SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Small Business Development Center Network State Director Carolyn Clark announced that Rick Thorpe, Washington State University business development specialist in the Spokane office, has been selected the 2003 Star Performer of the Washington SBDC Network.

Thorpe was chosen by previous Washington award winners for being an exemplary performer, making a significant contribution to the SBDC program and showing a strong commitment to small business in the Spokane area.

“I am extremely pleased to make this announcement and to recognize Rick Thorpe for his very important contributions to small businesses in Spokane and the Washington SBDC Network,” Clark said. “This dedicated professional has ensured that entrepreneurs and small business owners receive the best information and assistance possible to contribute to their success. His client impacts speak for themselves. During the six and a half years Rick has been with the Washington SBDC, his clients have secured more than $24 million in funding, and 380 jobs were created or saved. We’re proud of his service to the business community and to his host institution, Washington State University.”

Each year, the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) honors an outstanding SBDC employee from every state as a Star Performer. The State Star Awards were presented at a reception held during the ASBDC’s 2003 Annual Conference held in San Diego.

“It is an honor to accept this award,” Thorpe said, “and to have the opportunity to help so many people succeed in their own business.”

America’s Small Business Development Center Network is a partnership uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations.  It is the Small Business Administration’s largest partnership program, providing no-cost management and technical assistance and low-cost training to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses. With about 1,000 centers across the nation, the SBDC network assists approximately 650,000 small businesses every year in face-to-face counseling and training, in addition to assisting hundreds of thousands more small businesses through fax-on-demand and e-mail.

The Washington SBDC is the only statewide business assistance program in the state, featuring 22 centers located throughout the state. The Spokane SBDC office, a partnership of WSU and the Community Colleges of Spokane, has its headquarters in the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute building, 665 N. Riverpoint Blvd. More information is available at www.wsbdc.org.