Carol Craig has done it all. And she has only just begun. But for now, based upon her leadership, business success and service to the community, she has been named the SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida and is a finalist for the SBA’s highly-regarded national Small Business Person of the Year award.
Carol is CEO of Craig Technologies, an engineering, technology and manufacturing business that she founded in 1999 and has built it to approximately 430 employees and $40 million in revenues. She is or has been on the boards of at least 27 different community and/or charitable institutions. She chose to relocate and expand her business in the City of Cape Canaveral, partly to tap into the highly talented workforce living on the Space Coast but also, and more importantly, as a means to spur economic development in her community that was so negatively affected by the end of the Shuttle program. And she is a wife and mom, deeply involved in her family and raising her children.
Initially, Craig Technologies was a high-end engineering and technical services company serving military and commercial customers. Over the past 15 years, as the company’s reputation for delivering high-quality products and exceptional customer service has grown, Carol has reinvested profits that enabled the company to add product lines and divisions – all based on Craig Technologies’ ability to support projects from concept to real world application with end-users in mind. To help her along, over this period Carol attended seminars, participated in events and received government contracting consulting from the FSBDC at UCF’s sub center at Eastern Florida State College.
It was during this time that Craig Technologies partnered with the Florida SBDC at UCF, supported by Enterprise Florida, to develop an international marketing strategy. Working with Jill McLaughlin, the FSBDC’s International Trade Consultant, the company took advantage of what Carol calls a “great opportunity” to develop an Export Marketing Plan. The Plan targeted foreign markets for Craig, recommended market entry strategies and opportunities for identifying trading partners. “The plan gives a really good basis and foundation for our global push,” Carol says. “We can now go to the international markets with confidence and be far more competitive.”
When asked about her experience with FSBDC, Carol states, “I would tell other business owners to take advantage of the SBDC now, even if you think you don’t have the time. It’s important. They have great programs and will shorten the amount of time it takes to succeed.”
As for her award, Carol concluded by saying, “I am extremely honored to be recognized as the Florida Small Business Person of the Year, not only personally and for my company, but also because it highlights that Brevard County is significant, we are growing and we have new and great things going on here.”