UCEDC’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented to a business owner demonstrating entrepreneurial spirit, the potential for long-term business success, the ability to overcome obstacles, a commitment to the community, and innovation and creativity. The 2010 winner couldn’t be a better fit: long-time UCEDC client, Suresh Kapoor, LC Engineers, Rahway, NJ.
Back in 2000, when Suresh Kapoor launched his business, he had no idea of the gut-wrenching challenges and gratifying rewards that were to come. But his leadership of LC Engineers (LCE), a provider of defense and commercial electronic assembly services, brought the Union County company from the brink of failure to a position of strength and respect in the military procurement field.
The early days of the business were very hard as the fledgling LCE struggled to compete against better-known entities. That’s when Kapoor reached out to UCEDC and the SBA for help.
Working with UCEDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Kapoor honed his proposal-writing and marketing skills and signed-up to receive government contract bid notices that were relevant to his business. He also registered for the SBA’s 8A Business Development Program, which is designed to help small disadvantaged businesses. He quickly won five contracts!
What seemed like a clear path to success soon became rocky as his firm was given an undeserved negative rating in a government audit. The contracts were withdrawn and Kapoor launched a fight for his company’s survival. He mounted a successful appeal, was vindicated and hasn’t looked back since.
Determined to keep reinvesting in his company and his professional stature, Kapoor participated in UCEDC’s ISO 9001 training program in 2002. Seeing the positive results of that quality management training, he went on to earn certification in AS 9100, a quality management system for the aerospace industry.
Thanks to quality workmanship and savvy proposal development, Kapoor has landed scores of contracts since those difficult early days. A microloan from UCEDC in 2004 helped him keep pace with the growing demand for his business. His first $1 million-plus job was won a year later. 2009 was a banner year as LC Engineers was awarded a $25 million assignment from the Navy. Contracts big and small continued throughout 2010, allowing Kapoor to keep his twelve employees on the payroll.
As a ‘disadvantaged business’ owner who’s made good, Kapoor now mentors newly minted 8A entrepreneurs. Sharing his hard-won knowledge and experience around the country, Kapoor hopes he can help younger business owners avoid some of the difficulties he encountered.
For his determination to succeed, his commitment to quality, and his drive to help others, we are pleased to congratulate Suresh Kapoor.