Regions Hampton Roads

Chesapeake federal contractor wins small business award

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AVMAC’s community involvement played a role in the award Roberto Ortiz received.
Photo by Mark Rhodes

AVMAC LLC co-founder and CEO Roberto “Bert” Ortiz was floored to learn he was named Small Business Person of the Year for the Small Business Administration’s Virginia District. He was also second runner-up for the SBA’s National Small Business Person of the Year. “I couldn’t believe it,” Ortiz says of the awards handed out in May.

Chesapeake-based AVMAC is a federal contractor for aviation and shipboard maintenance, logistics and program support. The company was SBA Virginia’s 2014 Sub-Contractor of the Year and in 2016 was named SBA’s Region III Prime Contractor of the Year. AVMAC also received the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Award for Best Veteran Hiring Practices.

Ortiz was chosen for this year’s SBA awards in large part because of the company’s community involvement. “Their whole focus is to give back to the veteran community. They are involved in a variety of community projects,” says SBA Virginia District Director Carl Knoblock.

Ninety-four percent of AVMAC’s employees are veterans and the company supports several veterans organizations. “We like to target vets for employees,” Ortiz says. “We understand the culture and want to keep that culture.”

A three-person panel made up of employees from federal agencies chooses the annual SBA Virginia winner. Judging is based on community involvement, company success, longevity, and financial and employee growth.

A retired U. S. Navy commander, Ortiz co-founded AVMAC in 2009 with fellow retired Navy Commander Don Buzard. AVMAC now has more than 385 employees. “We got our first subcontract in 2010, and since then we have doubled our revenue every year except the last two years,” says Ortiz. “We’ve had an upward climb in growth.”

Currently the company has 18 contracts and works with the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. departments of Defense and Transportation as well as a commercial client. “At Air Station Miramar in California, for example, we do aviation maintenance and work side-by-side with the Marines. It was one of our first contracts, and it’s still an active contract,” Ortiz says.

The company hopes to win contracts with the U.S. Army and Air Force. “We want to pursue a more engineering slant and provide test support for the Army, Air Force and NASA,” Ortiz says.

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