person award and is an excellent representative for small business success in West Virginia.

Hartzell was nominated by Sharon Stratton, center manager for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center in Morgantown.

Also being honored at the 2010 West Virginia Small Business Awards Celebration on May 13th event are: Jalon "Jay" Petre, president of Renick Millworks, LLC, Renick as SBA Young Entrepreneur; C. Thomas and Rosemary Grant from First Choice Bookkeeping, Inc. in Huntington as Financial Services Champions; Diane Lewis, president of Action Facilities Management in Morgantown as Minority Small Business Champion; Kara Gray, owner of New Horizon Consulting in Dallas as Women in Business Champion; Scott M. Hedges, president & CEO and Michael J. Grady, vice president from Power Sonix, Inc. in Martinsburg as Small Business Exporters; and David M. Hughes, John M. Hughes and Fletcher G. Herold, Jr. from L.J. Hughes & Sons, Inc. in Summersville as Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business.

The Awards Celebration is being hosted by the West Virginia Women's Business and Training Center and will run from noon until 2:00 p.m. on May 13. Cost is $40 per person. To register, contact Karen Jones at 800-766-4556, via email at, or register online at

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