HELENA – Mark Bretz, president and CEO of Bretz RV & Marine, Missoula, has been named Montana SBA Small Business Person of the year for 2017. This annual award from the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the hard work, challenges, innovation, and community investment that is required of America’s most successful small business men and women.

“I congratulate Mark, and all the other awardees, for being named Montana’s Small Business Week winners,” said Wayne Gardella, SBA’s Montana District Director. “Montana has a long and rich history of entrepreneurship and innovation and we are proud to honor these small businesses with these awards.”

Bretz will be honored, along with several other Montana small business owners and supporters of small business enterprise, at this year’s Small Business Week Awards Luncheon, April 25, at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The following week, May 1, Bretz will join 53 other small business owners from across the country in Washington, D.C., for a ceremony there, and the announcement of the National Small Business Person of the Year.

This year’s awardees include the top SBA lenders in Montana for 2016, along with several other outstanding small business owners, including:

Small Business Person of the Year 1st Runner Up – Dana Gleason and Renee Sippel-Baker, Mystery Ranch, Bozeman;
Small Business Exporter of the Year, Adam Stern, Resonon, Inc., Bozeman;
Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year, Allen Ellmaker, Synesis 7 Corp., Butte;
Millennial Entrepreneur of the Year, Bryce and Erin Kirschenmann, KE Construction, Billings;
Women-Owned Small Business of the Year, Anna Kazmierowski, A2Z Staffing Solutions, Inc., Helena;
Small Business Champion of the Year, John Rogers, Helena (retired);
Wells Fargo Bank, the leading SBA 7(a) lender in Montana, with 61 loans totaling over $10.6 million;
Big Sky Economic Development Corp. of Billings, the leading Certified Development Co. approving twelve 504 loans totaling $14,870,000;
Three Rivers Bank of Kalispell, the Emerging Lender of the Year for increasing their 7(a) loan production to 13 loans totaling $2,180,100.

This year’s event is being coordinated with the Butte Small Business Development Center at Headwaters RC&D. The public is invited to attend the awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 25. A small business training workshop will precede the luncheon Tuesday morning.

Anyone interested in attending can register online at,or contact Julie Jaksha: [email protected], 406-533-6780.

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are April 30 – May 6, with national events planned in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Indianapolis, IN; Dallas, TX; and Fresno, CA.

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