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Small Business, BIG IMPACT
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Allan Adams
'78 alum serves as State Director of SBDC

Small businesses of less than 500 employees comprise approximately 98% of the businesses in Georgia and employ nearly 50% of the state’s non-farm, private sector workers.

Many SCPS alumni own, manage, or work in small businesses, and one of our own alumni currently leads a state organization dedicated to helping many of these businesses and people succeed.

Allan Adams, Class of 1978, is the State Director of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He manages 83 employees in 18 statewide offices headquartered in Athens at the University of Georgia. Part of a national network of SBDC’s in all 50 states, the network is similar to the agricultural cooperative extension service that helps farmers in communities nationwide.

Georgia’s SBDC (www.sbdc.uga.edu) specifically offers tailored business services to communities and individuals around the state, especially entrepreneurs.

In a recent year under Allan’s leadership, Georgia’s SBDC provided training to more than 14,000 people, consulted with nearly 5,000 business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs, and offered more than 700 workshops and seminars ranging from sales and marketing to accounting to management.

“Many entrepreneurs have skills and passion related to their product or service, but they may not know the best ways to effectively manage, expand, or sustain their business,” says Allan. “Many times, people expand too fast or too far ahead of their cash flow, or their ability to attract and manage the right staff. That’s where we come in; we help people succeed.”

The SBDC offers consulting, classroom training for new business owners and small companies who want to grow, applied research and analysis, minority business development, international trade assistance, and economic development assistance.

According to Allan, “Entrepreneurial ventures provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in Georgia for both business owners and employees. Small businesses not only supply principal income for families, but they meet unique needs for part-time employment, temporary employment, supplementary income, or, particularly for many young people, that first job opportunity. The Georgia SBDC Network provides training, technical assistance, and research to help entrepreneurs improve their chances for success. SBDC clients greatly benefit from our assistance, typically experiencing sales growth of almost 20 percent and job growth of 22 percent.”

The Georgia SBDC Network is a collaboration of the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Clayton State University, Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, the University of West Georgia, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Allan likes his job and is very appreciative of the professional network he leads. “We have great employees right now, and I’d like to keep them all,” he says. “We’re hoping nobody leaves.”

After graduating from Savannah Christian, Allan received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia. He then went to Washington, D.C. and worked as a staff member in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Allan is married to Kiz Smith Adams, a 1979 graduate of Savannah Christian.

“I love politics, but after Kiz and I got married and spent a year in Washington together, we happily returned to Athens so she could finish her law degree. We didn’t actually plan to stay after she finished, but I started working as a temp with the University and then Kiz was invited to teach in the Law School. We’ve been here ever since.”

Allan eventually received his M.B.A, from Brenau University, and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Georgia Institute of Higher Education.

In addition to his current position, Allan has worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in various roles in the Minority Business Division, the International Trade Division, the Rural Economic Development Program, and as Associate State Director. He also worked as Associate Director for Information Technology Outreach Services at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

He also serves as a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation Advisory Board, and the national Association of Small Business Development Centers. In October 2008, Allan was elected to the board of the national Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) headquartered in Washington, D.C. and representing Small Business Development Center programs in all 50 states and each of the U.S. Territories. The ASBDC membership includes over 3,000 professionals and approximately 1,000 office locations.

Adams Family
The Adams family (L-R) Ashley, Kiz Smith Adams '79, Audrey,
Sean, Tyler, and Allan Adams '78
Kiz, now a former UGA law professor, currently works as a full-time mom, and as a fitness instructor at the YWCO in Athens. They have four children – Tyler (23), Ashley (21), Audrey (15), and Sean (7) – who have all been students at Prince Avenue Christian School, a college preparatory school near Athens of around 500 PK-12th grade students.

llan has two brothers, Joe and Jeff. Joe Adams ’77 lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, with his wife Lisette Baron, and works for the Choupique Design Groupe as an Artist/Designer/Builder.

Jeff Adams ’80 lives in Humble, Texas with his wife, Beth, and his children, Nora (17) and Collins (15). Jeff works for the oil and gas company, National Oilwell Varco, as Manager Capital Equipment, Order Management Group.

Allan attended Savannah Christian for three years, from the 10th – 12th grades. He remembers it as a crazy time, and a period around which the school exploded from a tiny mission school to around 2,100 students.

“We were packed in,” he says, “but it was more than just a school for me. We used to spend the weekends on campus, too. We’d hunt all day and then crash at Coach Bubba Attwood’s house overnight.”

“School itself was different, too,” he recalls. “The old tabernacle was an open air building, and they literally hung sheets around the edges and held class inside. We also had ponies and cows on the grounds, and I think the P.E. classes used to include pony riding as an option.”

As far as his job leading Georgia’s Small Business Development Center, Allan summarizes, “I like helping people succeed,” and he credits Savannah Christian Preparatory School with contributing to his own success.

And for that small contribution, nearly 98% of Georgia’s businesses can be thankful.

 

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