Three U.S. Bank small business clients among winners of Sacramento SBA awards

May 15, 2024
Four people holding an award
Rejie Marie Baloyos, executive director of Asian Resources Inc. (second from left) with SBA Sacramento District Director Heather Luzzi (left) and U.S. Bank Business Banking Relationship Manager Karissa Garrison (right).

The 2024 Sacramento District Small Business Week Award Winners included Asian Resources Inc., COLETTI and Vantage Point Center for Psychotherapy.

In celebration of National Small Business Week, U.S. Bank bankers in Sacramento had the honor recently of seeing three of their clients recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

At an event held by the SBA’s Sacramento District, Asian Resources Inc. took home nonprofit of the year, COLETTI earned Veteran-owned business of the year, and Vantage Point Center for Psychotherapy won woman-owned business of the year.

SBA business development officer Peter Kim, business banking relationship manager Karissa Garrison and business banking relationship manager Jason Vivet were on hand to introduce their clients as they collected their awards.

“These business owners wear so many hats as they work to serve their clients each and every day,” Kim said. “If we are able to help them and be resources to make their jobs a little easier, that’s what makes this job so much fun.”

Here is a closer look at the three winners.

Sacramento SBA nonprofit of the year: Asian Resources Inc. (ARI)

Sacramento experienced a huge influx of Vietnamese newcomers following the fall of Saigon, sparking the creation of the nonprofit Asian Resources Inc. (ARI) in 1980 to provide social services, job assistance and English classes to the fast-growing community.

Some 44 years later, ARI has grown to 27 employees who provide services in at least 20 languages, serving refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine and Venezuela along with Asian countries. The nonprofit’s Asian Resources Job Center, which opened in 1985 with funding from partner Sacramento Employment and Training Agency, continues to provide vital workforce development and on-the-job training. To help empower students from low-income people of color families to pursue higher-paying jobs as executives and supervisors, ARI recently launched its Youth Executive Academy.

“One of the things we saw during COVID was a lot of the people who lost jobs were refugees, immigrants and low-income workers because they were often in the lower levels at their employers and those are the first to be let go,” said Rejie Marie Baloyos, executive director of ARI. “We’re working with our first cohort of 31 youth to change their mindset about going into leadership roles, building their connections and finding that motivation for them to flourish as executives.”

ARI also provides out of school youth programs, assistance with enrolling in government-funded healthcare and refugees support services that are linguistically and culturally aligned with their clients’ needs

While ARI has not needed to reach out to the SBA for financial assistance, many of its community members aspire to be successful small business owners and the nonprofit often provides resources for its clients, Bayalos said.

“We are proud to be trusted messengers to our community members for 44 years now and to be at the frontline ensuring their safety and health through the various services we offer,” Bayalos said. “We are grateful to the SBA for recognizing that, and we hope to continue our mission for the next 44 years and beyond.”


U.S. Bank recognized by the SBA

In recent months, SBA Districts across the country have recognized U.S. Bank’s commitment to serving small businesses.

Arkansas: Top Lender with over $500 million in assets

Boise: Rural Lender of the Year

Cleveland: Top 5 SBA 7(a) Lender

Columbus: Top 5 SBA 7(a) Lender

Kentucky: Top 5 SBA 7(a) Lender

St. Louis: Multi-State Lender Award

Nevada: SBA National Lender of the Year

three people holding an award
COLETTI founder Josh Gilliam (center), with U.S. Bank Business Banking Relationship Manager Jason Vivet (right) and the SBA's Luzzi (left).

Sacramento SBA Veteran-owned business of the year: COLETTI

COLETTI “operates at the intersection of the outdoors and great coffee,” said founder Josh Gilliam. The company makes a range of percolators, French presses and coffee gear designed to be used for camping and other outdoor adventures.

COLETTI’s products are “the easiest way to make a good cup of coffee for a large group of people when you’re camping, ” he said.

The company was founded in 2015 by Gilliam, a veteran who was commissioned as an infantry officer in 2000 from West Point Military Academy and led soldiers in combat with both the 75th Ranger Regiment and 82nd Airborne Division. He continued his service as a U.S. Army Chaplain for 20 years, retiring in 2022 as Lieutenant Colonel and deputy command chaplain at the U.S. European Command, where he led the NATO chaplain program.

As part of his mission founding COLETTI, 10% of its profits are donated each quarter to champion the freedom of religion and promote interfaith dialogue in some of the world’s most dangerous places.

“During my time in Afghanistan and Iraq, I saw firsthand how misunderstanding around the religious beliefs of others – particularly Christianity – was creating mistrust and conflict,” he said.

Winning the SBA award has already helped COLETTI’s business, he said, including reigniting a conversation and landing placement at a national outdoor retailer that previously didn’t carry its products.

“On an emotional level, it means a lot to the team to be recognized by the SBA,” he said. “And it also gives us validity that opens doors to new customers.”

Large group of people holding an award
Vantage Point owners Shelley Tirsbeck (second from left) and Dr. Katie Polsky (third from left) with U.S. Bank SBA Business Development Officer Peter Kim (second from right)

Sacramento SBA Winner woman-owned business of the year: Vantage Point Center for Psychotherapy

More than a decade ago, Dr. Katie Polsky and Shelley Tirsbeck, licensed marriage and family therapist, noticed that something was missing in Sacramento’s mental health landscape: quality and specialized care for conditions including eating disorders, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. That’s why in 2012 they joined together to create Vantage Point Center for Psychotherapy, a warm and welcoming group psychotherapy practice nestled in the heart of midtown Sacramento.

The practice has since grown from two professionals to a team of 22 therapists, adding specialists in areas including trauma, psychosis and LGBTQIA-specific concerns. It also added a doctoral student training program connected to two local universities and is working on obtaining accreditation through the American Psychological Association for a national internship program to allow students from around the country to apply.

“That is one of the things we are the most proud of because it’s unusual for a small outpatient group therapy practice like ours to offer an APA-accredited internship,” said Dr. Polsky, noting that only University of California at Davis and the prison system currently provide such accredited internships in the region. Offering such a program, she said, “is critical to being able to offer a diverse range to meet clients’ needs in the Sacramento region.”

Vantage Point last year took out an SBA 504 real estate loan to buy a building in midtown Sacramento, allowing the practice to both be shielded from escalating rent costs and also giving the practice control over its own space to create a personalized and inviting environment that reflects the practice’s values.

“Having our own brick and mortar, long-term safe space helps our clients and our clinicians,” she said, noting that the practice’s efforts to be inclusive include accepting many insurance plans and offering in-person services along with telehealth.

The recognition from the SBA feels like a validation of the work of Vantage Point’s entire team, Dr. Polsky said.

“One of our core values is contribution, and that includes contributing to the well-being of our community and California by providing ethical and compassionate care,” she said.

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