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Top 3 Candidates to Lead the SBA

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July 24, 2013

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

judycanalesEntrepreneur’s Cat Clifford continues to bang the drum about the absence of a candidate to replace outgoing SBA Administrator Karen Mills next month.

Last week, I blasted the Administration for failing to act noting that there are a number of qualified candidates in the public and private sector who would ably represent the interests of Main Street. So, she followed up and challenged me, and a few others to name names.

I gave her two names that I believe would make an outstanding leader for the SBA. One is from the public and one is from the private sector.

My public sector choice is Judy Canales, the State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Texas. Judy is the former administrator in charge of USDA’s business and industry rural loan programs where she did a “great job” in running and expanding the program. She has served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations and would be a good administrator for the agency and a tireless fighter for Main Street.

On the private side few would question my choice of Kurt Chilcott. He is the President of CDC Small Business Finance, the nation’s largest SBA 504 lender. Cat used my quote about Kurt calling him a “great advocate of micro-lending to small business.” Widely respected by the industry and government, Kurt is a proven manager and he has built up an impressive rolodex of contacts that would make him a popular choice within the agency and with the private sector.

I don’t know the third “candidate” but his resume is impressive. Don Graves is the Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House. NADCO’s Beth Solomon says Graves “has carried the torch at the highest levels in the administration for small business.” Also, Solomon respects Graves’s character and ability to negotiate D.C. politics.

All three would bring exciting energy to the position. After five months of a vacuum, it’s nice to speculate about who should be named to run the helm.

Continue the conversation in our LinkedIn group! What do you think of the “candidates?” Who should be added to the list?

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