SBA announces 2019 Rhode Island Small Business Week Award winners

JUSTIN OAKLEY, left, and Michael Vieira, owners of Oakley Home Access LLC, have been awarded the 2019 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. / COURTESY OAKLEY HOME ACCESS LLC
JUSTIN OAKLEY, left, and Michael Vieira, owners of Oakley Home Access LLC, have been awarded the 2019 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. / COURTESY OAKLEY HOME ACCESS LLC

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island District of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the 2019 Rhode Island Small Business Week Award winners Wednesday.

This year, Justin Oakley and Michael Vieira, owners of Oakley Home Access LLC, a Narragansett-headquartered company that provides home safety services designed to maximize a client’s mobility, including assessment, recommendations and installation, share the Small Business Person of the Year award. The company said that common services it provides to clients include the installation of adaptive equipment to the home, including stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, tub cuts, stairway handrails and custom entrance railings.

The company employs 10 people, including Oakley and Vieira, and offers services in Rhode Island and has recently expanded to cover all of Massachusetts. The company was founded in November 2015, opening its first showroom in June 2018 in Narragansett. The company also now has a Walpole, Mass., location.

Oakley told PBN Wednesday that the company sees itself as an equal blend of health care and construction, working to maximize client’s mobility. He said that the company has an active involvement in the community, working closely with the health care sector and partnering with local organizations such as the Elk’s Club, the YMCA, MS support groups and other organizations, donating time and efforts.

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The company said that it expects to expand and open more locations throughout the Northeast.

Four awardees in the 2019 Rhode Island awards were also winners regionally, besting their category both in the state and among the five other New England state winners:

  • Rhode Island & New England Small Business Manufacturer: Sennen G. Conte, owner and chief financial officer of Gerbs Allergen Friendly Foods in Johnston
  • Rhode Island & New England Veteran-Owned Small Business: Christopher Sanford, owner of PureClean Disaster Restoration Services in Warwick
  • Rhode Island & New England Women-Owned Small Business: Susan Pascale-Frechette, owner and director of PODS Swimming Inc. in East Providence
  • Rhode Island & New England Young Entrepreneur: Bryan Gibb, co-owner of Bolt Coffee in Providence

The 2019 Rhode Island Small Business Week Award winners also included:

  • Small Business Exporter: Naresh Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Aman Mehta, co-founder, and Christopher Mainiero, partner, of Grow Materials LLC in East Greenwich
  • Financial Services Champion: Pamela LaBreche, assistant vice president, relationship manager of Navigant Credit Union
  • Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business: Gwendolyn Graham, president of Miller’s Roast Beef in East Providence.
  • Microenterprise: Matthew Banoub, owner of Aten Energy Conservation LLC in Pawtucket
  • Minority-Owned Small Business: Lei Nichols, CEO of Wise Mouth Inc. in Warren
  • Rhode Island District Director Award: Posthumously awarded to Raymond Fogarty, former director of the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University
  • Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence: Kristi Langslet, CEO of Sommerfly LLC in Cranston

The 2019 awardees will be celebrated at a luncheon ceremony at the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown on May 10.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.